BNF

BBC News Fix

  • Simon Jack announced as BBC’s new Business Editor

    It was announced this week that Simon Jack has been appointed the BBC’s new business editor.

    Jack currently presents the business and economics news on the Today programme and previously worked on BBC Breakfast. He will replace Kamal Ahmed who has became economics editor earlier this year after Robert Peston jumped ship to be the ITV’s new political editor.

    Director of BBC News and Current Affairs James Harding says, “I’m delighted to announce that Simon Jack is appointed the BBC’s Business Editor. As listeners to the Today programme know well, Simon is a forensic interrogator of business, and respected by business leaders for his command of the issues. A banking analyst-turned-broadcaster, Simon’s financial judgement and pithy turn of phrase will no doubt serve him well in telling, breaking and explaining the business stories that matter so much to us all.”

    Simon Jack says, “I'm very excited about taking on this role and building on the great work done by Robert Peston and Kamal Ahmed before me in bringing the most important business stories to BBC audiences across all our TV, radio and digital platforms. Business organisations, institutions and individuals play a major part in all of our lives and that makes good business journalism extremely important. It’s a challenge I'm looking forward to enormously.”

    Simon’s appointment to the role does not come as much surprise and it was nice to see the BBC choosing an internal candidate who already has significant broadcasting experience. Peston and Ahmed both came from print backgrounds before joining the BBC. I suspect that because Simon is already part of the business and economics unit he will move into his new role quite soon indeed.

    This does unfortunately mean that we will no longer hear him in the mornings. Tanya Beckett often fills in so we may hear more of her. I would love to hear Jamie Robertson on Today - wouldn’t he be a magnificent replacement?

    Jack Axford

    Co-editor, BNF

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  • BBC News Presenter Count 2015: BBC News Channel

    (1) Ben Brown – 187

    (2) Annita McVeigh – 178

    (3) Simon McCoy – 177

    (4) Martine Croxall – 150

    (5) Jane Hill – 123

    (6) Chris Rogers – 115

    (7) Julian Worricker – 100

    (8) Joanna Gosling – 95

    (9) Tim Willcox – 84

    (10) Gavin Esler – 78

    (11) Maxine Mawhinney – 76

    (12) Rebecca Jones – 68

    (13) Christian Fraser – 67

    (14) Nicholas Owen – 50

    (15) Chris Eakin – 59

    (16) Sophie Long – 47

    (17) Rachel Schofield – 42

    (18) Carole Walker – 37

    Emily Maitlis – 37

    (19) Gavin Grey – 34

    (20) Shaun Ley – 23

    (21) Lyse Doucet – 13

    (22) Adam Parsons 12

    (23) Philippa Thomas – 9

    (24) Huw Edwards – 7

    Karin Giannone – 7

    (25) Ros Atkins – 6

    Norman Smith – 6

    (26) David Eades – 5

    (27) Lucy Hockings – 4

    Jon Kay – 4

    David Dimbleby – 4

    (28) Jo Coburn – 3

    Matthew Price – 3

    Geeta Guru-Murphy – 3

    (29) Babita Sharma – 2

    Daniela Ritorto – 2

    Stephen Sackur – 2

    Vicki Young – 2

    Chris Smith – 2

    Tina Daheley – 2

    Nicholas Witchell – 2

    Jon Brain – 2

    Andrew Neil – 2

    (30) Adnan Nawaz – 1

    Aaron Heslehurst – 1

    Mishal Husain – 1

    Peter Dobbie – 1

    Ross Hawkins – 1

    Glenn Campbell – 1

    Noel Thompson – 1

    Robert Hall – 1

    Sabet Choudhury – 1

    Alex Lovell – 1

    James Longman – 1

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  • BBC News Presenter Count 2015: The Today Programme

    “The six o’clock pips sound across the nation. The red lights flash and the studio blinks to life and the familiar old juices stir. Three hours of live broadcasting lie ahead with an audience of millions leaning on our every word. Three hours in which to wield (if Jonathan Aitken will forgive the plagiarism) the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play. Three hours to educate the audience with stuff they didn’t even know they wanted to know and to enrich the democratic process by giving them information they will store away, the better to make a wise choice at the ballot box when next called upon. And to do it all in an entertaining way.” – John Humphrys, old bloke who’s still getting up early every ruddy morning, celebrating a bonkers count of years on that radio show.

