BBC News (TV channel)

BBC News (also known as the BBC News Channel) is a British free-to-air[1] public broadcast television news channel for BBC News. It was launched as BBC News 24 on 9 November 1997 at 5:30 pm as part of the BBC's foray into digital domestic television channels, becoming the first competitor to Sky News, which had been running since 1989.[2] For a time, looped news, sport and weather bulletins were available to view via BBC Red Button.

BBC News
Logo used since 2022
CountryUnited Kingdom
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
HeadquartersBBC Television Centre (1997–2013)
Broadcasting House (2013–present)
Picture format1080i[lower-alpha 1] HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Sister channelsBBC One
BBC Three
BBC Four
BBC Parliament
BBC Scotland
BBC Alba
Launched9 November 1997 (1997-11-09)
Former namesBBC News 24 (1997–2008)
FreeviewChannel 231 (SD)
Streaming media
BBC iPlayerWatch live (UK only)
BBC News OnlineWatch live (UK only)
TVPlayerWatch live (UK only)
FilmOnWatch live (Worldwide access is available)

On 22 February 2006, the channel was named News Channel of the Year at the Royal Television Society Television Journalism Awards for the first time in its history.[3] The judges remarked that this was the year that the channel had "really come into its own."[4] The channel won the accolade for a second time in 2017.[5]

From May 2007, viewers in the UK could watch the channel via the BBC News website. In April 2008, the channel was renamed BBC News as part of a £550,000 rebranding of the BBC's news output, complete with a new studio and presentation. Its sister service, BBC World was also renamed BBC World News while the national news bulletins became BBC News at One, BBC News at Six and BBC News at Ten. Across the day the channel averages about twice the audience of Sky News.

In July 2022, the BBC announced plans to merge BBC News (for UK audiences) and BBC World News (for international audiences) as one international news network, under the name BBC News. The channel is set to be launched in April 2023 and will include news from both the UK and around the world.[6][7]

The channel is based at and broadcasts from Broadcasting House in the West End of London.


BBC News 24 was originally only available on a full-time basis on cable with all other viewers only able to watch the channel overnight when BBC One was not on air. This coverage was improved in 1998 with the advent of digital television in the United Kingdom allowing satellite and digital terrestrial television viewers to also view the service. Initially it was difficult to obtain a digital satellite or terrestrial receiver without a subscription to Sky or ONdigital respectively, but now the channel forms an important part of the Freeview and Freesat channel packages.

The BBC had run the international news channel BBC World for two and a half years prior to the launch of BBC News 24 on 9 November 1997. Sky News has had a free hand with domestic news coverage for over eight years (since 5 February 1989) and being owned by News Corporation their papers were used to criticise the BBC for extending its news output.[8]

Sky News objected to the breaking of its monopoly, complaining about the costs associated with running a channel that only a minority could view from the licence fee. Sky News claimed that a number of British cable operators had been incentivised to carry News 24 (which, as a licence-fee funded channel was made available to such operators for free) in preference to the commercial Sky News. However, in September 1999 the European Commission ruled against a complaint made by Sky News that the publicly funded channel was unfair and illegal under EU law. The Commission ruled that the licence fee should be considered state aid but that such aid was justified due to the public service remit of the BBC and that it did not exceed actual costs.[9]

The channel's journalistic output has been overseen by Controller of the channel since 16 December 2005. This was a return to having a dedicated Controller for the channel in the same way as the rest of the BBC's domestic television channels. At launch, Tim Orchard was Controller of News 24 from 1997 until 2000. Editorial decisions were then overseen by Rachel Atwell in her capacity as Deputy Head of television news. Her deputy Mark Popescu became responsible for editorial content in 2004, a role he continued in until the appointment of Kevin Bakhurst as Controller in 2005.[10]

A further announcement by Head of television news Peter Horrocks came at the same time as Bakhurst's appointment in which he outlined his plan to provide more funding and resources for the channel and shift the corporation's emphasis regarding news away from the traditional BBC One bulletins and across to the rolling news channel. The introduction of simulcasts of the main bulletins on the channel was to allow the news bulletins to pool resources rather than work against each other at key times in the face of competition particularly from Sky News.[11]

