Weatherman Bob makes final forecast

A POPULAR TV weatherman has hung up his barometer after completing his final forecast.

Much-loved Bob Johnson has graced TV screens as the face of ITV Tyne Tees's North East Tonight weather slot for nearly 20 years.

Last night he completed his final forecast live from Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland in a special Christmas edition of the programme.

Johnson is retiring after a distinguished career in the Met Office and with North East Tonight.

During his 17 years with the regional broadcaster Johnson, 65, enlivened the forecasts with his anagrams and hidden messages in his forecasts.

He also introduced certain non-meteorological phrases such as "skitey bits".

Graeme Thompson, regional director of Tyne Tees and Border, said: "Many presenters are held in great affection by viewers.

"But it is rare to find someone who is genuinely loved by the audience. But that's Bob.

"After years of being on the television and visiting schools and community groups the length and breadth of the region, he has become one of the most instantly recognisable and treasured personalities in the North East.

"Everyone at Tyne Tees wishes him a long and happy retirement."

Johnson's replacement as weather presenter will be announced over the next couple of weeks.

He started his career with the Met Office as a weather observer and latterly a forecaster, working at airports around the country.

Then he was posted to the Persian Gulf but while he was driving all his possessions home to Scotland, Johnson crashed on the A1 near Morpeth.

"I woke up four days later in hospital in Newcastle and met my wife Joan in intensive care," he said. "She was a sister on the ward."

They married, lived in Scotland and later in Germany where Johnson spent seven years measuring the weather for the Armed Forces. Joan eventually tempted Johnson back to the North East.

Johnson's break into TV came in 1991 while he was working for the Met Office in Newcastle. He was interviewed by Tyne Tees and the rest is history.

For much of his time at the North East broadcaster he was teamed with North East Tonight host Mike Neville and the pair remained friends after Mike retired two years ago.

North East Tonight viewers will continue to see Johnson in the New Year when he hosts his series of Kids Talk features.