Nick Robinson and Peter Preston on the News at Ten

The BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson, has turned to a football analogy to explain the importance of the fight between the Ten O’Clock News and ITV’s resurrected News at Ten.

Writing for the Observer’s “My Week” feature, Robinson – an ITN journalist until a couple of years ago – said: “For ITN, the return of News at Ten is like the return of Kevin Keegan to Newcastle United.

“Being at the BBC feels like playing for Manchester United, the team that everyone else would love to see beaten.

“The fear of losing is as good for journalists as it is for footballers, which is, in turn, as good for viewers as it is for the crowd at the match.”

Observer press columnist Peter Preston, meanwhile, says the revamped News at Ten “is a triumph for everybody who thinks that TV news matters”.

By taking on the BBC head-to-head, Preston says, ITN has been forced to up its game, with “more exclusives, more special reports, more energy, more invention”.

However, it seems the BBC was the clear winner in the first week of the “battle of the bongs”.

MediaGuardian says the BBC drew an average audience of 4.8 million from Monday to Thursday. ITV’s News at Ten averaged around 3.5 million.

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