On 1 October 2012 Sam Taylor was appointed Controller of BBC News, along with the BBC News at One.[12] In 2016 the Controller positions of BBC One and BBC Two were scrapped.[13] Sam Taylor continues as Executive Editor of the BBC News Channel and the BBC News at One. One major recent defining feature of BBC News has been the programme 100 Days, later Beyond 100 Days, which Taylor was responsible for creating.[14]

The BBC Governors' annual report for 2005/2006 reported that average audience figures for fifteen-minute periods had reached 8.6% in multichannel homes, up from 7.8% in 2004/2005.[15] The 2004 report claimed that the channel outperformed Sky News in both weekly and monthly reach in multichannel homes for the January 2004 period, and for the first time in two years moved ahead of Sky News in being perceived as the channel best for news.[16]

2008 rebranding

On 21 April 2008, BBC News 24 was renamed BBC News on the channel itself – but is referred to as the BBC News Channel on other BBC services.[17] This is part of the creative futures plan, launched in 2006, to bring all BBC News output under the single brand name.[18]

The BBC News Channel moved from the Studio N8 set, which became home to BBC World News, to what was the home of the national news in Studio N6, allowing the channel to share its set with the BBC News at One and the BBC News at Ten – with other bulletins moving to Studio TC7.[19]

Logo used from 2008 to 2019
Logo used from 2019 to 2022

Move to Broadcasting House

The channel relocated, along with the remaining BBC News services at Television Centre, to the newly refurbished Broadcasting House on 18 March 2013 at 13:00 GMT. Presentation and on-screen graphics were refreshed, with new full HD studios and a live newsroom backdrop. Moving cameras in the newsroom form part of the top of the hour title sequence and are used at the start of weather bulletins.[20]


BBC News HD logo (2013–2019)

On 16 July 2013, the BBC announced that a high-definition (HD) simulcast of BBC News would be launched by early 2014.[21][22] The channel broadcasts on the BBC's new HD multiplex on Freeview. HD output from BBC News has been simulcast on BBC One HD and BBC Two HD since the move to Broadcasting House in March 2013. The channel launched on 10 December 2013 (at an early date) and rolled-out nationwide up to June 2014 (as did BBC Four HD, CBBC HD and CBeebies HD).[23]


Sophie Raworth presenting the first BBC News at One at Broadcasting House, 18 March 2013, 13:00.

Breaking news

The BBC maintains guidelines for procedures to be taken for breaking news.[24] With domestic news, the correspondent first recorded a "generic minute" summary (for use by all stations and channels) and then priority was to report on BBC Radio 5 Live, then on the BBC News channel and any other programmes that are on air. Since 5 Live's move to Manchester, this has been reversed. For foreign news, first a "generic minute" is recorded, then reports are to World Service radio, then the reporter talks to any other programmes that are on air.

A key claim made by Lord Lambert in his report had been that the channel was slower to react to breaking news compared with its main rival Sky News.[25] To counteract this, a new feature introduced with the 2003 relaunch was a "breaking news sting": a globe shown briefly onscreen to direct a viewer's attention to the breaking news.

The graphics relaunch in January 2007 saw the globe sting replaced by a red strapline to highlight the breaking story immediately.

To complement this, a permanent live news ticker had earlier been introduced in 2006: this had previously been in use only sporadically. News statements are shown as continuously scrolling upper-case text located at the bottom of the screen; some past ambiguities noted have included spelling the plural of MPs as "MPS", together with other occasional spelling and grammatical errors. The design of this ticker was slightly altered with the 2007 graphics redesign and from June turned red to indicate breaking news, as Newswatch reported viewers' confusion. The ticker was removed during trails and weather forecasts.

A new set of graphics, including a change to font style, was officially launched in July 2019 although it was broadcast in error up to a couple of months before.[26] The news ticker, which had been a long-running feature of the Channel, was replaced by a flipper as stories no longer scroll across the screen. The headlines now have a limited length and appear in full in turn. The word "BREAKING" may appear on screen and flash to indicate breaking news. Occasionally a breaking news sting may appear on the Channel to call attention to breaking news. This sting gained some notoriety in June 2017 when a technical error caused it to appear several times in a row, delaying the start of the BBC News at Ten.[27] Usually the BBC News Channel crosses over to live events, such as press conferences, without using the sting and the presenter on air introduces what viewers are seeing.

