Rageh Omaar’s ITV colleagues ‘question’ why sick new presenter was allowed on air

The presenter is believed to have suffered a suspected mini-stroke on air

Emma Guinness
Monday 29 April 2024 15:47 BST
ITV News presenter ‘receiving medical care’ after becoming ‘unwell’ live on-air

Rageh Omaar’s ITV colleagues have “questioned” why the news presenter was allowed on air while clearly suffering a medical event.

The veteran presenter, 56, had a suspected mini stroke while presenting News At Ten on Friday (26 April).

While the broadcaster claims that an attempt was made to take Omaar off air, he was allowed to continue after insisting that he could finish his work on the 30-minute programme.

In shocking footage, Omaar could be seen bravely trying to do his job while looking pained and struggling with the auto-cue.

The broadcaster subsequently issued a statement on Saturday (27 April) following viewer concerns, revealing that the presenter had received treatment in hospital and was now recovering at home.

According to The Times, ITV staff members are not happy with how the situation played out, with an insider telling the outlet: “There are big questions about why he was allowed to go on air.”

“Perhaps they thought, ‘He is a pro and the adrenaline will kick in when he gets on air.’ Even if you think that he was just having an off day, you don’t need a medical degree to see that it was clear when you watched that something was seriously wrong.”

Clips of the programme were posted to social media by concerned viewers
Clips of the programme were posted to social media by concerned viewers (ITV / screengrab)

Concerns are now being raised that appropriate safeguarding action won’t be taken because Omaar took responsibility for the situation himself.

The insider added: “It is true that they were trying to get him to come off air but someone needs to be able overrule the presenters when there is a medical emergency.

“The worry is that because he refused to get out of the chair and is taking responsibility for the situation himself, nothing will be done. That’s why people are ­upset.

“There is this old-fashioned mentality that the show must go on – which is just crazy. We need to look at what happened and make sure that swift and decisive action is taken if anything like this happens again in the future.”

Viewers were so concerned, in fact, that one stroke nurse reportedly got in touch with the broadcaster to share her concerns about what might have been happening to the presenter.

Rageh Omaar is responsible for covering major news stories across the world for ITV (Yui Mok/PA)
Rageh Omaar is responsible for covering major news stories across the world for ITV (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

Nick Owen, 76, questioned whether those working at ITV could have done more to help Omaar.

“Perhaps my dear colleagues might have stepped in and just insisted he step back,” the former presenter told GB News.

In a statement shared by ITV News, Omaar said: “I would like to thank everyone for their kindness and good wishes, especially all the medical staff, all my wonderful colleagues at ITV News, and our viewers who expressed concern.

“At the time, I was determined to finish presenting the programme. I am grateful for all the support I’ve been given.”

The presenter is currently off air and will remain so until he “feels ready” to return to work. Close friends have said he is “up and about at home at doing OK”.

ITV News bosses told The Independent that they did not know Omaar was sick before he went on air.

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