A special tribute programme has been made for popular BBC Tees presenter and football commentator Ali Brownlee.
Ali, who was known as “the voice of the Boro”, died last week aged 56 after a short illness. His death has triggered an outpouring of grief across Teesside.
He commentated on Middlesbrough football club for BBC Tees and also hosted the station’s popular breakfast programme.
A special tribute show, titled ‘The Voice of the Boro’, will air today (Thursday February 25) at 6pm – hours after Ali’s funeral.
The one-hour show will celebrate Ali’s 33 years commentating on Middlesbrough FC including reflections and memories from a host of friends and colleagues plus highlights from Ali’s extraordinary career. It will be presented by BBC Tees Sport’s Paul Addison.
Ali died on February 14, three months after being diagnosed with cancer. Tributes to him have poured in from across the world. On Tuesday evening, Middlesbrough fans at the Riverside Stadium held a minute’s applause before the start of the cub’s match against Cardiff.
Comedian Bob Mortimer and BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern have joined those paying tribute to Ali.
The BBC Tees programme will follow Ali’s career looking at some of his most memorable moments on air including commentating on the club’s historic League Cup win in 2004 and the UEFA Cup run. It will include contributions from former Middlesbrough players Bernie Slaven, Craig Hignett and Gary Gill who also regularly worked with Ali as summarisers on Middlesbrough matches. There will also be an archive clip from Boro legend, John Hickton.
The current Hartlepool United manager, Craig Hignett, paid tribute to Ali on social media last week, remembering his time working as part of the BBC Tees commentary team. He said: “I would sit in awe sometimes just watching him work and smile at his unwavering optimism and fierce loyalty for his beloved Boro, his enthusiasm was infectious, how couldn’t it be! He called me ‘Hero’ but the truth was HE was my ‘Hero’ and always will be….”
Other contributors to the special tribute programme include the editor of the Northern Echo Peter Barron, the Deputy Chief Constable of Cleveland Police Ian Spittal and Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald MP.
Northern Echo Editor, Peter Barron was a friend of Ali’s and was also a regular guest on his show. On hearing the news about Ali last week he said: “He gave credit so generously, made time for everyone, and had a gift for making the people of Teesside feel good about themselves. I can honestly say he was one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and I’ll miss our daily encounters on the airwaves enormously.”