Overnight and BBC World News simulcasts

The BBC began simulcasting the channel overnight on terrestrial channel BBC One with the launch of the channel, ending the tradition of a closedown but at the same time effectively making the service available to many more viewers. In the early 2000s, BBC Two also started simulcasting the channel, although the weekend morning show Weekend 24 had been simulcast on the channel in the early days. During major breaking news events, the BBC News Channel has been broadcast on BBC One; examples of special broadcasts include the 11 September 2001 attacks, 7 July 2005 London bombings, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the death of Osama bin Laden and the death and funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.[28][29] In 2020, shared programming between BBC One and the News Channel often included the UK Government's Coronavirus Daily Update. This was usually broadcast during late afternoons when the Government made announcements.

Coverage of major events has also been simulcast on BBC World News. Currently, overnight viewers receive 25-minute editions of BBC News every hour, and on weekdays 23:00–02:00 receive Newsday, live from Singapore and from London which also includes Asia Business Report and Sport Today between 00:30 and 01:00 and also between 01:30 and 02:00 From 02:00–05:00 (00:00–06:00 on weekends) receive BBC World News. The Briefing airs between 05:00–06:00 on weekdays.

These simulcasts were expanded as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The BBC introduced a streamlined schedule and the News Channel and BBC World News now share major parts of evening and weekend coverage. From August 2020 this was changed and made permanent to 10:00 to 12:00 and on weekdays 19:00 to 06:00, with opt-outs for BBC News at Ten and half an hour at 20:30, weekends 21:00 to 06:00, apart from the evening BBC One bulletin.[30]

BBC One, BBC Two and BBC World News simulcasts

BBC Breakfast has been simulcast since launch (in 2000) on BBC One and BBC News, replacing the individual breakfast shows that had run on both channels. Since May 2006 until 17 March 2020, the simulcast generally ran from 06:00 until 08:30 during the week. Breakfast on BBC One continued from MediaCityUK until 09:15 with entertainment and features, whilst BBC News usually went to BBC Business Live until 09:00 and reverted to its traditional format from 09:00. Since 18 March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes to these arrangements. Business Live, which had become Worklife, is no longer on air. Weekdays, Breakfast now runs until 09:00 on both BBC One and the BBC News Channel and there is then an hour of news, now called the BBC News at Nine, on both channels. This continues as the first half of two hours of programming on the BBC News Channel, the second hour usually taken by BBC Two presented by Victoria Derbyshire on Mondays to Wednesdays and generally by Annita McVeigh on the other two days of the week.[31]

BBC Two simulcasts the News Channel on weekday mornings from 09:00 until 12:15 or 13:00. Coverage switches to BBC One in the form of the simulcast BBC News at One. The BBC News at One may be broadcast on BBC One only however during periods of breaking news or major announcements in the House of Commons carried only on the News Channel, if it's an international story coverage will switch for the hour to simulcast with BBC World News. A similar arrangement applies for the BBC News at Six, generally simulcast on both BBC One and the News Channel but, as ever, subject to change for breaking news for the News Channel.[32]

The BBC News at Ten began simulcasting on the channel on 30 January 2006 as part of the Ten O'Clock Newshour, followed by extended sport and business news updates. The bulletin was joined in being simulcast on 10 April 2006 when the BBC News at One (with British Sign Language in-vision signing) and BBC News at Six bulletins were added to the schedule following a similar format to the News at Ten in terms of content on the channel once each simulcast ends.

During the summer, the hour-long programme News 24 Sunday was broadcast both on BBC One and the BBC News Channel at 09:00, to replace The Andrew Marr Show, which is off air. It was presented by a news presenter, and came from the main News channel studio. The programme was made up mostly of interviews focusing on current affairs, and included a full paper review, a weather summary, and a news update at 09:00, 09:30 and 10:00. Sunday Morning Live and alternative programming now fill this slot.

