The BBC is bringing in its tried-and-tested heavyweights to cover the General Election, which Prime Minister Tony Blair has finally confirmed will go ahead on 7 June.
Election night will see David Dimbleby anchoring the results programme that will go out on BBC1 and News 24. Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman will also be in the studio, along with Fiona Bruce and Peter Snow.
The heavyweights also figure largely in the BBC’s campaign coverage, with Dimbleby presenting Challenge the Leader, a series of Question Time specials that will go out in a peaktime slot on BBC1 during the campaign.
Paxman and Kirsty Wark will present interviews with party leaders throughout the month-long campaign. Wark will also anchor BBC Scotland’s election night coverage with Brian Taylor. Wales and Northern Ireland will also have their own results programmes.
Newsnight’s Jeremy Vine will travel in a camper van from Land’s End to John O’Groats to chair debates on key issues.
John Humphrys will be presenting Radio 4’s Today programme five days a week during the campaign as well as hosting a series of debates on his BBC1 Sunday programme On the Record. An election-night programme will also go out on Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live, presented by James Naughtie, Jane Garvey, and Mark Mardell.
Award-winning Panorama journalist John Ware will present a pre-election programme assessing the impact of the Prime Minister’s four years in Downing Street.
While the stalwarts of BBC election coverage dominate its main output, the corporation’s stated aim of increasing the profile of women during the election is evident mainly in its selection of correspondents who will be following the leaders’ campaign trails: Carolyn Quinn will be following Tony Blair, Laura Trevelyan will be with William Hague and June Kelly will go on the trail with Charles Kennedy.
On Radio 1, the station’s first political correspondent, Polly Billington, will present the news.
Political editor Andrew Marr, who was brought in last year to spearhead the BBC’s election coverage, will present The Election – Why Bother? He will be reporting on the Ten O’Clock News which has been extended by seven minutes up until the election. The BBC’s special correspondent, Ben Brown, will be providing special constituency reports.
With BBC News 24 facing its first election, it will broadcast continual live coverage, kicking off at 8am with the news conferences. Chief political correspondent Nick Robinson will spearhead News 24’s coverage, along with Philippa Thomas. At 8.30pm there will be a weekday programme, Campaign Talk, presented by Nick Robinson, with weekend programmes presented by Chris Lowe.
By Julie Tomlin