Harry Gration reveals he was hospitalised with pneumonia while shielding during lockdown

BBC Look North's departing presenter Harry Gration has revealed that he was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia during the summer.

Harry Gration
Harry Gration

Although the illness was not related to Covid-19, he was taken to St James's Hospital in Leeds while shielding due to an undisclosed health condition which saw him absent from the programme for a period during the spring and summer.

Gration, 69, last week confirmed he would retire from BBC Look North due to cuts which mean that local news programmes will only have one presenter in future. He had spent 42 years with the BBC.

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At the weekend he gave an interview to The Daily Telegraph in which he revealed that retirement had been a relatively easy decision, as his co-anchor Amy Garcia, 40, has a young family to support.

However, he hinted that many of his former colleagues would depart the BBC in the coming weeks, and that there had been a 'serious cull' of staff.

During his time off air earlier this year, he admits feeling unhappy as he realised that the BBC could 'carry on without me'. After being discharged after five days on a hospital ward, he returned to the Look North studios the very same day.

Other topics touched upon in the interview include the north-south divide and diversity in the television industry. Gration acknowledges that as a white man, he may not have been given the opportunities he enjoyed earlier in his career if he was joining the BBC today, but says he feels 'no resentment' that the culture has changed across businesses.

He also speaks passionately about what he sees as 'chronic underinvestment' in the north, which he has felt strongly about since his days reporting on the miners' strike in the 1980s. He believes the decision to relax lockdown rules during the summer was a 'London-centric one' that did not take into account the situation in the north.

Finally, Gration reiterated that he is not retiring completely and is open to new projects - though he will enjoy more time at home with his one-year-old son Hamilton, whom he plans to take on trips to the National Railway Museum near their home in York.

His final appearance on Look North will be on Wednesday October 21.