From 2013, a new programme was created for BBC Two for 11:00–12:00 weekdays, consisting of 30 minutes of domestic news and 30 minutes of BBC World News. On Wednesdays, when parliament is sitting the latter is replaced by the Daily Politics for coverage of Prime Minister's Questions (PMQ). In March 2016 the channel started showing Newsnight at 23:15.

The coverage from 10:00 to 13:00 on BBC Two and the News Channel is part of three-hour block of BBC World News simulcast due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. However, by the end of 2021 the simulcast had been cut back to a single hour on weekdays, between 10:00 and 11:00 with all-morning simulcasts continuing at the weekend. BBC World News produces the three-hour BBC News/BBC World News simulcast between 19:00 to 22:00 and 23:00 to 06:00, including one edition of the Papers. From August 2020 this was changed and made permanent to 10:00 to 12:00 and on weekdays 19:00 to 06:00, with opt-outs for BBC News at Ten and half an hour at 20:30, weekends 21:00 to 06:00, these exclude BBC One bulletin [30]

Exclusive programmes

  • The Briefing – Sally Bundock with news, business, and sports from BBC News. (Currently airing unbranded as part of an hour block of BBC World News)[33]
    • Business Briefing – Sally Bundock with the latest business, economic and financial news, market updates and interviews with the key news-makers in the business world. (Currently airing unbranded as part of an hour block of BBC World News)
    • News Briefing - A look at what's making the newspaper, media websites and social media headlines, plus your need-to-know guide to the big stories coming up today. (Currently airing unbranded as part of an hour block of BBC World News)
  • The Context – The latest news from both sides of the Atlantic, presented by Christian Fraser in London (Monday to Thursday)[34]
  • BBC World News – The latest international news as they break from the BBC.
  • BBC News – The latest national and international news as they break from the BBC.
  • Newsday – Live international news from Singapore. Presented by Karishma Vaswani. Usually airs three 30-minute editions each hour from 23:00 between Sunday to Thursday.
  • Asia Business Report – Live from Singapore, the essential business news as it breaks and a look ahead to the news that will shape the business day. This was presented by whoever covered the Newsday shift.
  • Sportsday/Sport Today – All the latest sports news and results from around the globe.
  • World Business Report – The latest business news with informed analysis from the world's financial centres.
  • Business Live – Sally Bundock and Ben Thompson or Tanya Beckett with the latest business news as it breaks and a look ahead to the news that will shape the business day. With the latest news from end of trading in Asia, latest from Europe, Middle East and Americas.
  • The Papers – From around 2017, the nightly editions were usually to Clive Myrie and Martine Croxall to present lively and informed conversation about the next day's or today's headlines. Myrie has increasingly been deployed to news reporting or to coverage of flagship BBC One bulletins, while Croxall generally covered some late weekday and weekend shifts. Other News Channel presenters filled in across the week. The nightly editions are now presented by a presenter from BBC World News, and one edition simulcast on BBC World News. Croxall, and other presenters from the News Channel, do present the night-time Papers programmes as part of Saturday and Sunday evening shifts. The Sunday-morning edition continues to be presented usually by Ben Brown as part of the News Channel 09:00 to 14:00 shift. The Papers was axed at the start of 2023 ahead of the merger of the merger between the UK news channel with BBC World News.[35]

