Veteran presenters boost the ITV news team as crisis in Iraq mounts

The ITV News Channel has taken on a number of veteran journalists to beef up its coverage in the event of war with Iraq.

Jonathan Dimbleby will front a new programme, that will provide debate, analysis and discussion, “in the Dimbleby tradition, similar to his terrestrial programmes”, according to a channel spokeswoman.

He will be joined on the channel by London Tonight anchor Alistair Stewart and newscasters Carol Barnes, Angela Rippon and Anne Leuchars. Both Barnes and Stewart are former ITN journalists.

Stewart is effectively on loan from Carlton TV’s London news programme, with the understanding that, “if there’s a war, then local news will be reduced”. The new signings take the channel’s newscasting team up to eight, as they join Mark Austin, Katie Derham, John Suchet and Nicholas Owen.

ITV is making much of its recruitment of veteran journalists to the news channel. Dominic Crossley-Holland, head of the ITV news channel boasted that the line up “gives ITV News viewers the very best of British broadcasting”. Details of extra journalists are yet to be finalised.

lITV has plans to move its main evening news bulletin to 9pm, if war breaks out. A similar move in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, led to an increase in ratings.

By Wale Azeez

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