    Is listening to BBC Radio 4 a pretentious activity for a young person to engage in, nowadays? Is what my grandfather, a lovely man who reads the Telegraph way too thoroughly (crosswords and all), asked me at Christmas. I was speechless, but that’s wholeheartedly because I’d lost my voice just a few hours earlier. Speech and conversation with gramps is a laugh, just don’t play Michael Bublé when he’s around.

    I’m a great fan of the Today programme and it’s actually thanks to my learned (screw it, awesome) colleague and buddy at BNF, Jack Axford, that this count has been… counted. I mean, a breakfast show with five presenters keeping it going six mornings a week? (With the help of two journalists this year, the cheats.) It’s an opportunity neither of us could refuse and if keeping the score of who’s pairing up with who every crack of dawn isn’t enough, I’d say the show is actually an interesting listen, too – that's if you’re still awake by the time the business news with Simon Jack is airing, having not dozed off back to the perils of a nightmare featuring George Osborne and Schrödinger's cat. (At this point I’m in the garden, watering my plants. Whether I’m taking the piss or not is up to you. And the fact that I’ve made such a remark should give you a clue. Hey, I’m a poet.) Some things I take serious note of, though. Like I swear Teresa May is the 8:10 interview guest every other morning. I’m pretty sure, also, that Nick Robinson’s voice, bless the guy, was much more game for a radio show than I was come the festive celebrations because ha, ironically, (big Scudamore life reveal here): I used to present on the radio. Check out my repertoire if you dare.

    Anyway, last year on Today (I laugh while I type this – with such a title for a show, cue many puns and nonsensical sentences): John Humphrys, the distinguished host of Mastermind and all-round elderly gent as the Katniss Everdeen of such an institution like Today, beat his fellow hosts to claiming the undisputed prize of waking up at 4am most with 135 appearances. (Long sentence, I know, but I’m trying to capture the long-winded tenure of the guy.) Justin Webb was runner-up with 121, with Sarah Montague lagging closely behind with 115 and Mishal Husain taking fourth spot on 92. James Naughtie, roving reporter for 2014 covering the pointless Scottish referendum and election tidings, took a year out as it were with 73. Such a waste of petrol.

    Here’s this year’s statistics:

    (1) Justin Webb – 133

    (2) Sarah Montague – 124

    John Humphrys – 124

    (3) James Naughtie – 122

    (4) Mishal Husain – 98

    (5) Nick Robinson – 15

    (6) Matthew Price – 7

    (7) Simon Jack – 1

    Leaping lizard, great Scot, I say and goodness gracious me! Webb triumphs and takes the trophy with an honourable 133 mornings on Today, which is an interesting win given that a few years ago the former North America editor for BBC News had a medical setback, hindering his average of 3 appearances every week. The fact that Webb and Montague, who don’t have any other BBC commitments, rank so highly each year alongside Humphrys (whose count this year is beginning to show that his century-long retirement has, indeed, begun) is telling and, for me, as an unpronounced feminist I’m glad Montague got more time to shine in an amazing year for news – which is great, considering how much schtick she gets for her interviewing style. Really, the Guardian? Moreover, it's wonderful that Humphrys and Montague, as the longest-serving hosts going into 2016, can share the silver spotlight. A shame they can't agree on the studio temperature, though.

    I am confuddled, however, as to why for the second year in what I hope to be a long tenure for her, Husain doesn’t step over the 100 mark which is, as everyone knows (haha, shrieks with nervous laughter), the thing every Today host wants to dance and celebrate in achieving. She came close, I'll say that. Looking at the ratios, either five presenters can all share a low count of 100 roughly each year or, as our statistics for 2014/15 have shown, four take a meaty load of the work (it was the best metaphor I could come up with) and one (Husain) sits back. Husain is my absolute favourite voice on Today and, as one retired BBC Director General called her, is “one to watch”… which is ironic… given that she’s on the radio. It’s the dramatic pauses and ellipses that earn the laughs, folks.