Branded programming

  • BBC News at Nine – Live from Broadcasting House in London, an in-depth look at the morning news and briefing on the day's events. This programme included News Briefing, involving a look at top stories on the BBC News website through smartphone access, but during the COVID-19 pandemic now follows a different format involving, among various presenters, Victoria Derbyshire.
  • BBC News at Five – This was an hour of news live from Broadcasting House in London, usually presented by Huw Edwards or Jane Hill, with an in-depth look back at the day's national and international news, sport and weather. The new schedule under the COVID-19 pandemic involves the BBC News at One presenter continuing on air until 16:00, replacing Afternoon Live. Another presenter then takes over and this shift is extended until 18:00. In line with much branded programming, the BBC News at Five is not currently on air.
  • Outside Source – (Monday-Thursday) Ros Atkins hosts live reports linking up with the BBC's global network of correspondents. (This was occasionally simulcast at 18:00 weekdays during major stories. It is broadcast 19:00 to 20:00.
  • World News Today – Under COVID-19, this is effectively part of the news coverage simulcast with BBC World News during the weekends (including Friday mid-evening and the approximate half hour slot from 21:00 Saturdays and Sundays). There is also a half hour programme at midnight. A news programme for audiences who want more depth to their coverage. With a focus on the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Kasia Madera, Nancy Kacungira, Lukwesa Burak and Lewis Vaughan Jones bring context and understanding to the most complex of events. It used to be broadcast at 19:00 and was also on BBC Four when Beyond 100 Days was not on air.
  • Prime Minister's Questions – Live coverage of PMQs from the House of Commons without comment or interruption.

Other programmes include:

  • BBC World News America – Comprehensive news and analysis with Laura Trevelyan. Broadcast from the BBC's Washington D.C. studio. This programme was broadcast during a few weeks of the year when daylight savings schedules of the UK and the USA ran out of sync. It is now broadcast occasionally when BBC News at Ten is running late due to programming on BBC One and sometimes shown live when broadcasting significant events are happening in the Americas.
  • Click – A guide to gadgets, websites, games and computer industry news.
  • Dateline London – Foreign correspondents based in London give their views on the week's international news.
  • HARDtalkStephen Sackur talks to newsmakers and personalities from across the globe.
  • Our World – Features the BBC's news programmes on current issues around the world. The documentaries are intended to showcase BBC journalism at its best.
  • Panorama – Current affairs programme, featuring interviews and investigative reports on a wide variety of subjects.
  • Reporters – This programme, a showcase of reports from the BBC's global network of correspondents, occasionally airs on BBC News.
  • Global Questions – The panels and contributing audiences discuss topical themes put to representatives from global politics, finance, business, the arts, media and other areas.
  • The Travel Show
  • Witness – A monthly round-up of BBC World's stories of global events told by the people who were there.

Previous BBC News programming includes Head 2 Head, Your News, E24, The Record Europe, STORYFix, Politics Europeand News 24 Tonight, a weekday evening programme which ran from 2005 to 2008, providing a round up of the day's news. It also now includes Victoria Derbyshire, which ran from 2015, the cancellation of which was announced by the BBC before the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the UK.Victoria Derbyshire. The programme had featured original stories, exclusive interviews, audience debate and breaking news.

2015 schedule changes

As part of budget cuts, major changes to the channel were announced in late 2014/early 2015. This included axing some bulletins and replacing them with Victoria Derbyshire and BBC Business Live with Sally Bundock and Ben Thompson in the morning. Outside Source with Ros Atkins – an "interactive" show already broadcast on BBC World News – aired Mondays-Thursday at (during major stories 18:00) and 21:00 and a new edition of World News Today Friday-Sunday at 21:00 (during major stories 19:00/20:00 Monday-Friday) adding to the 19:00 edition on BBC Four. HARDtalk was moved to 20:30 in May. The 00:00 edition was replaced on Sundays–Thursday with Newsday and on Friday-Saturday a standard edition of BBC World News.

BBC World News shared programming

As of 2022, 23:00–06:00 UK time, BBC News and BBC World News simulcast for the first 25 minutes of each hour with world news shown all through the simulcasts. In addition, the 10am hour on weekdays is simulcast and at the weekend, simulcasts run throughout the morning UK-time. The two channels also simulcast between 19:00 and 22:00.

On 1 October 2007, BBC World News started broadcasting BBC World News America and World News Today at 00:00 and 03:00 GMT respectively. World News Today was simulcast on the BBC News channel at 03:00 GMT. BBC World News America used to be aired as a reduced length, time-delayed version at 00:30 GMT, with ABC World News Tonight with David Muir also being shown at 01:30 every Tuesday-Friday.

