RTS Regional Presenter of the Year Harry Gration looks back at a year in regional news, and celebrates his second national RTS win.
“I love this business” beams Harry Gration. “I’ve been to nine Olympic Games. I’ve been all around the world to cover BBC Sport.”
Gration is one of the old campaigners, with almost 40 years of broadcasting under his belt.
“I never really envisaged that I’d end up presenting a television programme as I do every night. It happened as a dream and it has turned into a reality.”
The RTS award win is Gration’s second in the category, having won first in 2015. “It’s beyond expectation to be honest. You tend to get these once in a lifetime.”
“The fact that I have been nominated means as much to me as anything. It’s a fantastic night of being able to say ‘hey, these people are at the top of their game’, and to say maybe you are yourself – just for one night anyway.”
Sport was Gration’s way into television, with a job on the BBC’s Grandstand. “I was working Monday to Friday on Look North, then Grandstand at the weekends. I did that for about 15 years.”
“Those were the halcyon days as far as I was concerned. It was quite tiring but boy, was it worth it!”
But Yorkshire is where Harry belongs, and after four years of “missionary work” at BBC South Today, Gration headed back up the country to Leeds.
“Do you go back to where you were successful before?” he reflects. “It was a bit of a gamble, but one which has paid off really well.”
“I think many people identify me with Yorkshire. It’s something I am very proud of.”
It was that connection to the county that he thinks earned him a nomination this year. After MP Jo Cox was murdered in the lead up to the European Union referendum, Gration was one of the first journalists on the scene.
“That was the biggest story I’ve ever covered,” Gration remembers. “It was almost unbelievable. It reminded me of a story I had a couple of years before when a teacher was shot in Leeds, Ann Maguire.”
“Because I know that patch very well it helped me to keep a calm perspective about it.”
It is clear that Gration feels a great affection for the region. “It’s my dream job to be able to tell you the news about Yorkshire. If you chat with [fellow nominee] Duncan Wood, it’s a passion that keeps growing day after day.”
“It’s had a great career, and I’ll continue to do it until the time comes when the boss says to me ‘No more dribbling on air Harry. It’s time to go…’”
The RTS Television Journalism Awards take place at the London Hilton on Park Lane on 1 March 2017.