Neil is next big name at News 24

Andrew Neil is the latest high-profile journalist to join the line-up of regular presenters on BBC News 24 as the channel’s viewing figures rise to an average of 6m viewers a week, from 4.5m at the end of last year.

Neil, who will front a revamped version of political chat show Straight Talk, joins Huw Edwards, Emily Maitlis and Ben Brown.

Controller of News 24, Kevin Bakhurst, told Press Gazette: "Neil is a big journalistic talent and he is part of the ongoing strategy to get the best journalists on screen on News 24.

"I’m excited about Straight Talk. It will be about getting to the bottom of what motivates [politicians] to choose politics as a career. It will examine how their experiences have influenced them — the programme will take a much deeper look at politicians."

Bakhurst also said that Monday (10 April) would be a "big day" for the channel as the new line-up of presenters will be on screen for the first time.

Edwards will be on News 24 between 5 and 6pm. He joins Emily Maitlis and Ben Brown, who will co-anchor a slot between 7 and 10pm.

On the same day, the BBC will also begin simulcasting its one o’clock and six o’clock bulletins on BBC News 24. The Ten O’Clock News has been simulcast on the rolling news channel since January.

Bakhurst said the recruitment of big names to the channel was ongoing and that Fiona Bruce, who has already done some presenting on the channel, would be working more regularly with News 24 on special projects. He added that Natasha Kaplinsky, Sian Williams and Sophie Raworth would all present on the channel, when their schedules allowed them to do so.

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