From 13 June 2011, the weekday editions of BBC News at 01:00, 02:00, 03:00 and 04:00 were replaced with Newsday. The programme acts as a morning news bulletin for the Asia-Pacific region and is broadcast as a double-headed news bulletin with Rico Hizon in Singapore and Babita Sharma in London. Asia Business Report and Sport Today are aired at the back of the first three hours of Newsday. But Newsday changed to 23:00–02:00 on BBC News a year later meaning Mike Embley presents Tuesday-Friday BBC World News 23:00–02:00 with Kasia Madera on Saturdays and Daniela Ritorto 00:00–06:00 Sunday, 02:00–05:00 Friday/Monday.

BBC World News and World Business Report air at 05:00. This was previously known as The World Today, However, since November 2017 this was rebranded as The Briefing and Business Briefing on both channels and in lieu of commercials seen on the international broadcasts, the presenters gave a brief update on UK news for domestic audiences.

In June 2015, BBC News began simulcasting Outside Source with Ros Atkins on Mondays-Thursday at (during major stories 18:00) / at 21:00 and a new edition of World News Today Friday-Sunday at (during major stories Monday-Friday 19:00) 21:00. Since January 2017, they began simulcasting Beyond 100 Days (previously '100 Days and 100 Days +) Monday to Thursday at 19:00, presented from London and Washington. During August, Beyond 100 Days is replaced by another edition of World News Today.

Traditionally, during simulcasts in December, care has been taken to conceal the newsroom Christmas tree for international audiences. Normally between 24 and 27 December, BBC World News bulletins are shown hourly. From 2015, the 21:00 bulletin has always been an edition of World News Today, replacing Outside Source with Ros Atkins.


Since 5 March 2012, sports bulletins come from the BBC Sport Centre in MediaCityUK in Salford Quays, where the sports network BBC Radio 5 Live is also based.

Headlines are usually provided at 15 minutes past the hour with a full bulletin after the bottom-of-the-hour headlines. There are also extended sports bulletins per day, entitled Sportsday or Sport Today (when simulcasting with BBC World News) broadcast at 00:45, 01:45, 02:45, 03:45, 13:30, 18:30, 19:30 (weekends only), 22:30 (weekdays only). Each bulletin is read by a single sports presenter, with the exception of Saturday Sportsday, which is double headed.

The channel's sports bulletins (internally known as Sport 24) have always had a separate, dedicated production gallery, which is also responsible for the graphics.

Bulletins during BBC Breakfast are presented by Sally Nugent or Mike Bushell, with the latter also appearing on other sports bulletins on the channel. As of March 2019 the main sports presenters on the channel are Olly Foster, Gavin Ramjaun, Katie Gornall, Chetan Pathak, Katherine Downes, Tulsen Tollett, Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes and John Watson.

Until March 2012 bulletins came from the News Channel studio at the quarter to the hour. Presenters for bulletins on the channel have included: Reshmin Chowdhury, Amanda Davies, Sean Fletcher, Matt Gooderick, Celina Hinchcliffe, Rachael Hodges, Damian Johnson, Adnan Nawaz and Olympic gold medallist turned journalist Matthew Pinsent.


Before BBC News moved to Broadcasting House, an hourly business update was included during the weekday schedule from the BBC Business Unit. There were two shifts, from 08:30 to 14:00 and 14:00 to 23:00, presented by Penny Haslam, Maryam Moshiri, Ben Thompson, Adam Parsons, Susannah Streeter, Joe Lynam, Sara Coburn or Sally Eden. News Channel updates were usually broadcast at 40 minutes past the hour between 08:00 and 23:00. The 21:40 round-up was often earlier and the 22:40 bulletin is an extended round-up of the day's business news. Until May 2009, the business updates on the BBC News Channel were broadcast from one of the London Stock Exchange's studios in central London. From then until March 2013 the bulletins were provided from the channel's studio at BBC Television Centre. The business updates were axed in March 2013 as part of the BBC's Delivering Quality First plan. But after complaints returned in November 2013.[36]

Stock market updates now only appear during the quarter-to-the-hour headlines. Rachel Horne is the main presenter from 13:30 to 18:00, with Vishala Sri-Pathma, Alice Baxter, Jamie Robertson, Aaron Heslehurst and Sally Bundock. There is normally an extended bulletin at 16:45 when the main business stories of the day are discussed on Afternoon Live. Bundock and Thompson present Business Live on weekdays at 08:30. Declan Curry presented Your Money, a weekly round-up on a Saturday morning.

