The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

Alastair Stewart (1952 - current)

Alastair James Stewart was born 22 June 1952 and is an English journalist and newscaster, currently employed by ITN where he is a main newscaster for ITV News.

Stewart was born in Gosport, Hampshire to a Scottish father from Invergarry and an English mother. Both of his parents served in the RAF.

Stewart joined Southern Television in 1976 as a reporter, industrial correspondent, presenter and documentary maker. He then joined ITN in 1980 as industrial correspondent, soon joining its roster of additional newsreaders. He served 3 years with Channel 4 News  from 1983 as presenter an reporter and moved in September 1986 to present the ITN News at 5.45. He remains a main newsreader with ITV News after 31 years, making him the longest serving male newsreader on British television having worked in both the local news, and the national news for the past 38 years.

He is a patron of the charity Naomi House & Jacksplace - hospices for children and young adults, Kids for Kids - helping children in Darfur and disability charity Scope.

Stewart was educated in Scotland, at the state school Madras College, St. Andrews, Fife, then in England at the independent school Salesian College, Farnborough, Hampshire and at St. Augustine's Abbey School in Ramsgate, Kent, followed by the University of Bristol, where he studied economics and politics. He worked for the National Union of Students from 197476.

During his career Stewart provided live coverage of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster as the details of the tragedy unfolded. A two-minute news-flash became an unscripted, one hour special programme. He also anchored, with Sandy Gall, the award winning coverage on ITN on the night of the bombing of the Pan Am jet over Lockerbie and presented the ITV network coverage of the memorial service for the victims.

In May 1989 he moved to ITN's flagship News at Ten bulletin, which he anchored live from the fall of the Berlin Wall, before spending a year in the United States as ITN's Washington correspondent. Four days after returning from his assignment in Washington he was sent to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, to anchor ITN's coverage of the Gulf War. He presented News at Ten, live from Saudi Arabia for two months. At the end of February, Stewart became the first British television reporter to broadcast live from the liberated Kuwait City. He presented News at Ten from Kuwait for a week before returning to the UK.

ITN's network coverage of the 1992 Budget saw the ninth year of Stewart's involvement in the presentation of the annual event for ITV. During his time with ITN, he has also provided the commentary for many of its other special programmes on the ITV network including the State Openings of Parliament, numerous by-elections, state visits and for the Royal Weddings of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer and The Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson.

From 1993 to September 2009, he was the co-presenter of ITV London's regional news programme London Tonight. He has also presented Alastair Stewart's Sunday for BBC Radio 5 in 1994. Then in 1995, he joined GMTV, where he anchored Alastair Stewart's Sunday Programme until 2001.

Stewart has also presented Police Camera Action!, which originally started in 1994, on ITV, showing video footage of examples of road crime from police cars.

Stewart was a presenter on the now defunct ITV News Channel for the 2003 Iraq War presenting a weekday programme called Live with Alastair Stewart.

He has also been a regular presence in ITV's national election coverage, co-anchoring their network coverage of the general elections of 1987, 1992, 1997 and 2005. He was the main anchor of Election Night Live: America Decides, ITV's through-the-night programme covering the 2008 US Presidential Elections.

In February 2007, he became co-presenter of the ITV Lunchtime News, replacing Nicholas Owen. The bulletin was revamped in July 2009, from which point Stewart became one of two main alternate newscasters for the programme. Also in 2007, he hosted a political programme for ITV, Moral of the Story, which aired at various late times on Sunday nights, but was decommissioned after failing to attract substantial viewing figures.

In August 2009, it was announced that he would become main co-presenter of the ITV Evening News, relinquishing his role as presenter of London Tonight. This came into effect from 7 September 2009. It was also announced simultaneously that he would be the main presenter of ITV's general election results programme in 2010.

On 15 April 2010, Stewart moderated the first ever United Kingdom political leaders debates between the Prime Ministerial candidates in the 2010 general election.

His Awards include:

  • The Face of London Award at the 2002 Royal Television Society awards.
  • Presenter of the Year Award at the 2004 Royal Television Society awards for his live coverage of the Beslan siege.
  • News presenter of the Year at the 2005 RTS awards for his ITV News Channel programme Live with Alastair Stewart.
  • Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2006 for services to broadcasting and charity.
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws in 2008 by the University of Bristol for services to broadcasting.
  • Honorary Doctorate from the University of Plymouth in September 2010
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Winchester in 2011
  • Honorary Doctorate from from the University of Sunderland in 2012.