BBC News Fix

  • BBC News Presenter Count 2016: January - June: BBC News Channel

    Now time for the News Channel count for the first six months of 2016. Over 60 different people made appearances of the channel during this period so for all you presenter geeks out there - take a look at one of the longest lists we’ve ever made!

    (1) Martine Croxall - 106

    (2) Jane Hill - 92

    (3) Ben Brown - 88

    (4) Clive Myrie - 85

    (5) Annita McVeigh - 84

    (6) Simon McCoy - 79

    (7) Maxine Mawhinney - 48

    (8) Julian Worricker - 43

    (9) Gavin Esler - 42

    (10) Joanna Gosling - 35

    (11) Christian Fraser - 30

    (12) Rachel Schofield - 26

    (13) Nicholas Owen - 22 / Rebecca Jones - 22

    (14) Chris Rogers - 21

    (15) Shaun Ley - 20

    (16) Emily Maitlis - 9 / Huw Edwards - 9 / Gavin Grey - 9

    (17) Sophie Long - 7

    (18) David Dimbleby - 5 / Michelle Fleury - 5

    (19) Adam Parsons - 4

    (20) Tim Willcox - 3 / Mishal Husain - 3 / Reeta Chakrabarti - 3 / Carole Walker - 3

    (21) Karin Giannone - 2 / Ros Atkins - 2 / David Eades - 2 / Victoria Derbyshire - 2 / Laura Bicker - 2 / Nick Robinson - 2 / Laura Trevelyan - 2 / Stephen Nolan - 2

    (22) And the following on one appearance:

    Philippa Thomas / Norman Smith / Lucy Hockings / Geeta Guru-Murthy / Stephen Sackur / Tina Daheley / Andrew Neil / Ben Thompson / Noel Thompson / Glenn Campbell / Robert Hall / Catherine Carpenter / Evan Davis / Alpa Patel / Alice Baxter / Jeremy Vine / Sophie Raworth / Eleanor Garnier / Colin Hazelden / Anne Davies / Harry Gration / Daniela Relph / Tara Mills / Roger Johnson / Annabel Tiffin

    To take a minute to take it all in. Perhaps several … So at the top of the leaderboard we have the lovely Martine Croxall. I was quite surprised by this as doing the AM shift as I rarely have to put her in our archive myself. However, seeing as the short bit she does after the News at Ten counts as a separate shift then her unusually high position begins to make sense. Jane Hill (my favourite NC presenter) has also done pretty well this year earning herself the second place position on 92 appearances. Jane has presented a lot this year from Westminster following the aftermath of the Brexit result that few had predicted.

    The political fallout does have international implications which is why elements of the result where simulcast with BBC World News but this period of British politics has shown us the importance of the need to keep the domestic and international news channels separate. There have been suggestions that the two channels could merge but the decision to leave the European Union has highlighted the need that the two channels must continue as separate channels which their own specific audiences. Important events domestically such as the resignation of so many Shadow Cabinet ministers is not really important to international viewers but would be of interest to viewers in the UK.

    Ben Brown and Simon McCoy still perform strongly but now have to share the afternoon shift a bit which means that they are required to present slightly less often. Ben has also started to present the odd shift at the weekend. Simon has increasingly become the go-to presenter for the News at Five as well meaning that he has presented generic news bulletins slightly fewer times.

    Maxine, Julian and Gavin are following the leading pack. Maxine did a smashing job presenting solo on the day Theresa May was appointed leader. Her experience is often undervalued and underused. If you have a moment, I do recommend watching on YouTube a TED talk she does about time.

    It is a little disappointing to see that Emily Maitlis and Sophie Long have made only a few appearances this year. We always enjoy Emily’s company in the afternoon but she has spent much of the year in America reporting on the US election for Newsnight. Sophie Long has now taken up the role of news correspondent and now, unfortunately, only rarely presents.

    Reeta Chakrabarti made a few random appearances on the news channel. Given that Kate Silverton has sort of returned, I expected to see less of Reeta but that does not seem to be the case. She presents the national bulletins but I wish we could see more of her personality. I thought Reeta would have made a great Deputy Political Editor (the role going to John Pienaar) seeing as she spent over a decade covering politics. Her work during the election debates with the worm providing instant reaction to comments made me think her nickname should be The Queen of the Wormometer. Carole Walker has only made a small number of appearances so far this year but a authority and experience as a political correspondent has been highly valued more than ever this year.

    Stephen Nolan from 5 Live and BBC Northern Ireland earned a position in this year’s count after hosting two debates, one with Tara Mills. Several other regional news presenters make the count after several evening shows being simulcast on the news channel. Eleanor Garnier makes one appearance from Westminster - one to watch for the future I think. Ben Thompson also made a surprise one-off presenting the news back in May after just about managing to get his whole body on camera. Worth noting that Stephen Sackur made one appearance from Brussels as he happened to be in the city during the time the city came under attack on the 22nd March.

    After a very busy six months, the BBC News Channel has continued to perform well, deliver major breaking news and provide valuable analysis of the day’s events. One of the biggest changes we saw to the channel this year was the decision to repeat Newsnight at 2315 which is nothing more than a cost cutting exercise. The BBC says that the way we watch the news is changing and that younger viewers may which to watch Newsnight at the later timeslot. However, this argument simply doesn’t make sense as Newsnight can be watched immediately after its finished on BBC iPlayer. A disappointing decision but just another change to the daily schedule. The news channel is almost completely unrecognisable from what is was just five years ago. (But still does a smashing job… anything has got to better than Kay Burley!)

    Jack Axford


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