Fred Dinenage of ITV Meridian and his presentation partners from Fern Britton to Natasha Kaplinsky

Highly regarded TV presenter Fred Dinenage announced yesterday (October 11) that he will be stepping down as senior presenter of ITV Meridian.

The popular broadcaster’s television career spans more than 50 years and he anchored the flagship 6-hour regional news program in the south of England for nearly four decades.

During his career, Fred has presented a number of regional programs, has become a household name in the children’s television series How? and covered two Olympic Games in collaboration with Yorkshire Television.

Read more: Fred Dinenage to leave ITV Meridian at Christmas after nearly four decades as a news anchor

The 79-year-old, who went on to become one of ITV’s longest-serving regional news presenters, said yesterday: “After nearly thirty-eight years co-hosting the six-hour ITV show in the south and southeast, I finally decided to hang up my mic.



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“It was a very difficult decision, but now I 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 Austrian mountains.

“I will continue with my police programs and How! and write books, including one recently commissioned. “



Fred Dinenage presenting the Meridian Tonight program
Fred Dinenage presenting the Meridian Tonight program

“But now I think it’s a good time to move on. I will miss my dear co-host, Sangeeta, and my colleagues at ITV Meridian. And, of course, I will miss our wonderful viewers who have provided me with incredible love and support for so long.

“I have been so fortunate in my life and career – fifty-eight years working non-stop on regional and network programs with ITV and have been fortunate to have a truly special family. So, everyone – thank you. “

Fred has had a successful career, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the camaraderie and support of his illustrious presentation partners.

He has worked with a number of respected female TV presenters who are successful themselves.

KentLive looks back on the women who have worked with Fred Dinenage throughout his career.

Britton Fern



Ferne Britton then presented This Morning alongside Phillip Schofield
Ferne Britton then presented This Morning alongside Phillip Schofield

Fred rose to fame in 1983 when he joined ITV as the chief male news anchor for Meridian Tonight’s previous program, Coast to Coast.

Coast to Coast was originally presented by Khalid Aziz, but used many former Southern Television staff, including Fred, who was the sports presenter at the time.

Fred was promoted to Senior Presenter when Aziz left a year later and after a period of presentation alongside Christopher Peacock he was joined by Fern Britton in 1985 – a partnership that continued for a long time. part of the program.

Fern was already quite well known at this point as she was the youngest national news anchor to feature News After Noon on BBC1.

However, her time on Coast to Coast with Fred really established her as a household name.

Since then, Fern has hosted several major TV shows, including the BBC’s Breakfast Time, Ready Steady Cook and This Morning.

Mai Davies



Mai Davies has since had a successful career as a freelance broadcast journalist
Mai Davies has since had a successful career as a freelance broadcast journalist

Another famous face who worked alongside Fred on Coast to Coast was Mai Davies.

The Welsh journalist started her career at HTV Wales in Cardiff as a Wales reporter and presenter at age 6 before moving to ITV to present Coast to Coast, often alongside Fred.

When Meridian took over the ITV franchise for the south of England, Mai moved to the new company, but instead became the main presenter of its Newbury news program, serving the northern part of the region.

She has since featured on a variety of channels as a freelance journalist including ITV Wales, Channel 5, BBC Radio 4, BBC 5 Live, BBC World Service and Sky News.

She was, at one point, widely regarded as ‘ITV’s face of Welsh politics’.

She is currently a regular anchor for the BBC Radio Wales daily news magazine programs Good Morning Wales and Good Evening Wales.

Debbie Launcher



Debbie presented the Channel 4 Collectors' Lot Antique Show in the 1990s
Debbie presented the Channel 4 Collectors’ Lot Antique Show in the 1990s

After Coast to Coast was replaced by Meridian Tonight, Fred was joined by journalist Debbie Thrower.

Debbie, who previously presented the BBC’s national news broadcasts, was an ITV news anchor alongside Fred from the inception of Meridian until 2009.

She has since presented the popular Channel 4 Collectors’ Lot antiques program and also had an afternoon show on BBC Radio 2 for a while.

Natasha Kaplinsky



Natasha Kaplinsky had a meteoric career as a news anchor
Natasha Kaplinsky had a meteoric career as a news anchor

News anchor, TV presenter and journalist Natasha Kaplinsky is best known for her roles as a studio presenter on Sky News, BBC News, Channel 5 and ITV News.

But Natasha started her career on F2F, a youth talk show, for Granada Talk TV alongside co-host Sacha Baron Cohen.

She quickly switched to presenting early morning newsletters at Meridian and within six months, she co-hosted the evening news show Meridian Tonight alongside Fred.

Since then, Natasha had a meteoric career as a BBC Breakfast host between 2001 and 2005 until she became the host of Six O’Clock News.

In October 2007, Kaplinsky was recruited to help relaunch Channel 5, apparently for the highest price ever paid to a UK newsreader.

After leaving Channel 5, she joined ITV News as a presenter.

She has also hosted a series of light entertainment and factual shows during her career including Children in Need and was the first winner of the BBC’s first Strictly Come Dancing series in 2004.

In 2014, then Prime Minister David Cameron asked Natasha to become Holocaust commissioner leading a 112 survivor interview project, and she was awarded an OBE in 2017 for her services. to the Holocaust Commission.

Sangeeta Bhabra



Fred described Sangeeta as "the most wonderful person to work with"
Fred described Sangeeta as “the most wonderful person to work with”

Dinenage became co-presenter of a new pan-regional edition of Meridian Tonight in 2009, featuring alongside former Southeast presenter Sangeeta Bhabra.

Sangeeta trained as a journalist while volunteering at Hospital Radio Reading, but her first commercial job was at County Sound Radio in Guildford.

She quickly became a regular anchor, reporter and Travel News anchor for the Thames Valley edition of Meridian Tonight.

She then became a co-host of the South East edition of Meridian Tonight, until 2009 when the show was revamped and she took over as co-host alongside the longtime presenter. date Fred.

Its slogan “wherever you go, go safe” was a big hit with viewers and it has maintained its popularity ever since.

Fred and Sangeeta have shown up side-by-side since, with the exception of the COVID pandemic in which Fred Dinenage did not attend the studio and Sangeeta acted as the lead solo presenter for Meridian Tonight continuously until August 2020.

After Fred announced that he would be leaving ITV Meridian, Sangeeta said he was the “best teacher” and would be “massively missed”.

Fred also sang Sangeeta’s praises, calling her “the most wonderful person to work with”.

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