Nine News has celebrated Melbourne newsreader Peter Hitchener‘s 70th birthday with a pre-weekend bash — culminating in the GTV Nine newsroom being permanently named “The Peter Hitchener Newsroom”.
The plaque that marks the unique honour is engraved with the tribute — “the nicest man in television”.
Hitchener started his career in Queensland in the 1960s before moving to Sydney in 1973, initially at the ABC before switching over to TCN9.
In his early days at Nine, as well as working as a fill-in newsreader, he hosted a game show, Gambit, with Ros Wood. The show became a ratings hit at 6.00pm in Sydney and even drew decent figures in Melbourne, where GTV9 scheduled it in mid-afternoons.
Hitchener then came further south, to GTV9, in 1974. After a stint co-anchoring the news with Eric Pearce and over the short-lived News Centre 9 link-up with Brian Henderson in Sydney, he went on to become deputy newsreader to Brian Naylor for twenty years, before being promoted to chief newsreader following Naylor’s retirement in 1998.
Nine News closed last night’s bulletin with a wrap up of the birthday celebration:
And to help celebrate his 70th birthday, a few flashbacks — starting with Hitchener making friends with a grizzly bear at the visiting Great Moscow Circus in Brisbane:
Source: TV Week, 8 June 1968. TV Week, 11 May 1974. TV Week, 13 July 1974. TV Week, 31 January 1976.