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February 23, 2023updated 01 Mar 2023 9:21am

Dermot Murnaghan to leave Sky News after 16 years

Dermot Murnaghan has presented for Sky News, BBC News, ITV News and Channel 4 News.

By Charlotte Tobitt

Update 1 March: Dermot Murnaghan signed off from Sky News last night with an Anchorman reference: “Stay classy, planet Earth.”

In his final message to viewers, he thanked Sky News staff, describing the broadcaster as “the best organisation in the UK… for its coverage and analysis and also its dedicated, inventive, hard-working staff, so many of whom have become close friends”.

He added: “My greatest thanks goes to you the viewers. You make Sky News. You are Sky News. Your engagement, encouragement and feedback have been invaluable over my time here. I hope that I’ve managed to serve you well. It has been an absolute privilege. Thanks for making this career so worthwhile.”

He then flung his papers away from the desk, saying: “You stay classy, planet Earth. Goodbye.”

https://twitter.com/SkyNews/status/1630676134370181121

Original story 23 February:

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Sky News presenter Dermot Murnaghan is leaving the broadcaster after more than 16 years at Easter.

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Head of Sky News John Ryley, who himself is leaving this spring after 17 years in charge, broke the news of Murnaghan’s planned departure to staff on Thursday afternoon (see his full note below).

Murnaghan currently presents Sky News Tonight, and in September was the first broadcaster to announce the death of the Queen from outside Buckingham Palace. He has also anchored special programming for major events such as the 2019 UK general election and the US election in 2020 in which Donald Trump lost the presidency.

Ryley praised his “close friend” as being a “superb interviewer” and a “brilliant, truly masterful” anchor of events.

John Ryley’s full note to staff:

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to say Dermot Murnaghan has decided to leave Sky News at Easter. 

Dermot and I first met in the gym at ITN’s Gray’s Inn a very long time ago. Suspicious of authority, subversive and addicts of history – we bonded instantly and are very close friends. He has been a huge support in the tougher moments of my life.

Dermot has been a formidable force in British television news – a colossus – for more than 30 years – the only broadcaster to present Sky‘s News at Ten, ITV’s News at Ten and the BBC’s 10 O’ clock news, and Channel 4 News – a big testament to his stature, sharp journalistic brain, and genuine class under pressure.  

For more than 16 years at Sky he’s anchored our coverage of extraordinary financial chaos, political upheaval, revolutions, disease, and royal tipping points. History will remember Dermot as the first broadcaster to break the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death last September outside Buckingham Palace. He anchored with true panache the seminal 2019 UK General Election, the 2020 US General election, and the complex Brexit votes demonstrating – to misquote President Johnson’s dictum – that the first rule of a news presenter is ’ learn how to count’. Night after night, crunch after crunch after crunch in the spring of 2019 Dermot was brilliant, truly masterful, calling for stamina, attention to deal and fast calculations as he explained the significance of each critical Commons vote.  Really hard to do well, yet Dermot made it look easy.

It is as a superb interviewer that I will remember Dermot. Forensic, unrelenting and like all the best interviewers, a listener.  His interview with Labour’s Peter Mandelson over a mortgage loan directly led to the cabinet minister’s resignation in 1998. In the 2015 election campaign his own Sunday morning show ‘ Murnaghan’ got under the skin of David Cameron when the prime minister forgot the name of the football club he claimed to support. Downing Street tried hard to censor the story. 

His television talents also extended way beyond news – he presented ITV’s flagship current affairs show, The Big Story, in the mid ‘90’s, helmed the long running teatime quiz, Eggheads, for 10 years. And he currently presents crime shows for the A&E networks. 

Off screen Dermot has been a wise and trusted mentor to younger colleagues, at ease talking about journalism, Arsenal’s fortunes, or his beloved biking. 

I would like to thank Dermot for the outstanding job he has done for so many years at Sky. 

I know you will join me in wishing Dermot and his family the best of luck in the future.  

John. 

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
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  • CFO
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Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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