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March 20, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:32am

Emily Maitlis takes reins at BBC Newsnight as Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett joins all-female team

By Freddy Mayhew

Emily Maitlis has been confirmed as the new lead presenter for BBC Newsnight, with Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett joining an all-female team alongside Kirsty Wark and editor Esmé Wren.

Maitlis replaces Evan Davis, who left to present BBC Radio 4 current affairs programme PM when long-serving host Eddie Mair made the leap to commercial talk radio station LBC last year.

She was named network presenter of the year at last month’s Royal Television Society Awards.

Said Maitlis: “I am delighted to be moving into this role at a time when Newsnight feels so pivotal to our understanding of this extraordinary moment in British history, and to be working with such an exceptional team.”

Wark, who has been a main presenter on Newsnight for 25 years, will have an “enhanced role” on the BBC Two programme, according to the BBC, which will see her present more Newsnight shows than currently.

Maitlis and Wark will host the majority of the Newsnight shows throughout the year.

Barnett (pictured below) joins the presenting team having made a name for herself on radio and is widely seen as a rising star within the corporation. She will continue to host The Emma Barnett Show, from 10am to 1pm on Radio 5 Live, covering news and politics.

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Emma Barnett. Picture: BBC

Wark said: “There is no better place to be right now on British television as we navigate great shifts in politics, international relations and the way we live our lives. I love the fact that Newsnight is equipped with a tremendous mix of people who can deliver impact-making journalism with real flair.”

Barnett said: “I can’t wait to get started at Newsnight at a time when no one can predict the next hour in British politics, never mind the next evening.”

Newsnight editor Wren said: “This is a tremendous presenter line up that sends out a clear signal about the programme’s growing ambition. All three presenters bring substantial political clout and a wealth of expertise across a broad range of subjects.

“Emily’s promotion to lead presenter is testament to the journalistic excellence, passion and tenacious interview style that saw her recognised as Network Presenter of the Year at the recent RTS Television Journalism Awards.

“Kirsty, also an award-winning journalist and presenter, will continue to bring her great authority and forensic skills to an increased number of shows, and to drive the programme’s commitment to the arts and culture.

“And we’re also thrilled to welcome Emma – whose formidable skill as an interviewer and no-nonsense approach further strengthens the programme’s agenda-setting impact.”

Picture: BBC

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