Tributes to "Mr TV-am", Mike Morris

 

We're very sad to report the death of TV-am presenter Mike Morris.  Mike passed away on 22nd October 2012.  It's reported he died in his sleep after a short illness.  Mike really was "Mr TV-am" and was with the station from before its launch to the very end...that's more than ten years.  He first worked as a sports reporter/presenter and relief host of "Good Morning Britain", but became main male anchor in 1987.  Over the years he covered every type of programme item and had the amazing ability to switch from serious to light stories with great ease.  TV-am highlights included conducting the first live TV interview on British TV with Nelson Mandela when he was released from jail in South Africa, presenting the programme on the morning after the Lockerbie Disaster, thousands of celebrity interviews and singing in a Welsh male voice choir with Errol the Hamster on a Roland Rat show.  Mike was the final presenter to speak on the very last TV-am programme and joked he was "off to be a passport photographer after turning off the studio lights".

Mike was born in Harrow, Middlesex in June 1947. Educated at St Paul's School, London, he gained a BA in American and English Literature at Manchester University before starting his career in journalism with the Surrey Comet in 1969. He then joined AAP Reuters, a Sydney-based news agency, as bulletins editor. In 1974 he moved to United Newspapers as a sports reporter, then sports editor. Mike joined Thames TV as a sub-editor and reporter in 1979, before joining TV-am in 1983 at its launch as a sports reporter/presenter and then presenter of the Saturday edition of Good Morning Britain. He became anchorman of GMB in 1987. After TV-am, Mike went on to become regular presenter of Yorkshire TV's news magazine programme "Calendar". 

Paying tribute on Twitter, former TV-am co-host Lorraine Kelly said: " Very sad news - my old friend Mike Morris who shared a sofa with me on TV-am has died.  He was a good man and a very underrated broadcaster.  He made it look easy."  Also paying tribute, former TV-am star Richard Keys said "Top guy and hugely under-rated.  Loved a laugh.  I'll miss you buddy.  Georgey Spanswick wrote "VERY sad news - worked with him at tv-am in my formative days in the sports department! Him and Richard Keys, some kind of double act indeed."  BBC News presenter Simon McCoy said, " Very sad to hear of the death of my former TV-am colleague Mike Morris.  A really gentle man whose easy manner was the reason for success."

TV-am star Anne Diamond told BBC News "I presented many, many memorable breakfast television programmes with Mike and I'd just like to say, as a way of tribute, what a lovely, lovely man he was.  "He was incredibly popular, I think, because he was just like the guy next door.  "It was completely sincere image he had of just being the ordinary bloke next door, who asked the ordinary bloke-type questions.  "That endeared him to a great many people. It certainly did to me.  "He was always a gentleman, he was always generous. He was very, very funny. A real family man and I must say I'm terribly sad to hear he has died."

On behalf  of TV-am, journalist Ian White writes:  "Mike's contribution to TV-am over ten years was huge and we should never underestimate how dificult working in breakfast television can be.  It disrupts family life and turns ordinary journalists into national celebrities.  Mike was no ordinary journalist.  He had the common touch and the ability to pull off every type of interview, often under incredible pressure.  TV-am's success was partly down to its presenters and in the last five years Mike helped lead that team on and off the air.  He was extremely popular with viewers and helped the station secure a 75% share of the breakfast TV audience.   He was incredibly encouraging to younger members of the team and when he worked at "Calendar" often sent me notes when I began presenting "Look North" offering much enthusiasm for my work and great support.  He will be greatly missed by family, friends and colleagues."     

Thank you for all the messages to the TV-am website already.   You can leave a tribute to Mike Morris below.

 

Published on 23rd October 2012 at 00:01:13 by Ian White

Comments

Guy Forshaw, 23rd October 2012 at 00:36:44:

He presented himself to the viewer as himself that's what I remember of him from watching him in his TV-AM days. The key word here is 'Natural' no gimmicks. Reminded me of a teacher at my old high school, the type that was serious, fair but always impartial. Someone you listened to & absorbed his words. Not many have held my attention in TV over the years - all 45 plus of them!

