BBC News Fix

  • BBC News Presenter Count 2016: January – June: BBC News at One

    *I put my hand up like an eager student in the classroom.* “Ask me, Miss, I have a really good question, actually two…” Everyone gets chills from the fact that I, Tom Scudamore, am getting quizzical. They should release a song parodying Olivia Newton John’s Physical to that. Oh, and here’s a reveal: I asked an MP a two minute question once.

    Right: First of all, “Does anyone actually watch the Lunchtime News?” I used to, but that’s because mum always was going to watch the soap Neighbours that, yes, existed on BBC One in the Noughties. The days of Anna Jones fronting this bulletin, eh? I mean… that first question I ask has relevance. The BBC News at One has been an institution forever, but its quality and significance to the day’s events must feel a little underwhelming if you’re in it, right? One o’clock is a hot stop for us all, newsy or not, to check in with our cast of correspondents often at Westminster or Brussels. And you know why. BREXIT. Often the lunchtime show also reports a bunch of seriously bonkers court cases with some real scary stories tucked away from the law department in the BBC Newsroom. That’s probably what I find most interesting to hear from Reeta Chakrabarti every other day, if we’re going out on an all-honesty policy.

    My point? The format of the BBC News at One just doesn’t suit the significance of the day’s events as they have been unfolding the way they have since Brexit. People should be flocking to the lunchtime bulletin that gives the BBC NC producers a half-hour break to sort their agenda. Maybe people are flocking but… the insular, studio-prioritised run-down of stories lacks the bite and attention the Six with Georgy garners every night. Perhaps it’s the people. Which brings me onto question number deux:

    “How come, even though the stats are going to suggest otherwise, there isn’t a Huw or George on the News at One, who people recognise as The One on The One. Get it?!” This used to be Sophie Raworth’s gig. As you’re about to find out, it kinda still is. Yet this show has been in transition for years and I’m blaming Kate Silverton for disappearing. This is a show where anyone from the BBC could show up to host. Seriously, you may as well invite Alexander Armstrong to join the list below. It really is like Have I Got News for You, or more realistically Victoria Derbyshire, where Norman Smith of all people gets to lose the tie and ride for a swimming two hours of live action. Fun stuff but again, my point? Budget cuts. People. The News at One’s significance.

    In my laziness watching the show, this just isn’t the hot half-hour I want and for my tips you can read below. If the BBC are invested in this bulletin they’d make it even more exclusive than the random choice of presenter everyday which, more often than you think, is a reader borrowed from the News Channel’s afternoon shift. For formatting revolutionary policy: I just don’t know how they’re going to transform the lunchtime news into Ten territory, but I’d like them to. And after saying all this… here’s the Count.

    (1) Sophie Raworth – 46

    (2) Gavin Esler – 41

    (3) Reeta Chakrabarti – 40

    (4) Simon McCoy – 19

    (5) Jane Hill – 17

    (6) Ben Brown – 10

    (7) Kate Silverton – 8

    (8) Maxine Mawhinney – 4

    Christian Fraser – 4

    (9) Nicholas Owen – 2

    Annita McVeigh – 2

    Clive Myrie – 2

    Shaun Ley – 2

    (10) Rachel Schofield – 1

    Nicholas Witchell – 1

    Deep breath, count to… One. OK, it’s clear that going forward Sophie Raworth is the chosen one, but only by a snatch. Seriously, folks, Reeta’s fair game for this programme and my doubts in the past about her have been overridden – because she’s been given a chance. The fact that I could see Reeta and Sophie switching places cuts real deep to my issue: that One is almost becoming an audition pit for the BBC’s future Sophie Raworth, and Raworth just isn’t checking in as much as I’d like her to. Where are the days of her owning it?! I appreciate she deputises the Six but… McCoy, Hill, Brown on location, even Silverton (hooray): that’s teamwork, and the teamwork thing doesn’t make me feel any more confident about the future for this essential piece of television. In the hour of news from Westminster breaking and, yes, court case outcomes occurring, either Chakrabarti climbs to the dizzyingly-committed heights of Gavin Esler on his weekend version or the BBC lose all dignity for not making a switch even I am anticipating. It’s a weird way to look at things but seeing the Count forces this analysis: unless they return to the regular Monday/Tuesday-Friday gigs, the Count will remain as bizarre and all-over-the-place as it currently sits. Seriously, you could move McCoy into the One full-time and he’d have a higher count than Raworth’s 46 right now. Speaking of which, is that her age? Cos she’s, as ever, looking beautiful. Yes, another Scudamore newsreader crush.

    Worthy mentions: Ley, Schofield and Witchell, having benefitted from the New Year rotas and royal occasions, respectively. And Myrie! A daring guy planting his name all over our house of numbers. I ain’t gonna even consider him for this gig, which he used to reside in much more than his count here shows. (See last year.)

    Tom’s tips: Either Raworth returns full-time or Chakrabarti gets the spot permanently. Silverton should be back on Mondays by now, I sincerely miss her presence during the day. What is her deal with the BBC having come back from maternity, eh? That reminds me: Silverton on Derbyshire – thoughts? Anyway, you get the jist. The other solution: when McCoy calls it a day on the afternoon shift which he is losing regularity on, this will be his reward.

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s nerdy question-asking weirdo


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