    Webb and Husain, who have taken a large portion of analysis, here, are actually my preferred presenting partnership if I were allowed to have one. The two are young, intelligent and they spark off each other in the brief banter they’re allowed to have brilliantly, and to charming effect, even if the Mail are reporting a romanticised sort of journalism is blossoming, here. (Seriously, I had to think of how to phrase that but I think I nailed it. And by reading this you would have guessed by now that, of course, I manage to read the Telegraph with gramps, the Guardian and the Mail every day of the week.)

    It was a poignant farewell and "see you on the books show" to Jim Naughtie come December. This was a man whose voice could shed poetry and move you enough to believe in a news story and its human nature. He was capable of bringing off really extraordinary interviews and appeared to be so clever. His knowledge of politics was encyclopaedic and his renaissance style made me smile. I shall miss him, for I’m afraid that Nick Robinson just isn’t cutting the mustard for me. Time is a virtue, they say. Well I say it also makes a great magazine read.

    The future: Husain and Webb should emerge as the frontrunners, the spearheads of Today for another decade whilst Humphrys' and, with time, Montague’s appearance counts simmer. Matthew Price should replace whoever is next to depart the airwaves. My guess is that it could either be Webb or Montague, the latter causing havoc as radio controllers everywhere scan the building for a top-notch female journalist to balance the troupe out, gender-wise. As to who that would be, I have no idea. Kate Silverton? Anita Arnold? Joanna Gosling?

    Before I bow out with the colossal BBC News Channel count analysis, I’d like to commend Jack Axford for his time on the site. He’s not leaving, it’s just that him and I are both marking five years as editors and, no matter what’s happening, we’ve both had each other’s backs in seeing the transition of BNF’s hands from April to us and recruiting Harry Bailey, who’s doing a great job on PM.

    In true Today fashion, I’ll end by saying that today’s editor was… me, Tom Scudamore. From the weekend branch at BNF, a very good morning.

    * Looks at watch, reads “23:08”. *

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s weekend resident

    P.S. RIP Terry Wogan x

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  • BBC News Presenter Count 2015: BBC News at Ten and Newsnight

    If you’re a regular viewer of the BBC News at Ten or Newsnight then you will be aware of the dramatic introductions. Well no intensely over-the-top the-earth-is-dying musical score, here, but I will jazz up this piece by looking back at 2014 just to throw the whole of time and space into flux. Sorry, Doctor Who.

    Last year on Ten: Edwards claimed eternal glory (God this is dramatic, think Harry Potter and the Triwizard Tournament) with 122, followed by Raworth and Bruce who tied as deputies (once upon a time) with 48. Chakrabarti came in third having made 35 stabs at fronting the flagship show for BBC News (no pressure, sister, but I have your scorecard in the report below) and Myrie and Husain (my picks for Six co-hosts) slid in fourth on 26. What we witnessed in 2015 for this count is about as transformative as David Cameron’s smugness in parliament ie. there was change and not all of it was good. But then again, who allowed me to speculate that a Tory government is bad for the country? Hmmm…

    Here’s the all-important count:

    (1) Huw Edwards – 137

    (2) Reeta Chakrabarti – 61

    (3) Clive Myrie – 60

    (4) Sophie Raworth – 42

    (5) Mishal Husain – 29

    (6) Fiona Bruce – 26

    (7) Jane Hill – 18

    (8) Simon McCoy – 9

    (9) Ben Brown – 6

    (10) Nicholas Owen – 3

    Congrats, Huw. Moving on to what was, in my opinion, clear injustice, Nick Clegg… oh hang on, wait, no sorry this isn’t Sunday Politics Live with Sian What’s-Up Williams.

    Chakrabarti and Myrie have been in a tight race all season as to who could pinch second place, as if it was something to be proud of (ha, laughs to self) but… seriously, I would know, because I was on duty counting these figures for the Ten! It was such a close race but on the last night of the year Chakrabarti won out as the official Ten deputy 2015. A nation went crying into their cupboards or at least I did – I was worried a war would start. Ironic, that.

