Advertisement

Newsnight shortened to half an hour as BBC makes £500 million budget cuts

Kirsty Wark will step down as a lead presenter on BBC Newsnight at the next election (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
Kirsty Wark will step down as a lead presenter on BBC Newsnight at the next election (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Newsnight will become a 30-minute programme as part of the BBC’s wider plans to make £500 million of savings, the corporation said.

The long-running nightly current affairs show on BBC Two will continue to air on weeknights but more than half of Newsnight's 60 jobs will go.

Last month it was announced that Kirsty Wark would be stepping down as the lead presenter of Newsnight after the next election, having presented the programme for three decades.

Wark, 68, will continue to present BBC shows including The Reunion, Start The Week on Radio 4 and documentaries, the corporation said.

Last month it was reported that the show's editor, Stewart Maclean, had announced he was leaving Newsnight to take a role with the BBC in Africa, with various outlets citing an email he is reported to have sent to his colleagues apologising for "signalling my departure at a time of such instability".

Following the announcement, BBC news and current affairs chief executive Deborah Turness said: "Like many businesses, we are in a tough financial climate and as our audiences shift rapidly from TV to online news consumption, we need to make choices about where we allocate our resources.

"While TV and radio remain crucial to BBC News, we must invest in our digital platforms to ensure they are also the home of our very best journalism, and today's package of measures will accelerate this transformation."

Former Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, who joined the BBC in 2001 and had presented Newsnight from 2006, left the corporation in February 2022 for rival media group Global, and now hosts their The News Agents podcast with former BBC colleague Jon Sopel.

During Maitlis's tenure at Newsnight, she famously interviewed the Duke of York in November 2019 when he was grilled over his relationship with the late billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Following the Newsnight broadcast and the furore over Andrew's friendship with Epstein, the duke stepped down from public life.

In 2020 the BBC ruled that a monologue Maitlis had delivered on Newsnight, about the row over Dominic Cummings' trip to Barnard Castle during the pandemic, breached impartiality rules.

The broadcaster received more than 20,000 complaints and said in a statement: "We believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality."