Obituary: Gordon Honeycombe, newcaster, 79

Newsreader and author Gordon Honeycombe attended Edinburgh Academy. Picture: Getty
Newsreader and author Gordon Honeycombe attended Edinburgh Academy. Picture: Getty
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Newscaster and author Gordon Honeycombe has died in Perth, Australia, at the age of 79.

Ronald Gordon Honeycombe was born on September 27, 1936, in Karachi, the son of Scottish parents. His father worked for an American oil company in Pakistan.

He attended Edinburgh Academy where he showed a burgeoning talent as an actor.

He then read English at University College, Oxford and came to the Festival Fringe for two years in The Miracles and Songs for an Autumn Rifle.

He did his national service with the Royal Artillery in Hong Kong, where he gained further experience as a broadcaster with Radio Hong Kong.

Initially he pursued a career in acting and joined a touring company, managed by his friend Richard Ingrams, that visited schools.

In 1962, he joined the RSC but meaty parts were not easy to come by and in 1965 he joined ITN as a scriptwriter and newsreader.

Mr Honeycombe was never a flamboyant newsreader. In front of the cameras he was smart, well-dressed and efficient. He articulated clearly and was meticulous about pronunciation of foreign names.

He had a good microphone technique and never resorted to quips or sign-off jokes.

He was often seen on the early evening and weekend bulletins and was twice voted the most popular newscaster.

Honeycombe concentrated on his writing and in 1968 had a television play about obsessive Everton supporters, The Golden Vision, directed by Ken Loach, shown on the prestigious Wednesday Play slot.

In 1984, Honeycombe joined the new breakfast television station TV-am as a newscaster and stayed for five years. “Rising at 4.30 every morning and presenting seven bulletins rather lost its attraction after a time,” he admitted. He returned to the stage and did panto with Cilla Black and a tour of Run for Your Wife with Les Dawson.

The stage was a great passion but Honeycombe was fascinated with writing.

He was a fine wordsmith and historian and an early success was his novel Neither the Sea Nor the Sand, much of which was set in the north-east of Scotland.

His 1974 book, Adam’s Tale, was a factual account of the drug squad at New Scotland Yard and was well received by the critics. Honeycombe also wrote the history of Selfridges to celebrate its 75th year in 1984.

In 1993 Honeycombe, who never married, became an Australian citizen.

He continued to direct plays in Perth and relived his youth when he performed Pooh-Bah in The Mikado. “I’ve become seduced by the Australian philosophy that ‘tomorrow’s another day’,” he said, “and I lead a relaxed life which couldn’t be better.”