    Myrie has to be the best anchor for the Ten other than Edwards, which is an opinion I’ve crafted from watching the Papers’ top guy’s style more than anything. Myrie is great live on the scene, too, but what establishes him as a real contender for replacing Edwards in the twenty-third century is his ability to deliver the late-night news with the seriousness and integrity Edwards is renowned for. But it feels different, too, because Myrie is different, in his wit and charm and then instant dramatic tone when it comes to the Duff-Duff Sequence at the top of the hour. Red or Black/The Cube/Tom Bradby: try harder.

    The Ten count has been fascinating to watch. Raworth and Bruce finish off so much lower than they once were. Maybe the time for change is now. Husain gains a little more than usual during the week, nowadays, but it’s also worth pointing out how less Hill, Brown and Owen are given this bulletin. I miss Hill, I think she deserves the Ten every Friday, to be honest.

    The future if I haven’t made myself clear: don’t let Chakrabarti near-double her count again, get Myrie to replace Edwards by 2020, and make Hill the deputy. Maybe it’s time for Bruce and even Raworth to fade from the picture of normality and, in my dreams, get Husain back on television as their replacement. Though saying that, looking ahead to 2016, it will be interesting to see if George Alagiah presents the Ten again…

    Onto Newsnight, the first year in Davis’ hands has been something of a success (I say it like that to excuse myself from making a joke about how the guy adorably resembles… Kermit? One of the muppets?) He’s made an impression in this count, for certain, but what I question is whether he’s tough enough to take over Jeremy Paxman for the next eon? Does he have the aggressiveness? Will I stop asking questions? My thoughts follow the count:

    (1) Evan Davis – 123

    (2) Kirsty Wark – 61

    (3) Emily Maitlis – 54

    (4) Laura Kuenssberg – 12

    James O’Brien – 12

    (5) Robert Peston – 1

    Katie Russell – 1

    Last year on Newsnight: the year of metamorphosis (fact: the biggest word I’ve written across all these counts) witnessed Wark win with 65 after Paxo left, making way for Davis’ initial score of 34 whilst Kuenssberg triumphed on 40 for second and Maitlis earned 35 for third. O’Brien and Peston made their debuts, Peston’s appearance surely giving Eddie Mair a tiny reason to look up from reading the Financial Times at eleven o’clock in the evening.

    When Paxman left I’d argue that Newsnight needed a combative interviewer up its sleeve (if it had a sleeve after scandalous… scandals which left them cold with no sleeve). Recent appointment Laura Kuenssberg attempted that role to only mixed results – viewers complained she cut her interviewees off mid-sentence, pushing too hard. Well fact: that’s how I approach my role on this website. Emily Maitlis, still on the hosting roster along with Kirsty Wark, would remain perhaps the firmest voice in the line-up.

    My review of Davis’ first year: the guy promises if not a complete departure then at least a divergence from the wholly adversarial, even gladiatorial style of political interview that so defined Paxman’s time at the helm. It’s “evan”’ed out in the end, even if I preferred Maitlis for the gig full-time. The future is looking bright, but more O’Brien, please. It's also worth noting that the presenting circle for Newsnight was considerably less this year than it was for 2014. Maybe's that's a blessing in disguise but it does seem to limit the show's prospects.

    This weekend when I return to my post full-time (ie. Saturday and Sunday) I’ll be writing up my final analyses of the count for the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 and… the hugest count of them all… for the BBC News Channel. I shall tease the fall-out from 2015 in three words: shocking, game-changing, groovy. Can’t wait.

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s weekend resident

    NB: Err, so for... anticipation purposes, the Today and BBC News Channel counts won't go up till Sunday 31 January. Oh, the suspense is killing us all.

