Magnus Magnusson a friend of fishing and the Humber –

Magnus Magnusson a friend of fishing and the Humber Published:  08 January, 2007

Magnus Magnusson

TOP TV celebrity Magnus Magnusson, who has died after a battle against cancer had a long association with the Humber and its fishing industry.He made a number of visits to both Grimsby and Hull during the 1970s and 1980s to promote Icelandic fish and to try to heal wounds left after the effects of the Cod War.

A friend of the late John Olgeirsson, a Grimsby fishing executive and the Icelandic Vice Consul on the Humber for many years, the 77-year-old iconic figure of Mastermind, used his visits to urge a new relationship to be established between British fishing communities and Iceland, and called for Icelandic investment on the Humber. He was also friendly with a number of Hull and Grimsby fishing industry chiefs.

Magnus Magnusson was born in Iceland in 1929 and moved to Scotland as a baby when his father was appointed European manager of the Icelandic Co-Op. His father subsequently became Iceland’s consul-general in Scotland and the family settled there. Magnus Magnusson was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Jesus College, Oxford, before joining the Scottish Daily Express as a reporter.

He rose to become the paper’s assistant editor and went on to join to The Scotsman, where he was also assistant editor. At the same time, he began to take on occasional work on radio and television. After joining the BBC, as a presenter on the Tonight programme in 1964, Magnus Magnusson fronted many other programmes, mainly associated with his interest in history, archaeology and the environment. He was also know to be concerned about over fishing and the state of fish stocks in northern waters.

They included Chronicle, The Archaeology of the Bible Lands, Vikings! and Birds for All Seasons. His interest in ornithology went back to his schooldays, when, at 14, he won a gold medal from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for an essay on the mating habits of the blackbird. More than 40 years later he was to become resident of that society. He presented his first Mastermind programme in 1972, and went on to host it for 25 years. Magnus Magnusson was a prolific author, with books on the Vikings, archaeology, Ireland and Scotland, and translations of early Icelandic literature. His work for Scotland brought him an honorary knighthood in 1989 and, in 2002, he became Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University. He is survived by his wife Mamie, to whom he was married for 52 years, and his four children, Sally, a TV presenter in her own right, Margaret, Anna and Jon. His elder son Siggy died in 1973. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.