With a new set, new logo, and a clutch of new presenters and reporters, the BBC’s new television news service for London will be launched next week as part of a £5.5m investment in the capital and the South East.
The launch of BBC London News on Monday comes a month after South East Today for Kent and East Sussex went on air. The two services replace Newsroom South East, which for the past 12 years has covered both regions.
Former Sky News presenter Emily Maitlis will anchor the evening and lunchtime shows, broadcast from headquarters in Marylebone High Street. The radio news service, which has been rebranded BBC London 94.9FM, dropping "live" from its title, and BBC London’s online service, are also based there.
Gillian Joseph will do live reports during the day and present the late bulletin at 10.25pm, while Nina Hossain and Jules Botfield will present breakfast, lunch and late evening bulletins.
On the new set, presenters will stand in front of plasma screens while presenting from a deskless newsroom.
Editor Sandy Smith said the plan was to "chuck out the chintz". "It’s going to be fast moving, up to the minute and a radical departure from what’s gone before – we want to make a statement to 11 million Londoners," he said. "That’s a bigger audience than many countries and we want to give a sense of London’s importance and its excitement."
Two new specialist correspondents will also work on the programmes: Brenda Emmanus has moved from The Clothes Show to cover London’s entertainment scene and Mark Bright will present the weekend sports preview on Friday. They will join Wendy Robbins, Andrew Winstanley, Penny Wrout, Tim Donovan and Jon Craig. Smith has also hired reporters, Gareth Furby from ITV’s London Tonight and Kurt Barling from BBC News. New bureaux are being set up in Elstree, ealing, Brixton and Thurrock.
By Martin McNamara