Long-serving BBC broadcasters Martine Croxall, Jane Hill and Ben Brown are to lose their chief presenter roles as the corporation launches its fresh rolling news channel and announces five names as part of its new line up.
The BBC is combining its domestic and international channels to create a single 24-hour TV service as part of a new digital-first strategy, resulting in job losses.
On Thursday, it announced that the main line-up for the channel, called BBC News, would consist of Matthew Amroliwala, Christian Fraser, Yalda Hakim, Lucy Hockings and Maryam Moshiri.
Other presenters have already taken voluntary redundancy amid the merger, with Joanna Gosling, David Eades and Tim Willcox among those leaving the corporation.
US news agency Deadline claimed presenters were aggrieved at the ‘humiliating’ recruitment process for the rolling news channel which reportedly entailed taking screen tests in a small studio with a manual autocue – despite the fact many names had years or decades of experience.
BBC News presenter Martine Croxall (left) has been at the BBC since 2001 and Jane Hill (right) has worked for the BBC for around 30 years
Ben Brown, BBC journalist is one of the names set to lose their chief roles
The five chief presenters announced today were recruited via a competitive interview process in accordance with BBC HR procedures, the broadcaster confirmed.
The BBC said it has now begun looking for eight on-air correspondent roles, with recruitment also under way for two on-air presenting roles based in Washington DC.
The BBC News channel, launching in spring, will broadcast both in the UK and around the world and will be anchored from London during the UK daytime and evening, and from Washington DC and Singapore overnight.
Croxall has been at the BBC since 2001 and is one of the main hosts of The Papers, alongside presenting for both the domestic and international channels, while Hill and Brown have both worked for the broadcaster for around 30 years.
The PA news agency understands the BBC is seeking to help staff find alternative roles across its services.
Deborah Turness, chief executive of BBC News, said: ‘I’m thrilled to announce the faces of our channel.
‘This team’s editorial leadership, talent, knowledge and flair make them the ideal presenters to bring the BBC’s trusted journalism to people at home in the UK and around the globe, and to guide audiences through the big stories as they break.’
Deadline reported that BBC news chief Jess Brammar phoned around presenters to tell them about the changes.
Among the new line-up is former foreign correspondent Fraser, who is often seen on BBC2’s Newsnight, and Hockings, who has worked for the BBC since 1999 and currently hosts her own current affairs programme on BBC World News.
Moshiri has been a presenter on the international channel for close to four years, prior to that working as a business reporter for BBC News for 16 years.
Amroliwala joined the BBC in 1989 and during his career he has worked as a news reporter, political correspondent and foreign correspondent.
Hakim is an award-winning foreign correspondent and currently anchors the flagship programme Impact with Yalda Hakim on BBC World News.
Sources claimed the majority of the jobs had gone to BBC World News presenters instead of UK presenters.
An insider told Deadline: ‘We were told the new channel would be global facing, but what we didn’t think that would amount to what looks like a clear out, a rout of domestic news channel presenters.
‘There are definitely questions here about what this means for the domestic license fee paying audience.’
‘Advertising will now begin for eight correspondent roles,’ the BBC said in a release.
‘These will be on-air journalists who will present, as well as report, on the channel.
‘Recruitment is underway for two on-air presenting roles based in Washington DC, which will be announced shortly.’
The channel merger comes as part of a ‘digital-first’ strategy that will also see BBC Four and CBBC cease to be linear TV channels in the coming years.
The BBC needs to save a further £285 million in response to the announcement in January 2022 that the licence fee will be frozen for the next two years.
The corporation has delivered more than £1 billion of savings in the five years to 2021/22.
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