BBC North West Tonight viewers launch petition to keep presenters

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Viewers have launched a petition to get the BBC to reverse a decision which would see local news programmes hosted by a single presenter.

Yesterday, BBC England announced plans to transform its local and regional operations. This will see 450 jobs go across the country as part of wider plans to save £25m by March 2022.

The proposal states that the 6.30pm bulletins on BBC One will have one presenter, so “the bulletins are consistent across England and in line with the rest of BBC News.”

Local radio will continue the “simplified schedule” introduced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning each station will only have 3 daytime shows and these shows will have only one presenter.

The petition on change.org is asking the BBC to “Keep the North West Tonight family together.”

“BBC England have announced that regional news programmes will only have one presenter- this means that Roger and Annabel (with Owain!) in the studio together may be a thing of the past- we can’t let this happen! North West Tonight is a community show- it isn’t just news, and the presenting team make it feel like home. Don’t let them take this away especially after the way they have pulled the community together during the pandemic - it’s cruel and unnecessary to change a winning format in the name of cuts. This is an award-winning show- why mess with it? Totally unnecessary change from a corporation that is supposed to be moving away from London- this is completely going against that and effectively spells the end of regional programming on the BBC as we know and love it.

“We all tune in every night at 6.30 and whilst they’ve been restricted during the pandemic we’ve been counting the days till the team are back together- please don’t stop this from happening! Save North West Tonight- we need Roger, Annabel and Owain!”

The BBC is now in consultation with all the staff concerned.

Former BBC North West Tonight presenter, Gordon Burns said that in the North West, Annabel Tiffin and Roger Johnson were having to apply for the one job:

 

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The BBC, which was already seeking £800m of savings over the next 5 years, has estimated an additional £125m of lost income this year, due to the Coronavirus. It has also invested in the “biggest ever” education offering, to help children during the lockdown.