BBC Scotland’s new flagship news programme The Nine showed a “promising start” which was “informal, interesting and thoroughly professional” on its debut last night, critics have said.
The hour-long nightly news programme launched last night with a title sequence featuring the faces of ordinary Scots, reflecting its mission to “get a sense of the whole country”.
One reviewer described The Nine as a “hugely positive step forward”.
Led by presenters Rebecca Curran and Martin Geissler, the show opened with the latest on Brexit from newly hired Westminster correspondent Rajdeep Sandhu and Europe correspondent Jean Mackenzie (all pictured).
It also featured an investigation into drug dealers using the internet to “flood Scotland with legal pills” and an interview with Iceland’s prime minister who spoke about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.
Sports presenter Amy Irons gave the first indication of the show’s more informal feel when she stopped in with Curran and Geissler for a chat which teased an interview coming up later in the show.
Also featured was an informal item with consumer affairs correspondent Laura Miller (who will present the show on Fridays with John Beattie) about the fall in “Scottie dog” ownership, fulfilling the Scottish angle.
The programme also took a brief look at the top national and international headlines of the day, as well as the sport headlines and weather.
The Scotsman’s Ross McCafferty was largely positive about the programme, forgiving the odd technical glitch and awkward encounters on the purple sofa, where he warned “three’s a crowd” after Irons joined the hosts.
But he praised a drugs investigation from social affairs correspondent Chris Clements, formerly of the Daily Record and STV News, taking it as “a very positive sign about the kind of work the Nine can and will do”.
Overall, he said: “There may be well-earned doubts about the future of the new BBC Scotland channel, but only the terminally cynical would regard The Nine as anything other than a hugely positive step forward.”
At The National, Shona Craven described The Nine as a “promising start from a team not afraid to ask the right questions”, saying the opening Brexit story felt “fresh and distinctly Scottish”.
Lesley Riddoch, also for the National, praised Sandhu’s “relaxed and convincing” delivery but highlighted some “slight format problems” such as presenter’s talking over each other during one interview.
The Times’ Mike Wade gave the programme four out of five stars, saying there is “no need to go online… the team from Nine are worthy of your time”.
He described the show as mostly “informal, interesting and thoroughly professional”.
On Twitter, some viewers raised concerns with the 9pm time slot, which is traditionally when channels air primetime entertainment – the programme clashed with return of Alan Partridge on BBC One – and some formatting issues.
— Lewis Vaughan Jones (@LVaughanJones) February 25, 2019
As much as I like Labour getting a grilling, on @BBCScotland #thenine I'm not quite buying into the two interviewers interviewing the same person..at the same time. Even I don't know what he's being asked!!
— Gavin Brownlie (@Gavin_Brownlie) February 25, 2019
But many, including former Sunday Herald news editor Angela Haggerty, were largely positive.
A good start for #thenine, or is it #nine? The hour didn’t drag for me. Excellent packages on drugs and HIV. Confident presenters. Nice combo of authority and bantz. But I feel i now need News at Ten and Newsnight to tell me what I need to know on Labour/Brexit in detail.
— Kenny Farquharson (@KennyFarq) February 25, 2019
— Bryan Burnett (@bryanb1965) February 26, 2019
Well done to everyone at @BBCScotNine for their first programme. A promising start. The informal format is more familiar in many other European countries' current affairs output. Very strong investigative stories, but I hope they can avoid becoming a "magazine" show. #TheNine
— Patrick Harvie 🇪🇺🌈 (@patrickharvie) February 25, 2019
Impressed with #TheNine on @BBCScotland so far. Will take a while to fully find it's stride but it's great to have Scottish news programme that can look into issues in depth. V. Different vibe to anything we've had before. Good luck to it
— Niall Sommerville (@niall_som) February 25, 2019
It is sooooo refreshing to hear diverse Scottish accents and see important issues like Scotland's high drug deaths rate, social media and fake pills covered on @BBCScotNine. Off to a good start. #TheNine #Stopthedeaths
— Hannah Graham (@DrHannahGraham) February 25, 2019
— Rachel Coburn (@rachelcoburn_) February 25, 2019
Loving @BBCScotNine so far and the amount of time they're spending on stories.
It feels more relaxed + like they care about the news their reporting rather than just chasing the next headline.
What does everyone else think? #TheNine
— Rhiannon Spear (@RhiannonV) February 25, 2019
— Paris Gourtsoyannis (@thistlejohn) February 25, 2019