Alice Baxter and Sally Bundock presented World Business Report.



The channel was criticised at launch for its style of presentation, with accusations of it being less authoritative than the BBC One news bulletins, with presenters appearing on-screen without jackets. Jenny Abramsky had originally planned to have a television version of the informal news radio channel BBC Radio 5 Live, or a TV version of Radio 4 News FM both of which she had run. The bright design of the set was also blamed for this – one insider reportedly described it as a "car crash in a shower"[2] – and was subject to the network relaunch on 25 October 1999. The channel swapped studios with sister channel BBC World, moving to studio N8 within the newsroom, where it remained until 2008. New music and title sequences accompanied this set change, following the look of newly relaunched BBC One bulletins.

Graphics and titles were developed by the Lambie-Nairn design agency and were gradually rolled out across the whole of BBC News, including a similar design for regional news starting with Newsroom South East and the three 'BBC Nations' – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The similarity of main BBC News output was intended to increase the credibility of the channel as well as aiding cross-channel promotion.[37]

A graphics relaunch in January 2007 saw the channel updated, with redesigned headline straplines, a redesigned 'digital on-screen graphic' and repositioned clock. The clock was originally placed to the left hand side of the channel name though following complaints that this could only be viewed in widescreen, it was moved to the right in February 2007.[38] Bulletins on BBC World News and BBC One also introduced similar graphics and title sequences on the same day.

In 2008, the graphics were again relaunched, using the style introduced in 2007 and a new colour scheme. The typeface of the on-screen text was changed from Helvetica to Gill Sans.

In 2013 the graphics were changed again, to coincide with the move to New Broadcasting House. The typeface was changed back to Helvetica.

These were updated again in July 2019 when the BBC redesigned its on-air look with the growth of Television viewing on Smartphones and Tablets. These included again redesigned, larger headline straplines sharply contrasting with the background (drawing criticism for obscuring content) using the BBC Reith typeface with larger text. Despite this, the 2008 titles and music continue to be used for the updated Local titles.[39]

The Lambert Report

The Lambert Report into the channel's performance in 2002 called upon News 24 to develop a better brand of its own, to allow viewers to differentiate between itself and similar channels such as Sky News. As a direct result of this, a brand new style across all presentation for the channel launched on 8 December 2003 at 09:00. Philip Hayton and Anna Jones were the first two presenters on the set, the relaunch of which had been put back a week due to previous power disruptions at Television Centre where the channel was based. The new designs also featured a dynamic set of titles for the channel; the globe would begin spinning from where the main story was taking place, while the headline scrolled around in a ribbon; this was occasionally replaced by the BBC News logo. The titles concluded with a red globe surrounded by a red stylised clamshell and BBC News ribbons forming above the BBC News logo.

Bulletins on BBC One moved into a new set in January 2003 although retained the previous ivory Lambie-Nairn titles until February 2004. News 24 updated the title colours slightly to match those of BBC One bulletins in time for the 50th anniversary of BBC television news on 5 July 2004.[40]

Countdown sequence

The countdown since 2005 has shown the elements of journalism and production involved in bringing news stories to air.

An important part of the channel's presentation since launch has been the top of the hour countdown sequence, since there is no presentation system with continuity announcers so the countdown provides a link to the beginning of the next hour. A similar musical device is used on BBC Radio 5 Live, and mirrors the pips on BBC Radio 4.

Previous styles have included a series of fictional flags set to music between 1997 and 1999 before the major relaunch, incorporating the new contemporary music composed by David Lowe, and graphics developed by Lambie-Nairn. Various images, originally ivory numbers fully animated against a deep red background, were designed to fit the pace of the channel, and the music soon gained notoriety, and was often satirised and parodied in popular culture. Images of life around the UK were added in replacement later with the same music, together with footage of the newsroom and exterior of Television Centre. The 2003 relaunch saw a small change to this style with less of a metropolitan feel to the footage.