Andrew, 23rd October 2012 at 00:38:02:

So Sad, part of my childhood memories. Heaven has gained a moustache and a gent. RIP Mike

andrew mc phillips, 23rd October 2012 at 01:14:36:

so sorry to hear of the death of this lovely gentleman i loved watching calender when he and christa were the presenters when i lived in leeds west yorkshire mike will be sadly missed by all his co presenters and all who knew him r.i.p mike morris.

Deborah King, 23rd October 2012 at 01:56:55:

Very sad to hear this - a dear young friend of mine was a huge fan of Mike's, and I remember he was very kind to her when she was able to visit the studio.

Carol, 23rd October 2012 at 07:16:52:

Very sad news, RIP Mike, thoughts are with your family at this difficult time.

Neil Henderson, 23rd October 2012 at 08:19:24:

What a shame for Mike. He was always great on Tv-am and got instant rapport with the audience. Tv-am was the model of breakfast tv which others couldn't match. RIP!

Karen Riley, 23rd October 2012 at 08:19:56:

Such a shame I grew up watching mike Morris before school :-(

Jackieglennie, 23rd October 2012 at 08:41:05:

Lorrainne just announced his death this morning he was such Nice guy

Andrew waller, 23rd October 2012 at 08:48:50:

Very sad news. As a viewer of breakfast tv in the early days Mike seemed like a total natural amongst others. A genuine man who had the admiration of those who worked with him and the public who watched.

GARY HALE, 23rd October 2012 at 08:50:11:

They say Roland Rat saved the sinking (TV-am) ship, but really it was the double act of Mike and Lorraine on that famous sofa. He was a very down-to-earth chap, and told the news in the same way, and easy going way to start the day. For those of us who grew up in the 80's, he really will NOT be forgotten. Mike Morris, the first friend that I saw, was the best friend of the day! God bless you, Mike, thanks for the memories.

Jim McGrath, 23rd October 2012 at 10:51:42:

Very sad to learn of Mike's death. I worked with him throughout my time on TV Am between 1983 and 88, when I was a weekend member of the sports team covering horse racing. A kind guy with a terrific sense of humour who loved his job yet didn't take himself too seriously. Condolences to his family and close friends.

Jim McGrath C 4 Racing, 23rd October 2012 at 11:03:40:

Very sorry to learn that Mike had passed away. We worked together on the sports desk at TV Am until he took over the role of main anchor. A kind guy, with a great sense of humour, he was great to work with.Condolences to his family and close friends.

christa ackroyd, 23rd October 2012 at 11:56:52:

Aah been sharing memories with his other Calendar tv wife Christine Talbot. Both agreed Two things Moustache and Laughter . He was a class act who made it look easy . A quick wit and always entertaining both off and on screen . RIP Mike

Sue Ford, 23rd October 2012 at 12:37:19:

will be sadly missed

Don Marsh, 23rd October 2012 at 12:57:00:

I live in Devon now but I was born in Wakefield and I always enjoyed watching Mike on Calendar. Just like Richard Whiteley Mike was far too young to leave us.

Steve Dono, 23rd October 2012 at 13:27:18:

Sad news, happy memories of getting ready for school as a kid and watching the programme.

RIP

Vernon Grant, 23rd October 2012 at 17:19:08:

The man who first employed me in Fleet Street newspapers in the mid to late 70's. The man who made all that followed possible.
In those days we covered sport when not drinking in the pubs of Fleet Street. Had anyone suggested to Mike that he would go on to present TV and interview Prime Ministers, Nelson Mandella, Rod Stewart etc; he'd have had the men in white coast come and get you.
He left United Newspapers for Thames. I left for YTV in Leeds. I had left YTV by the time he took over presenting 'Calendar' from my friend of 12 years, Richard Whiteley. Mike and I bumped into each other in the YTV bar. It was like old times.
We were both smarter dressed by then. Wiser maybe. But one thing had not changed. That unmistakeable laugh of Mike's. Many happy memories of covering football games at Wembley. Of Christmas parties in Fleet Street. Of falling asleep drunk on trains and waking up with him at the end of the line.
But for him I would not have had the career that followed.
I remember him and I smile. What more could one want?
Top bloke!

