George Alagiah

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George Maxwell Alagiah (2009)

George Maxwell Alagiah OBE (/ˌæləˈɡaɪə/; 22 November 1955 – 24 July 2023) was a British newsreader, journalist and television presenter. From 2007 until 2022, he was the presenter of the BBC News at Six, and also the main presenter of GMT on BBC World News from its launch in 2010 until 2014. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours.


  • [On coming to terms with having bowel cancer] I literally got to the point where I listed the pros and cons of everything that had happened to me: leaving Sri Lanka; finding Fran [Frances Robathan, his wife] and falling in love with her at Durham; my career. I added up all of those things and then the bad things that had happened and I just realised in a very visual way, boy, I had had a lot of happiness. There was a lot more in the column of the good things that had happened to me than the shit things that had happened to me. And it was effective. I thought, "Well, let's see what happens." I grew up in a house in Colombo where there was a bucket for a loo and a man came and emptied it out, and I ended up where I am now. It's a good journey, a very good journey.
    I'm really careful about saying things like this. There are as many ways of dealing with cancer as there are people who have got it, and you've got to find the one that works for you, but for me thinking of things in that way was the key. Ever since, I've been able to deal with — well, some really tough medicine this week, for example. And what is really important is that I love life so much more to the point, I love the people around me so much that I will give it everything I possibly can to hang in there rather than say, "I've had a good life; let bad things happen."

About Alagiah

  • One of my happiest memories of George will forever be his 60th birthday party. All his sisters were there and Fran and their very handsome boys. There was nothing “celebby” about it. It was the people that meant a lot to him, gathered in one place, to celebrate an incredibly important moment – a moment he didn't necessarily think he would live to see. George made a speech, as did the boys, and it was incredibly moving and life affirming all at the same time.
  • George was a man of great empathy. In the newsroom he was adored and admired by the team of producers behind the scenes. He was a true team player. He wanted to listen to everyone's opinion and never assumed he was right. A man without ego - unusual in the TV world - he never wanted the story to be about him. And then, suddenly, it was.
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