Alan Towers, the main presenter of the BBC's Midlands news flagship for nearly two decades, has died.

Mr Towers died at his home in Warwickshire on Saturday. He was 83. The main presenter of BBC TV's Midlands Today through the 1970s and 80s, he left the corporation with a stinging attack on management, describing them in his on-air resignation as "pygmies".

He shot to fame on the BBC's Nationwide programme in the 1970s with a story about a skateboarding duck and took part in several hair-raising ventures, including a televised parachute jump in which he broke his ankle, as well as fronting the regional news.

However he became increasingly disillusioned by management and when he resigned on air said: "When I joined the corporation it was led by giants. Now I'm afraid it's led by pygmies in grey suits."

A keen charity fundraiser, Mr Towers, who had two heart attacks and a triple bypass, raised money walking the Great Wall of China and riding on a motorbike across Canada, saying he just wanted "to put a little bit back".

His friend and co-presenter for many years, Kay Alexander, said it was a "privilege" to have known him.

She said: "He was kind. He was warm. He was fun. He was very brilliant and very intelligent, but he was completely barmy at times as well. "I shall always be glad that he was my friend."

Midlands Today editor Chas Watkin said he was "a larger than life character on and off screen and we'll never see his like again".