Diane, 23rd October 2012 at 17:20:07:

so very sad to hear mike has died,,,,fond memeories if him on breakfast tv while getting ready for work ,,,,my heart and thoughts go to his family ,,,,he will be sadly missed

John, 23rd October 2012 at 17:26:43:

I met Mike at YTV. He was very kind and nice.

David King, 23rd October 2012 at 17:35:15:

Very sad to hear of Mike's passing. I remember interviewing him at an event in Reigate for a radio station I worked for at the time during the early 1990's. I was a little nervous as he was a broadcasting star whereas I was very much a junior reporter. He quickly put me at ease. A very nice man indeed who will be sorely missed by many.

Stephen Barden, 23rd October 2012 at 17:53:50:

Very sad to hear of Mike's death. He was a warm and loyal coleagues and one of the most unpretentious tv hosts around. He made it look so natural that I think tvam viewers regarded him more as a friend than a presenter. A fine, good man who will be much missed.

Nick Smurthwaite, 23rd October 2012 at 19:42:28:

I knew Mike when he was a reporter on the Surrey Comet and I was on a rival paper in Richmond. For a time we both covered amateur theatrical productions together and he would frequently reduce me to stifled and convulsive hysteria at the most inappropriate moments in the proceedings. He could easily have been a stand-up comedian had he chosen to be. Happy days.

Mark Occomore, 23rd October 2012 at 21:17:32:

I always rushed back to watch TV-AM after my Paper round before school.. Very sad news to read about Mike's death. My condolences go out to his family...

Stephen Lauder, 23rd October 2012 at 21:56:14:

RIP Mike, My thoughts with his family at this time, always remember his reaction when tvam lost its licence and he said he was "gutted", at least it showed his passion for his job!, A fine broadcaster and a good presenter.

Greg Taylor, 23rd October 2012 at 21:58:52:

A fitting tribute - nice work. RIP Mike.

Ash merry, 23rd October 2012 at 22:13:00:

Such a sad sad loss a lovely man. Your legacy will live in and thoughts and love for your family. We are thinking of you.

Ash merry, 23rd October 2012 at 22:14:16:

Such a sad sad loss a lovely man. Your legacy will live in and thoughts and love for your family. We are thinking of you.

Tony Vickers, 23rd October 2012 at 22:14:40:

As Sales Director of TV-AM from 1984 up to the very sad and unnecessary demise of the company, I worked with Mike Morris.

The early days were a nightmare - no money - few ratings - and very little advertising revenue - not good! But these circumstances bring out the best in people.

What you do is take a big breath and get on with it and Mike Morris did just that. His partnership with Anne Diamond, the bloody Rat and Bruce Gyngell's leadership all helped to move TV-AM in the right direction.

Mike Morris was at the centre of what turned out to be a hugely successful transformation of the company. It was a good, hard-working and sociable team who realised they were on the threshold of creating an outstanding TV company.

Mike and Richard Keyes realised the Sales Department had lunches, drinks and an expense account and as they finished their programme at 9.30 in the morning, all they wanted to do was play!

Mike joined and fronted many of our sales presentations. With his personality and good humour, he was a great part of our team.

Michael will be sadly missed, but for those of us who worked with him at TV-AM, he will always be remembered with great affection.

Chris Wyldeck, 23rd October 2012 at 22:36:42:

I worked with Mike as the Director of TV-am for the last three years.
He was one of the nicest and professional presenters I have ever worked with. Very sorry to hear of his passing.

