John Yates, one of The Midlands’ bestknown journalists and a
familiar face on BBC Midlands Today for many years, has died aged 57
from heart problems.
His trademark beard, bow-tie and his quirky
style of presenting endeared him to viewers. His sense of fun saw him
don various costumes throughout his on-screen career.
12 years in print journalism before joining BBC Radio Leicester as a
producer. He then moved to Pebble Mill in Birmingham in the early 1980s
before joining Midlands Today in 1986.
His last series of pieces
before ill health forced his retirement saw him profile prominent
people from the area as part of a search for the Greatest Midlander – a
title won by Spitfire designer R J Mitchell, following a public vote.
Colleagues recall how John had an anecdote for every occasion, including one famed report from a local winery.
did his piece to camera while perched on a stool and enjoying its
deceptively strong tipple. It took 10 takes, and as many glasses, and
when he finally finished, flushed with success, he fell off the stool!
Watkin, editor of BBC Midlands Today, said: “John was an all-round
journalist who could turn his hand to any story, any time. He was also
a great person to work with. One of the many brilliant things about him
was he would always tell me what he thought was good – and more
importantly, bad – about the show.”
He is survived by his wife and two daughters.