BBC News Fix

  • BBC News Presenter Count 2016: January – June: BBC Business Live

    There’s something inherently lazy about my attitude as a uni student in the offseason. I pledged to write these half-time counts at the beginning of July, and here we are a day away from tipping into August. Anyway, down to business – fitting, really, as the endless amount of writing I’m prepared to commit myself to this arvo begins with a close look at BBC Business Live. Sure, I still miss Simon McCoy in the mornings – there’s something deeply exciting about Breakfast handing over to the News Channel for proper news coverage at 8.30am, rather than Victoria Derbyshire at 9 where… well, the morning news is delivered in less bombastic, dramatic Sky-News fashion and more like afterthoughts you’d hear reported on Loose Women… Sorry, Annita McVeigh.

    Anyway, where were we? Ah yes. Business Live. This show has really made a name for itself, thanks to countless promos and the fact that we are living in a world where Brexit is code for The End of Days, Philip Hammond is Chancellor, markets are going Merckel minus the lovely American guy reassuring us from The Big Bank (I’ve been there! Know how to rob it!) and… well, Donald Trump is clearly grooming that hairdo of his for president. What does this all mean? Essentially this: being Ben Thompson and Sally Bundock must be fun, if not tiring. And Business Live is, yes, intense viewing. If only it were serialised and they left off with an inspired EastEnders doof-doof before the weather. On an entirely related note, here’s the count for the last six months:

    (1) Sally Bundock – 85

    (2) Ben Thompson – 73

    (3) Aaron Heslehurst – 24

    (4) Victoria Fritz – 21

    (5) Alice Baxter – 10

    (6) Maryam Moshiri – 5

    (7) Jamie Robertson – 3

    Rachel Horne – 3

    (8) Susannah Streeter – 2

    Ben Bland – 2

    OK, it’s impressive that Bundock and Thompson have matched their 2015 statistics before we even begin leg two of the 2016 run, and I’m not even naming that fact as the most significant to withdraw from this count. It’s clear that these two sealed the full-time gig, minus their other commitments, because they, like McCoy and Gracie as a news-reading companionship, formed a partnership that could tackle anything “live” and business-ey head-on. Under no means am I here to review the standards and presenting quality of all the shows on the BBC News Channel right now, but it’s clear that behind the scenes when you’ve got Sally and Benjamino in the house, that’s the pair you go with. Heslehurst’s count is high, if not a little too high, for the booming Aussie voice we are gifted with each Friday morn. Alas, with the charming, refreshingly professional Fritz by his side, it works and I’m always glad to see these two prime subs used as holiday cover. Fritz, especially, is even carving out a nice role on Breakfast as an anchor. The rest of the bench are expected names, nobody missing as far as my hazy eyes can see. I’d like more of Moshiri, who could bring enough spice with Thompson on the right day. Baxter, again, is strong, and I’m glad she’s sitting comfortably in fifth, but from these figures it appears the producers are set on that top four team being rotated quite easily around, meaning hopefuls like Streeter and Bland get lost in the shuffle. In a climate as hot as the economic one right now (or cold, whichever way you look at it), the pros that are making the show work as well as it is surely want to do their job and present to us the terrifying economic news at the top of every day’s business. It’s a hot slot, and there’s some hot people on the bench. Just it’s obvious the manager is clear on who he’s putting out on the field to do the day’s game, and that’s the stars who are making Business Live shine.

    Tom’s tip for the future: Why not give Kamal Ahmed and Simon Jack some days to try out this show? That would be fascinating. Oh, and Tanya Beckett (Radio 4 Today’s genius) and Steph McGovern could be some inspired choices, too, especially McGovern…

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s weekend resident


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