Steve Hewlett, who died aged 58, was in many ways the journalists’ journalist.
Large and crumpled in appearance, looking askance at the world through badly treated glasses, Steve resembled a character from the pages of Michael Frayn. It was no surprise to learn than Steve was a rugby player.
The public knew him as the presenter of Radio 4’s Media Show and latterly for describing in moving detail the progress of his own cancer that finally killed him on February 20.
Steve’s weekly columns for The Guardian were a must-read and he was a welcome contributor to the RTS’ Television magazine.
Steve was brought up by adopted parents, Lawrence and Vera Hewlett. He went to grammar school in Solihull, in the West Midlands before attending Manchester University where as a student activist he helped organise a rent strike.
As an aspiring journalist he sold stories to the BBC, but when Nationwide’s editor, Roger Bolton, offered him a job Steve caught the eye of the corporation’s infamous Brigadier Ronnie Stonham, the Beeb’s in-house spook.
Bolton somehow over rode the MI5 man’s objections and Steve’s career was up and running.
Steve was part of the team that made the radical Channel 4 current affairs shows, The Friday Alternative and Diverse Reports, both accused of left-wing bias.
In 1987 he returned to the BBC making hard-hitting investigative programmes for Brass Tacks and famously Panorama, where he edited the sensational interview with Princess Diana.
The show was watched by an astonishing 23 million people and precipitated a clash between the then BBC chairman, Marmaduke Hussey, and director-general John Birt.
Hussey’s wife, Susan, was a lady-in-waiting to the Queen, but Birt kept the chairman in the dark about the programme until it became public knowledge.
Steve loved upsetting apple carts. He was in line to become the next controller of BBC One but was beaten to the job by Peter Salmon.
Steve is survived by his wife, Rachel Crellin, whom he married weeks before his death, and his three sons, Freddie, Billy and Bertie, by his former partner Karole Lange.
Steve Hewlett, journalist and broadcaster, born 8th August 1958, died 20th February 2017