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  • BBC News Presenter Count 2015: Outside Source and BBC World News

    The schedule renovations that hit the BBC News Channel last April, what with the new Victoria Derbyshire programme being the “centrepiece” of morning television, featured the acknowledgement after donkeys years that maybe cuts could be made to the evening newsreader roster with the simulcasting of BBC World News. Between 9-10pm, every night since that piece of genius finally occurred on a regular basis, BNF have been archiving the presenters for Outside Source during the week and the World News half-hour update at weekends. Exciting times, no? (Not so much for me because it means more blogging… but do take my sarcasm with a pinch of salt.)

    Outside Source is the show that reminds me I need to go and “outside source” some food (that’s the best segway I can make tonight) from the local Co-op when I’m making soup that late in the evening. (Yep, it’s another Scudamore-life reveal…) But Ros Atkins’ primetime show has also become a staple for global correspondents to check in with the London studios to keep audiences adrift of some of the stories in the far, unknown, tribal hotspots of Easter Island and the Republic of Conga that, sadly because of their party names, will never make the Ten O’clock News. (Although the day Huw Edwards finally reports from Easter Island I will eat a slice of Humble News Pie.) Atkins no doubt topped the count for a show that he seems to be the only one caring about, but here’s the rest anyway:

    (1) Ros Atkins – 92

    (2) Christian Fraser – 10

    (3) Karin Giannone – 9

    (4) Nuala McGovern – 8

    (5) Tim Willcox – 2

    (6) Philippa Thomas – 1

    Chris Rogers – 1

    Carrie Gracie – 1

    Some interesting observations: a) How good is Atkins’ attendance?! He looks like the nerd who shows up every day to school compared with his fellow colleagues. b) There’s no real contender for ‘deputy’ at this stage in the game, but it’s quite clear that Fraser, Giannone and McGovern (sadly not Steph from Breakfast) are happy to draw the short straw in fronting/covering the programme till the end of days. Very much like how Jack, Harry and me prepare the roster for our editing slots over Christmas…

    More Willcox, please, he’s a valuable asset when it comes to reporting on stories unfamiliar to viewers because of their exoticness (look no further than the Chilean miners rescue, some of the most compelling television sine I’m A Celebrity had to evacuate its camp way back in 2007.) Ben Brown would be useful on this show, too, but so far I’m liking the presenting choices the editors have made – Giannone and Fraser are worthy runners-up.

    Finally: Carrie Gracie makes a count this year!! My, I’ve missed her. Her role as China Editor bodes well for a show that cares about China. As for the future, because I’m slightly bemused by Atkins as a host for this weekday gig: Fraser gets more time to shine, as does Thomas and hey, maybe Ben Bland as an “outsider”? I’m so clever with the puns…

    BBC World News is a different ball game altogether which, thinking about is, is how you should see all the counts for 2015 as resembling. It’s like hot potato, especially for something like this weekend update segment which requires no less than a short night shift to give Martine Croxall on the NC a lunch break. Here’s the count:

    (1) Tim Willcox – 16

    Peter Dobbie – 16

    (2) Chris Rogers – 10

    (3) Alice Baxter – 8

    Kasia Madera – 8

    (4) Alpa Patel – 7

    (5) Ben Bland – 4

    (6) Gavin Grey – 3

    James Coomarasamy – 3

    Christian Fraser – 3

    Dani Sinha – 3

    (7) Philippa Thomas – 2

    Babita Sharma – 2

    Rajini Vaidyanathan – 2

    (8) Maleen Saeed – 1

    Martine Croxall – 1

    Ben Brown – 1

    Lebo Diseko – 1

    Jane O’Brien – 1

    Dobbie misses out on a big lead, tying with Willcox which is… nice. I make such a statement because I’m sure this is Dobbie’s shift but, with Willcox without any regular programming slot (tis how he likes it) it’s unusual to see such regularity for him. Rogers doesn’t surprise in second place, but to have Baxter come from the land of “who?!” to gaining a third-place ranking with Madera shows promise for her future. More Patel and Bland, please, and lose the Grey – there’s no personality from the guy whatsoever! (Fact: Scudamore likes personality.) Stray lookouts: Sinha, Sharma and Vaidyanathan. I’m up for seeing all three front this bulletin more come the next twelve months. My reasoning? I have no answer. On an unrelated note and an attempt to move on from my predicaments: Croxall and Brown make it onto the leaderboard! Could this get anymore random?! Credit to Lebo Diseko, also. I do not know him.

