Bell signs 12-month deal with Five News

Former BBC correspondent Martin Bell has signed a year-long deal with Five News to file a series of reports for its early evening bulletin.

Bell, who left the BBC after 30 years to stand for Parliament at the height of the row over Conservative sleaze, will do a monthly report for Five News’s 5.30pm bulletin next year.

The former correspondent who reported from Washington and Bosnia, was wooed back to TV journalism by Channel 5 to do a report from Malawi in August.

Following on from that, the channel signed up TV news veterans Sandy Gall, Angela Rippon, Michael Brunson and Carol Barnes, as well as Bell, to file  four-minute reports for broadcast on Five News’s evening bulletin.

Bell will be reporting on both domestic and overseas stories.

"I am not planning to do any dodging of bullets – I am 64," said Bell, who added that his reports were a return to "good old- fashioned" journalism.

"This habit of interviewing reporters in the field live means they spend too much time on the roofs of hotels and television stations," he said. "This is exacerbated of course by the phenomenon of 24-hour news and also there is much more central control now."

Bell added: "After I reported from Southern Africa the famine has almost completely vanished from the screens because of the concentration on Iraq," he said.

"With the exception of the BBC Ten O’Clock News, which still pursues a really serious agenda, there is much less foreign television news than there used to be. There tends to be an appetite for just one big story at a time."

By Julie Tomlin

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