Simon Leung, 23rd October 2012 at 22:44:36:

Used to watch Mike in the mornings on TV AM as a youngster - he came across as a really warm, kind person who never took himself too seriously. Perfect for morning tv. Thanks for being you Mike, RIP. Condolences to his family and friends.

Gary Hunt, 23rd October 2012 at 22:45:10:

So sad to hear the news. I always wake up to watch tvam. Mike Morris brightened up the show. I first watched tvam ever since it started. RIP MIKE MORRIS.

jamie unwin, 23rd October 2012 at 22:47:37:

I was a young when he was in his pomp, a remember is moustache and more over his arguments with roland rat... god bless rest peacefully mike

Julia Howard, 23rd October 2012 at 22:47:59:

Mike - What a lovely, funny and generous man. He was best man to my husband, John, at our wedding many years ago now. He made a fabulous speech, perfectly appropriate but also very amusing, but told me afterwards that he much preferred talking to millions on TV than to a more intimate group, which made him nervous. I am so very sad and wish his family to know they are in my thoughts. Julia

Robert Stanley, 24th October 2012 at 00:07:41:

Very sad to hear about the death of Mike Morris. A real gentleman and a great talent. One of the best journalists of his age.

My deepest sympathies go out to all his family.

Joy Layland, 24th October 2012 at 02:38:06:

A gentle sounding voice first thing in the morning - this was Mike. Polite, funny and made the early mornings more bearable whilst trying to get the kids ready for school.
Far too young to have gone - condolences to his family. RIP Mike

Joy Layland, 24th October 2012 at 02:38:42:

A gentle sounding voice first thing in the morning - this was Mike. Polite, funny and made the early mornings more bearable whilst trying to get the kids ready for school.
Far too young to have gone - condolences to his family. RIP Mike

Ashleigh Watson, 24th October 2012 at 05:51:06:

An extremely professional journalist and a very down to earth person - a real star.

Will be sadly missed.

lynda millard, 24th October 2012 at 10:42:35:

what sad news mike was a lovely man I had my daughter in 1986 so tvam was on every morning he was just like my dad in asking questions of those he was interviewing at the time.Nothing has ever come close to matching tvam and the closeness displayed on tvam just loved mike anne and nick not forgetting jayne kathy and wincey.Hope his daughters and grandchildren remember the love we all had for him one of lifes great gentlemen. rip mike

Christine Talbot, 24th October 2012 at 11:14:49:

I was so sad to hear that Mike had died. The first person I called was Christa Ackroyd, who presented with him for five years at Calendar before I became his next TV wife. Just thinking about him made us smile. Mike had a heart of gold, though he tried to pretend he hadn't! He took an interest in everyone in the office at every level and did little things like visit colleagues in hospital or just take time out to lift spirits when needed. He could be irascible and would brush off any compliments with a funny quip, but he was one of the kindest men I ever met. We'd spend hours giggling over silly things and he kept us all laughing. He was adored at Calendar, but behind the fun and quips he was a fiercely intelligent, well read and incisive journalist. It was a formidable and rare combination that made for a brilliant presenter and a great and dear friend. I'm not sure he ever really realised how loved he was. When we last spoke this summer I had no idea it would be the last time. We will miss you Mike x

Steve Carr, 24th October 2012 at 12:43:40:

Mike made the news watchable Lorraine said on the final day he was a rougue but what a nice rougue, some of his one liners would put Blanche on Corrie to shame RIP Mike you made our mornings

LES ALLEN, 24th October 2012 at 13:32:55:

ONE OF THE BEST PRESENTERS ON TV WILL BE GREATLY MISSED RIP.

Clive Hill, 24th October 2012 at 14:13:05:

Mike was a lovely guy.Very down to earth and always had time for a chat.He was very under rated and will be sadly missed.

Lesley Alexander, 26th October 2012 at 14:47:53:

I worked with Mike at Calendar in the 1990s and will never forget his kindness as a co-presenter. On and off-screen, he was warm, funny and always happy to help. A great professional. A wonderful man. I learned so much about television from you, Mike, and feel honoured to have spent time with you. RIP and all my love to your family.