    We’re at the business end of the counts so do excuse me for losing the humour in favour of general analysis. It’s time to get dark and serious because coming up next are the two big boys of late-night television: the BBC News at Ten and Newsnight. Frightening stuff.

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s weekend resident

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  • BBC News Presenter Count 2015: BBC News at Six

    The Antiques Roadshow still baffles me. I mean… are they valuing the worth of an old woman from the attic who found a piece of china after 84 years or… the piece of china? Tis why I got into Downton. Gee, I’m a moron. Anyway, Fiona Bruce is the face of that Sunday teatime classic that seems to be more outdated than me on this very website – and yet it’s still worth pointing out just how valuable (do you see where I’m going with this yet?) Bruce is to the BBC News at Six. (Says to self: “That was a nice segway, Scudamore, a nice segway.”)

    As for the count itself, George Alagiah’s sudden cancer treatment meant the deputies of this BBC One institution had to step up. Shuffling Raworth to the evenings, getting Reeta out and about way more than I think half of us wanted, and promoting Bruce in a nuanced, sneaky way gave us these figures:

    (1) Fiona Bruce – 88

    (2) Reeta Chakrabarti – 84

    (3) Sophie Raworth – 79

    (4) Clive Myrie – 46

    (5) Mishal Husain – 28

    (6) Jane Hill – 25

    (7) Huw Edwards – 20

    (8) Simon McCoy – 9

    (9) George Alagiah – 8

    (10) Ben Brown – 7

    (11) Nicholas Owen – 3

    (12) Emily Maitlis – 2

    Last year on Six: Bruce (not Forsyth) triumphantly won with 103, Raworth got second with 78, Chakrabarti earned third with 45 and Alagiah left for treatment with 32. Kate Silverton and Matthew Amroliwala had their final counts of 16 and 3. Could Silverton or even Sian Williams return, one day? Time will tell. Or I hope it does, they don’t begin the Six with “tonight at six” for nothing (do they even do that anymore?! It adds chill to the whole experience which, quite frankly, is credible – not even EastEnders can pull off such drama.)

    The year is 2015. I’m a little frustrated for Raworth, here. If she couldn’t win the One, then at least give her the Six because (spoilers) the Ten ain’t going to her, either. Bruce pips it and Chakrabarti… well, maybe there’s a career in it for here, here, but I’m not a fan. You’ve got to give it to her, though: broadcasting and gaining such high counts for the One, Six and Ten? Those Saturdays are paying dividends, eat your heart out… footballers and anyone who works every Saturday! Ahem, me included. I should know. I edit BNF on a Saturday. (And this week I return to Sundays!)

    Myrie finishes off nicely in fourth although we all know he’s much more suited to the Ten. Regarding Edwards, he has made way too many guest appearances on this show (I have this weird idea that the guy is banned from the studio between 6-10pm…) but sure, it’s lovely he could win that figure of 20, especially in an election year. I’m over the moon, genuinely, that Alagiah could get two weeks’ worth in the count before 2015 was up. We’ve all missed him.

    More Brown and Hill during the week, please. As for Maitlis, she used to anchor this show a lot more back in the day and, although I can see her worth to Newsnight, the Six could be somewhere for her to end up fronting regularly in the future. On the subject of the future, the zeitgeist will come back to bite us. Oh, and more relevantly, Alagiah could be back in the chair (which I’m really glad about) for another 5-10 years. That makes me happy.

    However, there’s always been a part of me that a) will really miss Downton (like seriously, we’re all learning a lot here about my television tastebuds) and b) feels that the Six should go back to having a co-anchoring duo again. My pick: Clive Myrie and Mishal Husain. Can you imagine?!! They would ace it, especially if Myrie can report live so effortlessly and Husain can read the news so well, which they both can. (Sorry, Justin Webb, you and me both feelin’ jealous of Myrie in that parallel universe…)

    Coming soon: the 2015 counts for Outside Source (weekdays, 9-10pm) and the BBC World News (at the weekend, 9-9.30pm) because yeah, we cover that stuff now. Amazing, right?

