TRIBUTES have been paid to North-East broadcaster Alastair Pirrie, who has died aged 62.

Pirrie, from Stockton, started his career in the Tyne Tees newsroom and went on to present several programmes on Tyne Tees and national television in the late 1970s and 1980s.

He is best known as a presenter of the music series Razzmatazz, which ran for six years. He became known for his energetic and madcap presenting style on the show, which features some of the biggest names in 1980's pop.

He was also one of the presenting team on Saturday Shake-Up, a children's Saturday morning programme.

Fellow broadcaster Paul Frost, who went to school with Pirrie paid tribute to 'a real star'.

He said: "People say he was ahead of his time and he certainly was. In the newsroom he was a rough diamond – they took that diamond out, they polished it up and he became a real star of TV. He will be sadly missed."

Razzmatazz producer Royston Mayoh said: "Like so many people who benefitted from his genius at Tyne Tees, I am in bits over it.

"I adored the man and although I haven't seen him for 20 years feel right now that I have lost a brother and best friend.

"I can't believe he's dead , he was only a lad"

Entertainer Clive Webb from Sunderland, who appeared with Pirrie on Razzmatazz, added: "So sorry to hear this. Had so many good times and laughs with Ali. He was a one off a wonderful guy."

Former Radio Tees presenter John Pierce added: "Deeply saddened to hear that the hugely talented, entertaining life force that was Alastair Pirrie has died.

"Alastair was a great friend to me for years back then and directly responsible for me having a career in radio.

"I used to drop in on his afternoon show, as a guest, when I worked at the Dovecot Arts Centre and he would randomly introduce me as a record breaking Icelandic fisherman, or some other such random pythonesque nonsense. I would then do my best to improvise along with it as he tried to trip me up and collapsed in mirth behind the mic."

He added: "Thank you Alistair for the introduction to how radio worked, for the enduring memories and for making radio work so well for so many people with your boundless creativity. Condolences to all your family and friends. Goodbye and RIP."