ITN's Tom Bradby reveals how David Dimbleby inspired him to provide 'news with personality'

ITN news reader Tom Bradby has revealed how he was given a brief to deliver the news with more personality when he was promoted to News at Ten sole presenter last month.

According to some reports, ITN has already improved its ratings under Bradby. But the BBC still maintains a comfortable lead in that time slot as noted by this Twitter message from BBC rival anchor Huw Edwards.

In a full-page comment piece in yesterday’s Sunday Times, Bradby hit back at Edwards saying: “BBC News has grown into a behemoth, with as much power and sway over the industry as imperial Rome once enjoyed.”

Outlining his vision for the show, he said: “We tried to return to first principles and think through what a programme like News at Ten should be for the modern era. We concluded that there had been a significant shift over the past couple of decades, in which it has moved from being a primary to a secondary news source.

“Most of our viewers are already familiar with the news by 10pm these days. They’ve heard it on the radio, or read it online. They may even have seen the (excellent) news at 6.30pm. So why would you tune in to a later bulletin?

“Probably for the same reason you are reading this newspaper: because you are getting interesting stories from across the world that you would not find elsewhere. And because it is the place it all gets brought together, with enough analysis, intelligent thought and insight to be sure it all makes sense.

“In the end, then, the brief from ITV was simple: don’t worry about the ratings, because w ewant a prestige product that is distinctive, innovative and at the top of its field in terms of world agenda. And please provide news with more personality.”

He added: “That is why we hired Robert Peston. He can break stories and what he has to say about the world is worth hearing.”

Bradby, who is also a novelist, said he has tried to draw on his skills as a writer to improve the News at Ten scripts.

He said:  “I hope he won’t mind my saying it, but I also spent time thinking about David Dimbleby. He is still unarguably the greatest broadcaster (Trevor McDonald is his only rival in my lifetime) and if he ever did the news, wouldn’t he speak in his own voice, as he does in everything else?

“So I sit here, day in day out, sweating the scripts alongside David Stanley, the chief writer, who everyone agrees is the best in the business, and the programme’s editors, trying to make sure every story is presented in the most engaging possible way.”

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