David Dimbleby to host 'final' general election broadcast in 2015

Veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby is to step down from fronting the BBC's general election coverage – after his ninth and final time.

He will be the lead presenter of the election night programme next year, but will hand over the reins to Huw Edwards for future years.

Edwards had long been expected to take over and there was speculation that he would have been in position step in for the 2015 election, expected to take place on May 7.

In a 2010 interview Dimbleby made it clear he had no intention of stepping down for a successor, saying: "I don't have any instinct to make way gracefully. I shall be dragged kicking and screaming from my chair."

For next year's election night broadcast, Dimbleby will be on air from 10pm as the polls close, through until the next morning. Edwards will then take over from 7am through to the 10pm news bulletin, monitoring results and the progress on forming a new government.

Dimbleby presented his first election results programme in 1979, as Margaret Thatcher rose to power as prime minister.

Although his 7am handover will mark the end of his general election tenure, Dimbleby will not actually be finished for the day. He will return that evening to present a special edition of Question Time.

James Harding, the BBC's director of news, said: "This election is likely to be one of the most complex and closely fought in recent times and we are delighted to have such an experienced team to lead our coverage."

Dimbleby was the BBC's trusted voice of state occasions for many years but has gradually been succeeded by Edwards. Dimbleby was the guide for key moments such as the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales and the Queen Mother, but Edwards took over for 2011's royal wedding

However Question Time host Dimbleby will chair an expected debate between the party leaders ahead of the election.

Edwards will present the Scottish Referendum results programme from Glasgow in September.

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