Bill Tennent

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Bill Tennent was a leading personality in the early years of Scottish Television.

Early life

Born in Rutherglen, he went to Glasgow High School before training as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where he was a contemporary of Andy Stewart and John Cairney.

When STV was being launched in 1957, he successfully auditioned and did not complete his course.

Scottish Television

One of his first jobs, apart from announcing, was as presenter of an advertising magazine, Man About the House. From there he went on to be anchorman on the news and current affairs programme, Here and Now.

He was involved in a wide range of television genres, including religion, education, documentaries, and reports from abroad.

Several chat shows were built around him, including The Bill Tennent Show, from the King's, Edinburgh, Time Out with Tennent, and Time for Tennent.

He presented of local and General Election programmes, and, as an outside broadcaster, was one of the ITV team at the wedding of Princess Alexandra and the Queen's jubilee celebrations. He also covered the opening of the Tay Road Bridge by the Queen Mother.

In the 1960s, he was the first recipient of the 'STV Personality of the Year' award.

Tributes

In an obituary in the Glasgow Herald, Bill Brown, then chairman of STV said: "In many respects, Bill was Mr STV during its first 20 years. He epitomised what the station was about. He was held in highest esteem by viewers, who regarded him as a personal friend."

David Johnstone, ex-director of programmes, who was director of most of the early Tennent shows, said: "He was a great television professional, unflappable under pressure when everything was going out live."

Another former colleague said he was "always completely natural and unaffected".[1]

When comedian Billy Connolly received a lifetime achievement award at the National Television Awards in January 2016 he remarked during his acceptance speech: "I'd like to thank Bill Tennant in Scotland, who was the first man to put me on television, and Michael Parkinson who was the first British man to put me on television."[2]

After STV

When he left STV in the late 70s, it was to be mine host of the Marie Stuart Hotel, in Glasgow, which was sold in June 1992 when he decided to retire.

Death

Bill Tennent died at his Glasgow home in 1993, aged 59.

He was survived by his wife, Margo, a daughter, Mandy, and son, Scott.

References

  1. 'Obituary: Bill Tennent', Glasgow Herald, 7 January 1993.
  2. 'Bigging up dad was big of the Big Yin', Sunday Mail, 24 January 2016, 19.