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s weekend resident

    P.S. RIP David Bowie x

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  • BBC News Presenter Count 2015: BBC News at Five

    2014 was a year of injustice for the BBC News at Five… and England at the World Cup, but let’s face it: Huw Edwards has a much better chance beating Gavin Esler at his own game, as he rightfully should every year, when it comes to this count than Rooney ever scoring in front of a global crowd. Last year witnessed Esler beat Edwards by 7 programmes with the pair sharing up 183 shows between them. This year Edwards is back on top, and with quite a clearance, too. Take that, Esler. Regardless of the obvious rivalry (dreaming, here), here’s that all important count:

    (1) Huw Edwards – 93

    (2) Gavin Esler – 64

    (3) Julian Worricker – 30

    (4) Ben Brown – 23

    (5) Simon McCoy – 16

    (6) Clive Myrie – 15

    (7) Emily Maitlis – 13

    (8) Tim Willcox – 9

    (9) Maxine Mawhinney – 6

    (10) Christian Fraser – 5

    (11) Ros Atkins – 2

    (12) Ross Hawkins – 1

    Annita McVeigh – 1

    Matthew Price – 1

    Jon Kay – 1

    Jane Hill – 1

    Sophie Long – 1

    It ain’t that important but I seriously question how if BBC News’ top anchor has been given a chance to compete with the big guns on other channels (Dermot Murnaghan, Emma Crosby and Alexander Armstrong on this pointless show you may have heard about) in the afternoon’s hottest hour for news, why can’t he put in the time? Edwards clearly is more familiar with fronting the prepared bulletin at Ten, which suits his tenor voice and glum expression at reporting the latest events in the ongoing ISIS saga – that including the death of the dog unluckily named after the terrorist group in Downton Abbey. Maybe, just maybe, it is time to give his snoozer of a News Channel show to someone like Worricker or even Brown who, after reshuffles in the previous year, is the new NC hopper. By that I mean he’s a shift-shifter, which matches his role as roving-guy-on-the-scene-in-the-dusty-desert every time something important happens in the Middle East. Willcox and Myrie also pick up points on the Eastern front for the Five, a sacrifice I’m unhappy with – I’d much rather tune in to hear how loudly Willcox can shout in the studio, or see how pompous Myrie can look in bantering with the sports guy about Manchester City, than ever seeing them try to talk over tractors or army trucks going by in the middle of No Man’s Land or God’s Forbidden City, two places I kinda just made up on the spot, much like the gags Esler tries to pull with Mark Kermode.

    As for this year’s statistics, I’ll point out a few things: Worricker is in third place for the second year running, a position once held by Maitlis who this year, having scarcely appeared in 2014 with 1 appearance, sits surprisingly below the ranks of McCoy and Myrie, who both have picked up this gig a little more. McCoy, in particular, has leapfrogged (are you liking the frequent frog verbs I’m using this time?) to being the go-to guy to call in at the last possible moment for Edwards’ hour, primarily because of McCoy’s new stripes as an afternoon regular. Maitlis, meanwhile, has been focused more on Newsnight in the previous year which is great for any male politician who is up for ever admitting on live television just how attractive Westminster finds the journalist. They even had to ship out Jon Sopel to the United States just to stop his continuous, slightly over-bearing banter with Maitlis – something I miss on a Monday, personally, although McCoy has recently upped the #makeMaitlislaugh effort for any brigade on Twitter searching for a new Youtube NC gag to watch a thousand times.

    The surprise choices for the Five this year have been Mawhinney, McVeigh, Long and Hill, who used to front the Five a lot more when there were less newsreaders willing to miss Pointless or any Channel 5 soap to read the news. Mawhinney, in particular, shone in her small stint around the festive period. The biggest shock, though, is that Nicholas Owen has failed to host the Five at all in 2015. I’m gutted, I used to love his enthusiasm and rapport with… himself. As sarcastic as this sounds, couldn’t have old Saint Nick come in for Christmas?

