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BBC cuts long-serving presenters in news channel merger

Jane Hill - Andrew Crowley
Jane Hill - Andrew Crowley

Jane Hill and Martine Croxall are among 10 BBC presenters to have lost their jobs as the corporation overhauls its rolling news channel.

Ben Brown, Shaun Ley and Geeta Guru-Murthy have also been told that their services are no longer required.

The broadcaster is merging the BBC News Channel and BBC World News into one service, with only five anchor roles available.

The five chosen presenters have been announced: Matthew Amroliwala, Christian Fraser, Yalda Hakim, Lucy Hockings and Maryam Moshiri. Their title will be “chief presenter” and they are expected to receive significant pay rises.

The broadcaster appears to have chosen presenters who are familiar to international audiences. Ms Hill and Ms Croxall broadcast predominantly to British audiences on the BBC News Channel.

Matthew Amroliwala - Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs/Getty Images
Matthew Amroliwala - Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs/Getty Images

When the merger was announced, 18 presenters were required to audition for the five roles.

Three presenters quit ahead of the audition process - Joanna Gosling, David Eades and Tim Willcox.

The 10 presenters who missed out will now have to look for new jobs. A BBC source said that the broadcaster would be “working to identify opportunities” within the corporation, but it is expected that at least some of them will have to find work elsewhere.

Guru-Murthy tweeted from the BBC studio this morning: “On air now… catch me whilst you can!”

The BBC said: “The five chief presenters announced today were recruited via a competitive interview process in accordance with BBC HR procedures.”

Deborah Turness, the new head of BBC News, said she was “thrilled” to announce the five faces of the new channel.

“This team’s editorial leadership, talent, knowledge and flair make them the ideal presenters and to bring the BBC’s trusted journalism to people at home in the UK and around the globe, and to guide audiences through the big stories as they break,” she said.

The new channel will be anchored from London during the day, and from Washington DC and Singapore overnight. It is due to launch this spring.