A TV presenter has been awarded an honorary degree by Teesside University only days after he defended Middlesbrough in a vitriolic outburst on live television.

Sky Sportsf Jeff Stelling, who supports Hartlepool United, launched into a twominute tirade to defend Middlesbrough after it was voted the worst place to live in the UK by Channel 4 programme Location, Location, Location.

Mr Stelling was born in Hartlepool, named 20th worst place to live, lived in Norton, and worked in Stockton and Middlesbrough.

He has also lived in London for 20 years and now lives in Hampshire.

Speaking to The Northern Echo last night, Mr Stelling said: gAs far as I am concerned, the 20 worst areas are all in London. There are some desperate spots there.

gPeople reading the national press wonft get the full story. That is why I wanted to say it. I wanted to stick up for the good points.

gI am a North-East boy and although I do not live there any more, I feel a massive affinity for the region.

gUs people in the North-East are prepared to get our hands dirty and work hard. It is a bit rich to criticise the area.

gWhenever I go back, I get a fantastically warm welcome.h He found out about the honorary degree two months ago, and said: gIt is brilliant.

gI was never bright enough to get an ordinary degree, so it is nice to get a honorary one. To get one from the University of Teesside is extra special because it is my local university.h The accolade is in recognition of his services to journalism.

In the programme, Mr Stelling directs a regular panel of experts, which includes exprofessionals such as Matt Le Tissier, Charlie Nicholas and Phil Thompson.

He has been a well known face to Sky Sports viewers for more than a decade.

This morning, Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon is planning to turn the tables on Channel 4.

He will produce a detailed breakdown to prove that the town is not the worst place in the country to live despite the programmefs c