March 22, 2018
Award-winning journalist radio broadcaster, producer, director and TV presenter, Christopher Morris hosted a lecture at St Albans School on Tuesday 21 March 2018, sharing career highlights with a packed audience which included parents, Old Albanians and the local community. The talk was followed by a Q&A session.
Morris reported from 120 countries during his career and interviewed presidents, prime ministers and spies, covering sixteen wars and his narrow escape from a minefield, during the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
Christopher joined the Luton News as a proof reader at the age of 15. After five years as an apprentice training as a news reporter and writing regular weekly columns reviewing films, jazz and pop records, he joined the Daily Sketch, where he was the youngest reporter in Fleet Street. Some five years later he set up a British freelance news agency in Spain, then under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
In 1966, Franco ordered Christopher to be expelled after he broke the story to the world of the worst nuclear accident in America’s military history when a US Air Force B-52 on a Strategic Air Command patrol at the height of the Cold War was involved in a mid-air collision with a refuelling aircraft.
In 1972 Christopher returned to London and joined the BBC staff, only to be sent back to Spain to report on the assassination of Franco’s chosen successor, Deputy Prime Minister Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, by the Basque terrorist group ETA and then on Franco’s own death and funeral.
Among many major stories he reported for BBC TV News was the world’s worst oil tanker spill off the Brittany coast in France, when the Amoco Cadiz split in two, and the car bomb explosion at the Houses of Parliament in London that killed Airey Neave, Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary and war hero, the first British prisoner to escape from Colditz.
Throughout the Falkland Islands conflict Morris was in Buenos Aires, one of only a handful of British journalists allowed into Argentina to report from the enemy side during a war.
While at BBC TV News, he was the newsreader on the day Lord Mountbatten was murdered by the IRA. The audience that night of 26 million is still the record for a British TV news bulletin as ITN was on strike.
Morris also produced and directed documentaries on one of Britain’s most distinguished actors, Sir John Mills: A Century in Films, in his last interview just before he died and another, Kate Winslet: Starmaker to Superstar, about the career of the Oscar-winning actress. Morris is also the author of a best-selling book The Day They Lost The H Bomb about the 1966 US military disaster in Spain. In his last OmniVision documentary, The Curse of America’s H Bombs, he re-visited Palomares to assess the continuing radioactive fall-out from the nuclear accident.