Lizzie Webb, 27th October 2012 at 10:09:03:

Mike was one of the warmest,kindest presenters you could ever wish to work with. I was always grateful for the gentle consideration and care he showed me as a new girl working in television. He had time for everyone,a heart of gold and what a great sense of humour!Love and thoughts to his family x

Geoff Perfitt, 27th October 2012 at 11:52:35:

Very sad to hear of Mike's death. A great guy. We were lucky to have known him through the years.

Clare Ann Gaches, 27th October 2012 at 16:08:07:

Very sad to hear of Mike Morris's death.Mike was a gentleman.i used to meet him outside tv-am in 1987.Mike Morris always found time to stop and chat to his fans.Rest in peace Mike Morris

Roy Macgregor, 28th October 2012 at 11:11:48:

So sad to hear this news - I will always hold Mike in a special place in my memory- When I was a very green contributor to TVam Mike had an amazing knack of making me feel at ease. He brought out the best in everyone. A generous and kinder man one couldn't hope to meet.

Kathy Gyngell, 28th October 2012 at 16:14:11:

My thoughts are with Mike's family at this dreadfully sad time. He was such a special man and his time has come far, far too soon.

My memories of Mike are from his fantastic TV-am days back in the 1980s. He was the warmest,funniest, cleverest and most natural TV presenter ever. There is simply no doubt that his particular style and charm were intrinsic to the ongoing success and popularity of TV-am.

But more important than all this was his essential decency and goodness. I still have, and treasure, the most thoughtful and kind letter he wrote to me when Bruce died.

I am sure Mike's family knows this but I must put on the record here how much Bruce admired and respected Mike both professionally and personally. He never wanted to see his talent wasted - and I know how deeply he appreciated Mike's loyalty in staying through to the bitter end of TV-am's franchise.

Personally I have the happiest memories of Mike's presence in the TV-am office - how he made it a sunny, funny and happy place to be.

He was a lovely man and I am so sorry for his nearest and dearest at this saddest of times for them.

With my deepest sympathy

Kathy

David Keighley, 28th October 2012 at 17:35:23:

I echo everything that Kathy Gyngell has said - fine words that sum up Mike and everything about his presence perfectly.

I would only add that as the flak flew towards the TV-am press office (as it often did!), I will remember Mike as the one who always kept his head, was always loyal to the company and his colleagues - and the first to offer words of private support, to me, Janie Ironside Wood, Nikki Jonceline and the press office team.

It was a very great pleasure to work with him and I feel deeply sad that he has died so young.

My deep and heartfelt condolences to his family.

David

R-V Bruce, 29th October 2012 at 14:57:48:

I'm in shock having read a week too late of Mike's passing. We were in adjacent rooms at university and spent our time arguing about philosophy literature and sport and doing appalling things with fire extinguishers. I stayed with him at his parents house when my cousin was married in Surrey, then he disappeared to Australia. I didn't get there myself until 20 years later. When we last spoke it was about sport and weather presenters (yes); and broken noses (his when boxing at school). The point is, every time we spoke it was fun; intellectual with no hint of anything other than a genuine search for truths. Mike was a total gentleman, and I am deeply saddened by his early passing, and thoughts/ condolences are all for his family and other friends. Bless you Mike.

Jayne Irving, 30th October 2012 at 13:28:34:

Am terribly upset to hear the news about lovely Mike. He was such a great buddy in our co-presenting days at TV-AM. Wonderfully warm and incredibly kind, he also had a wicked sense of humour. His timing was brilliant - with whispered one-liners during moments when we were meant to be serious. Many's the time we had to deploy the TV-Am cushions to stifle the giggles. I remember shaking helplessly with laughter together during one particularly surreal item involving Russell Grant trying to sing an aria dressed in a toga! I always felt very proud to be 'one of the lads' with him and Keysey in what was a very supportive little gang in a gloriously crazy, fun place to work. I'm just so sad I won't get to have a giggle with him again. God bless. All my deepest condolences to his family.

