Fred Dinenage Im not retiring! – Ill never stop working! despite shock quit on ITV

Phillip Schofield said farewell to his ITV colleague Fred Dineage

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Fred Dinenage, 79, has announced today that he will be leaving ITV’s Meridian at Christmas, after nearly four decades, making him ITV’s longest-serving regional news anchor. However, the author has shared he won’t be disappearing from screens entirely, as he will continue to work on his other programmes.

On This Morning today, Fred told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield: “I’m not retiring, I’ve had thousands of emails which I am really grateful for saying, ‘Happy retirement’, but I’m going to carry on. 

“I’ll never stop, I’ll never retire. I’ll carry on with my Sky Crime, carry on with ITV’s How! I’m going to be busy, but not as busy as I am at the moment,” he added,

During his career, Fred has presented regional programmes made by Southern Television and its successor TVS, including Tell the Truth and Coast to Coast. 

In the 1970s, he covered regional sport for Yorkshire Television and went on to host the network ITV Saturday afternoon show World of Sport, a role that saw him cover two Olympic Games.

Fred became a household name on the children’s television programme How! and only last year appeared in every episode of a new series of the show, made for CITV.  

He has anchored the 6pm flagship regional news programme across the South of England ever since 1983 working with presenters such as Fern Britton, Debbie Thrower and Natasha Kaplinsky.

For the past 12 years, Fred has co-hosted ITV News Meridian with Sangeeta Bhabra, who Fred describes as “the most marvellous person to work with”.

The TV host said: “After almost thirty-eight years co-presenting the ITV six o’clock show in the south and south-east I’ve finally decided to hang up my microphone.

“It’s been a really tough decision but I now want to spend a few years with my wife, Beverley, and our three dogs smelling the roses in my garden and spending time in the mountains of Austria.

“I will be continuing with my crime programmes and ITV’s How! and writing books, including one recently commissioned.”

“But now I feel it is the right time to move on. I will miss my dear co-presenter, Sangeeta, and my colleagues at ITV Meridian terribly. And, of course, I will miss our wonderful viewers who have given me such incredible love and support for so long.

“I’ve been so lucky in my life and career – fifty-eight years working non-stop on regional and network programmes with ITV and I’ve been blessed by having a truly special family.  So, to everyone – thank you.”

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Fred and Sangeeta were forced to get used to a different way of working when the UK was placed into lockdown in March 2020.

Fred, while working from home, spent months working on the “Daily Dinenage” segment for the flagship 6pm programme, often featuring his dog Dave Dinenage.

It was difficult for Fred to be away from the studio for so long, but he remained on our screens with his familiar wit and professionalism.

 In July 2020, Fred and Sangeeta were reunited once again at Fred’s home in Hampshire.

The documentary host has won RTS awards for many of the news programmes he has worked on and in 2010, was given an MBE for services to broadcasting. 

Fred has covered many big stories during his career, from the murder of Sarah Payne, to the Salisbury Novichok poisonings and the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. 

He has also interviewed high profile people in politics, entertainment, and sport, from Tony Blair to Dame Vera Lynn and The Beatles. 

Paying tribute to Fred, Director of ITV News and Current Affairs Michael Jermey said: “Fred has had one of the most remarkable television careers of anyone in the history of the medium. 

“A familiar and very popular presence on our screens for well over 50 years he has outlasted almost all his peers. There are viewers, who as children, enjoyed watching Fred present How! in the 1960s, who are now themselves retired.

“Many generations of ITV viewers in the south of England have welcomed Fred into their homes every evening as the presenter of the local ITV regional news. He’ll be greatly missed on the nightly programme. We won’t now see him on TV every day but we will look forward to the occasional appearances that Fred intends to continue to make.

“Fred has been a marvellous friend to so many people at ITV down the years. We wish him all the very best for the future.”

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