A new sequence was introduced on 28 March 2005, designed and created by Red Bee Media and directed by Mark Chaudoir. The full version ran for 60 seconds, though only around 30 seconds were usually shown on air. The music was revised completely but the biggest change came in the footage used – reflecting the methods and nature of newsgathering, while a strong emphasis was placed on the BBC logo itself. Satellite dishes are shown transmitting and receiving red "data streams". In production of the countdown sequence, Clive Norman filmed images around the United Kingdom, Richard Jopson in the United States, while BBC News cameramen filmed images from Iraq, Beijing (Tiananmen Square), Bund of Shanghai, Africa, as well as areas affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami and others.

The sequence has since seen several remixes to the music and a change in visuals to focus more on the well-known journalists, with less footage of camera crews and production teams. Changes have also seen the channel logo included during the sequences and at the end, as well as the fonts used for the time. The conclusion of the countdown was altered in 2008 to feature the new presentation style, rather than a data stream moving in towards the camera. Also in 2008, the graphic for the countdown changed, resembling BBC One Rhythm and Movement Idents, due to the logo being in a red square in inferior-left corner.

To coincide with the move of BBC News to Broadcasting House, on 18 March 2013 the countdown was updated again along with several other presentation elements. Three of the most striking features of the new countdown include music performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, a redesign of the "data streams" and the ending of the sequence no longer fading to the BBC News globe and logo, but instead stopping with a time-lapse shot outside the corporation's headquarters. The countdown was also extended to 87 seconds, which was fully shown before the first hour from Broadcasting House. In 2019, the countdown started using the BBC's new Reith font but otherwise retained the same style.

A full three-minute version of the countdown music was made available on BBC News Online and David Lowe's own website after a remix on 16 May 2006.[41]

An international version of the countdown was launched on BBC World News on 5 September 2005 featuring more international content and similar music. Various changes have been made to the music and visuals since then, with presentation following the style of BBC News. The visuals in the sequence were updated on 10 May 2010. In June 2011, further imagery was added relating to recent events, including the conflict in Libya and views of outside 10 Downing Street. In January 2013, as part of the relocation of BBC News to Broadcasting House in Central London, BBC World News received a new countdown in the same style as the BBC News Channel's updated countdown, with some minor differences.

In April 2021, a new "sombre" version of the countdown was played, with no "data streams" and slower shots of places within the UK, or in the case of the international version, timelapse shots across the world. Both were introduced to run up to programmes immediately following the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and were used again following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022.[42]

Viewing audience figures

The Daily Telegraph reported in November 2021, "BBC News reaches 370,000 for its best performing slots".[43]

See also


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  14. Forsdick, Sam (14 May 2018). "BBC News Channel executive editor: 'News channels are the oxygen of news'". Press Gazette.
  15. BBC Governor's Annual Report 2005/2006 Page 47 Archived 24 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine
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  23. "BBC to launch five new subscription-free HD channels on Tuesday 10 December". BBC. 9 December 2013. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
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  25. Getting creative breakthrough...-About BBC News TV Home
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  28. News 24 claims July victory Neil Wilkes; Digital Spy, 1 August 2005
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  31. "Home". Retrieved 27 May 2022.
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  33. "The Briefing – BBC News". BBC. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  34. "Beyond 100 Days – BBC News". BBC.
  35. "BBC Paper review axed ahead of channel merger". 30 December 2022. Retrieved 2 January 2023.
  36. "Delivering Quality First" (PDF). BBC. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  37. About BBC News TV Home
  38. "BBC News – The Editors – Fine tuning". 22 January 2007.
  39. "TV news graphics: a new look". BBC. 15 July 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  40. BBC News 24 2003–08 TV & Radio Bits
  41. News 24 'releases' countdown music – BBC News Online, 18 May 2006
  42. @chrisckmedia (17 April 2021). "Once again, so proud of everyone who delivered on a momentous and moving days. Here's the full somber countdown as seen today on @BBCNews" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  43. Armstrong, Stephen (12 November 2021). "Eamonn Holmes may not be enough to save GB News". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.


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