    I shall watch out for Owen this year. Oh, and Maitlis because… well, I like watching political sparks fly. The future: Mishal Husain, please. That’s who you want four days a week.

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s weekend resident

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  • BBC News Presenter Count 2015: BBC News at One

    You’ll be glad to know that I have no opinions with regards to the BBC News at One. Other than local-news-wise (Look East for me and, no, really, look east for presenters, please, BBC Regional Important People, we have some really great candidates), I think Alex Dolan has a lot of personality for one o’clock in the afternoon. But then again, so does Simon McCoy. Reeta Chakrabarti: not so much. (On the no-opinions front, says to self: “So close, Tom, so close…”) Here’s the count:

    (1) Reeta Chakrabarti – 85

    (2) Simon McCoy – 79

    (3) Sophie Raworth – 43

    (4) Gavin Esler – 38

    (5) Jane Hill – 33

    (6) Maxine Mawhinney – 24

    (7) Ben Brown – 19

    (8) Clive Myrie – 14

    (9) Chris Eakin – 9

    (10) Tim Willcox – 6

    Nicholas Owen – 6

    (11) Rachel Schofield – 4

    Christian Fraser – 4

    (12) Rebecca Jones – 3

    (13) Adam Parsons – 2

    Shaun Ley – 2

    Annita McVeigh – 2

    Carole Walker – 2

    (14) Huw Edwards – 1

    Julian Worricker – 1

    Chris Rogers – 1

    Jon Kay – 1

    Lyse Doucet – 1

    It’s been a rough year, right? I mean this is the bulletin which lets you know who’s going to court in the next day or so, who’s been arrested and, most importantly, what latest terrible idea the government has declared as law that morning. The BBC News at One is also Carole Walker’s time to shine, as it is for Norman Smith (but really I think he secretly prefers the nighttime news, where nobody is awake enough to be alert for his latest attempt to make a gag).

    Anyway, I say it’s been rough because Raworth had to move to front evening bulletins more, which meant that Chakrabarti got to audition four lunchtimes every week until she got the gig – but that’s not to say McCoy didn’t come close. It makes sense for McCoy, Esler, Hill and Mawhinney to earn these counts because of their place on the BBC News Channel’s roster. I’d like more Hill, personally. Compared to last year’s figures… well, I mean lovely George Alagiah’s absence from television threw the BBC One team into such disarray that it’s not worth comparing, not with Raworth having to hop from One to Six to Ten so much.

    Amongst the leaderboard mid-table, I’m sure that Brown’s count is so high because of his roving reporter status for the One. I’m not even certain he’s fronted the bulletin in-studio, this year. Myrie is great, I’d love to see him be used more on BBC One, but I’ll talk more about that in my analysis of the Ten. Here’s a clue for what’s coming up: Chakrabarti has been all over these counts – like, seriously! She's been reading news more than I've been writing my latest book, How To Keep Your Opinions Subtle, out next year.

    Interesting nods, not that I’m saluting them, go to Chris Eakin, whose departure left me gutted (though I’m glad he will no longer have to sacrifice his life in the face of the next Great Flood), Nicholas Owen, who could disappear any moment, Annita McVeigh, whose existence must make BBC One loyalists curious about who awaits on the BBC News Channel, and Huw Edwards, just because. Though saying that, the guy has way too much serious sass for 1pm, surely.

    Also, an acknowledgement to anyone else I haven’t mentioned, because this is surely the biggest list for the One we’ve ever had. It appears, my friends, that anyone can get this gig. Even Angela Rippon or Nick Knowles could be turning up soon. Rumour has it that Ainsley Harriott will be blessing us with his presence, also. As for Jeremy Vine: you’re too dancey for sitting behind a desk!

    Apologies to Norman Smith, who I can’t believe was never credited, not once, for the One this year. (Cries tears.)

    The future: Carol Kirkwood. In all seriousness: Sian Williams, please.

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s king of sarcasm and comedic punditry

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