Bill Steel is mainly remembered as Tyne Tees Television’s chief announcer and one of the main presenters of the evening news magazine programme, Northern Life, when it started in 1976. He has also announced on various other ITV stations over the years, such as Associated Rediffusion, Thames and Border Television.
His first job at TTTV was as an assistant transmission controller and he then progressed to voiceover work, including a spell as the announcer on TTTV’s Song for the Swinging Sixties pop music show. He then took up a newsreading job at ABC Television in Manchester and Birmingham while continuing his day job during the week as a transmission controller at TTTV.
When ABC and Rediffusion merged in 1968 to form Thames Television, Bill was kept on as an announcer, working with former Tyne Tees colleague, David Hamilton. At around this time he was also asked to take on some voice only continuity at Tyne Tees, present the nightly news magazine programme, Today at Six and was also offered a job as breakfast show DJ on the North East’s new commercial radio station, Metro Radio.
A very busy man, Bill at this stage was forced to give up advertising voiceover work and his transmission control job to concentrate on the other elements of his successful broadcasting career. After his news contract ended, he moved over to continuity and took over from Neville Wanless as chief announcer in 1988.
He left Tyne Tees in 1996 and since then has developed his acting career — in 1997 he joined Coronation Street briefly as Bernard McKenna. He was also a presenter on Century Radio and a director of a local media training company.