Granada Reports presenters Lucy Meacock and Tony Morris
Granada's Lucy Meacock will present the prestigious Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life Food & Drink Awards this month. Emma Mayoh caught up with her and co-host Tony Morris <br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON
‘We were all absolutely blown away when we realised we’d won it,’ remembered Granada Reports presenter Lucy Meacock. ‘It was just incredible. When they made the announcement, the camera panned to Huw Edwards and he had a face like thunder. That was quite a nice moment even if it was a little bit immature.’
Lucy Meacock and the Granada Reports team have won several awards but this BAFTA was the best. They took home the Best News Coverage gong at the 2007/8 awards - beating national news teams from ITV, BBC and Channel 4 - for a special report on the Morecambe Bay tragedy. It included interviews with the families of the dead cocklers in China. The team was the first and still are the only regional news programme to get an award in the event’s history.
Lucy, who lives in Chester with partner Graham, said: ‘This was something that had never happened before. Everyone seemed to know who we were at the awards ceremony and I hadn’t really appreciated what an impact it had.
‘We were up against these big players and there was little Granada Reports in there and we won. It was just incredible.’
The news presenter, who was born in South Wales before her family moved to Chester when she was six, started her career at the Chester Chronicle after ‘badgering the editor to give me a job’. She has worked for the BBC in Newcastle and London before making the move back north to care for her father, Graham, who had cancer. But it is Granada Reports and the north west that she has dedicated the past 22 years of her life to.She said: ‘We are very lucky to cover this part of the world and it’s the people who really make it. They are so passionate about the areas they live in and are opinionated about it. We always got lots of good interviews because people are willing to say what they really think.
‘I remember a guy from London came up and told us we need to be passionate about the area we cover. But we already are. I think that really comes across.’
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Lucy has presented with many male counterparts including journalist, television presenter and record label owner Tony Wilson. But for the past seven years it is Tony Morris, former RAF officer and radio presenter, who has shared the sofa with her every weekday evening at 6pm, filming Granada Reports in a studio once used by The Beatles, Sex Pistols andJoy Division.
Between them the pair, including Portsmouth-born Tony who now lives in Ramsbottom, have interviewed everyone from grieving parents, including Jamie Bulger’s mother and the parents of 11-year-old Rhys Jones who was shot dead in Croxteth to Liverpool Football Club fans celebrating a Champions League win, world famous crooner Andy Williams and Gillian Duffy, the Rochdale pensioner Gordon Brown will never forget. It is this last story that Tony remembers the most.
He said: ‘We did a live programme outside Gillian Duffy’s house andthere was an army of reporters and photographers camped in the street. What was really funny was that the people who lived there were surprised to see so much media there.
‘People get to recognise you and one guy came up to me and asked how long the camera trucks were going to be there because he couldn’t park his car. I love situations like that.’
Although Tony wasn’t born in Lancashire, he considers himself a northerner and it took only one glimpse of Ramsbottom on a sunny day for him to set up home there with his two daughters, Natalie, 22 and Rebecca, 20.
‘I have lived up here now for longer than I lived down south.This is my home; this is where I love to be. I love the area and the people'
I remember driving along the road on a sunny day and I looked down the valley at Ramsbottom. I thought it was lovely and decided to get a house. It feels like it’s rained every day since but I still love it.’
This month Lucy will swap presenting the news with Tony for hosting the prestigious Cheshire Life/Lancashire and Lake District Life Food & Drink Awards, being held at the Midland Hotel on October 26th. The event, sponsored this year by celebrated family brewer Frederic Robinson of Stockport, recognises the highest standards of hospitality and purveyors of the finest quality food and drink in the region.
Lucy said: ‘It’s the perfect occasion to get involved with and it’s fantastic there is an occasion like this that recognises all the hard work and expertise in our food and drink industry. It’s important to celebrate good food across the north west because we have a lot to be proud of.
‘It’s about celebrating people like Paul Heathcote and Nigel Haworth who do so much for the industry but we also need to support those other people who are coming along behind them. I’m lucky that in my job I get to mark the regions; achievements and really big it up so I’m proud to be part of something that supports local food so well.’