Nick Owen, 30th October 2012 at 14:39:46:

I was shattered to hear about Mike. What a terrific buddy he was in the very earliest days of TV-am. He and I joined shortly before the start of the station as fellow sports presenters, so we worked very closely and helped each other all the time. We shared a passion for sport - obviously - but my greatest memories are of the laughs we had. Utter, irresponsible hilarity at times! When I became the programme's main anchorman within eight weeks of the start of TV-am (amazing to think that now!), we continued to work and laugh together on a daily basis. He even managed to make sport vaguely interesting to Anne! A really good man, a truly nice guy and very, very warm. I cannot believe he has gone. Cheers, Mike, and my condolences to your family. You've left us far too soon.

Wincey Willis, 30th October 2012 at 16:10:53:

I was lucky to be part of the TV-am team from day 1 of the 'New look'. I was made so welcome and helped in many ways by my colleagues. Mike Morris was a lovely person and a brilliant broadcaster, coping with whatever was happening he was a great support.Well loved for his wicked sense ofhumour. Sending deepest sympathy to his family.

Gordon Honeycombe, 31st October 2012 at 03:18:11:

I last saw Mike in 1989, when I left TV-am. How time flies! All my memories concerning Mike are good, and all the above tributes true. I hope his family are comforted by them. He really was a merry fellow, enjoying life and being at TV-am, and he was a very good presenter.

Joe Steeples, 1st November 2012 at 17:07:32:

It is hard to describe, to people who weren't there at the time, the frenetic, slightly crazy atmosphere that permeated Egg Cup House when all those sleep-deprived characters used to meet up every morning to put TV-am on the air.
I worked in Camden through the 80's putting together programme items for Jimmy Greaves, and for both of us, it was the happiest TV workplace we ever encountered.
One of the compensations for getting up so early was the chance to have breakfast with Mike Morris, a good, kind, funny man who has died far too young.
My memories of those days are mostly of laughter - much of it emanating from the man with the moustache.
I trust Mike's family will be comforted by the knowledge that he was loved by so many people.

John Hellier, 3rd November 2012 at 17:02:09:

Very Very sad to hear this
A part of my growing up ( even though on the TV)
RIP Mike

Caroline Righton, 7th November 2012 at 13:34:57:

Dearest Mike RIP.
One of the funniest men I ever worked with. My sincerest condolences to his family. I know he will be so deeply missed by all who knew him.
So sad.

P. H. Hellyar, 15th January 2013 at 20:07:43:

I have just heard about this terrible news. I played cricket together with Mike at St Paul's Junior School(Colet Court)in the mid 1950's and between us we bowled Dulwich College out for less than 60 (if I remember correctly) taking 5 wickets each. Our side won easily, of course. We met up again in 1989, when I guessed it was him after seeing his bent nose on TV-AM (we always laughed about that). We had lunch together in Camden Lock after the show and talked about the past, his awesome succees and my life. He was a great guy, fantastically popular at school and although I had not seen him since our lunch that lovely day, I am very saddened. R.I.P Mike. you were a dear and loyal school friend.

Amelia, 12th May 2013 at 21:06:16:

So sorry to hear about Mike. God bless the family, it's hard to comprehend but the memories will live on.

Clare, 13th May 2013 at 23:45:41:

I WAS SO SAD TO HEAR OF MIKE'S DEATH.
I HAVE OFTEN WONDERED WHERE HE WAS IN THE LAST FEW YEARS.
HE WAS A TRUE PROFESSIONAL

RIP MIKE.

Stephen Daniels, 15th September 2013 at 04:20:51:

As a viewer, I loved watching Mike in the mornings. I was just a youngster getting ready for school, but he seemed so cheerful and pleasant, and always the professional. His emotion the day they learned TV-am had lost the franchise was evident, but right down to the final goodbye on the last show, he was a rock.

Thanks, Mike.

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