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Markyboy8128 posts since 8 Jul 2018
STV Central Reporting Scotland
Martyn also only worked three days a week? how every odd, I thought he would have done at least four, I take it wed/thursday was the recording days for that quiz he did?

Am I correct in saying that Martyn never presented with Anna?




Yes, the Six was similar to the way Channel 4 news was presented in the 90s where the main presenter would complete most interviews and the secondary presenter would mainly read.
In the early days of the virtual Six, Anna often played secondary presenter with Peter at the helm. Im sure I read somewhere that he was the only presenter she would do that with. When Martyn moved from the Nine to the Six, im confident he was never paired with Anna
62305823,381 posts since 19 Aug 2005
Was Martyn axed then in 1999 or did he leave by his own free will (possibly because of their not being enough "good news").

The BBC replaced him with Huw Edwards. He was offered a job on BBC World but decided to leave.


BBC treated some of its stuff poorly. when the time come to put them out to grase..
Woodpecker430 posts since 19 Jan 2018
Central (West) Midlands Today
Martyn also only worked three days a week? how every odd, I thought he would have done at least four, I take it wed/thursday was the recording days for that quiz he did?

Am I correct in saying that Martyn never presented with Anna?

Not that I can remember. The Six had an unusual arrangement back then in that one presenter was definitely the 'main' presenter whilst the other person was very much a 'secondary' presenter. The main presenter would always read the opening headlines etc. Martyn and Anna were both considered main presenters so I don't think they ever presented together, to the best of my knowledge, anyway.


I realise this is off topic, but I've never liked that format. I just don't see the point in having two presenters if one of them is only going to pop up for a few minutes to read the less important stories. Sky News did it during the day for a few years (and, of course, still do on Sunrise), and strangely, German broadcasters seem to use that format a lot. To me, it just doesn't make a lot of sense.

Yes, the Six was similar to the way Channel 4 news was presented in the 90s where the main presenter would complete most interviews and the secondary presenter would mainly read.
In the early days of the virtual Six, Anna often played secondary presenter with Peter at the helm. Im sure I read somewhere that he was the only presenter she would do that with. When Martyn moved from the Nine to the Six, im confident he was never paired with Anna


Having checked the BBC Genome database, it would seem Moira presented with Peter Sissons that day. I would very much guess that Peter would have led as he usually did.


He always did, because as he points out in his autobiography, he actually had it written in his contract that he would always be the senior presenter whenever he was on air. He says that Anna Ford once told him that he was the only presenter she would be willing to play second fiddle to, and he didn't have the heart to tell her she was actually contractually obliged to do that anyway.

That said, as he also points out, there wasn't much for the senior presenter to do on a programme like the Six. Other than saying good evening at the start and reading the headlines, in all other aspects they were a completely equal partnership because they would faithfully take it in turns to read a story, with no attempt made to give particular stories to any specific presenter or group similar stories together into a sequence. He says that if a story was inserted into the running order, they would still carry on taking it in turns so they would end up reading each other's planned stories for the rest of the news.

The flying fish fingers era Nine was probably the one with the most equal partnership, because one presenter got to say good evening and read the headlines at the start, but the other presenter would read the headlines and say goodnight at the end. Presumably this came about because when John Humphrys and Julia Somerville started on the Nine they were doing it on their own, and when it went double headed they didn't want either of them to feel like they'd been demoted.
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Brekkie31,684 posts since 4 Jan 2003
HTV Wales Wales Today
I realise this is off topic, but I've never liked that format. I just don't see the point in having two presenters if one of them is only going to pop up for a few minutes to read the less important stories. Sky News did it during the day for a few years (and, of course, still do on Sunrise), and strangely, German broadcasters seem to use that format a lot. To me, it just doesn't make a lot of sense.

It depends on the format but it can make a lot of logistical sense for the main host to concentrate on the top 3-4 stories, especially if interviews are involved, and a second presenter to cover the rest. A secondary presenter role is also a good way to ease in new talent too.


Personally not a huge fan of newsreaders alternating stories or even sentences, and I think that's why (along with budgets) many bulletins have become single headed.
I preferred the internet when it had a sense of humour.
Woodpecker430 posts since 19 Jan 2018
Central (West) Midlands Today
That’s a fair point - I guess I hadn’t really looked at it from a behind the scenes perspective, instead focusing on how it looks on screen. I suppose a lot of it does depend on how it’s executed on screen. For example, Heute-journal (ZDF’s equivalent to Newsnight) uses this format and it works quite well, because both presenters are introduced at the start and say goodbye at the end; in contrast, I never liked the way Sky used to do it, where the second presenter didn’t appear/wasn’t introduced in the TOTH. Though I think VTM in Belgium have an interesting take on it - sometimes one of the other presenters will come on and do an ‘explainer’ on a certain topic at one of the big screens in the studio.

I’m still not a massive fan of the format - I think with interviews it can often be better if both presenters ‘share the load’, so to speak - but I can certainly see how it has merit.

I think generally, fixed bulletins can work well with one presenter, whereas rolling news (especially during the day) is often better with two.
Last edited by Woodpecker on 4 April 2019 8:28am
Steve Williams2,747 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Was Martyn axed then in 1999 or did he leave by his own free will (possibly because of their not being enough "good news").


There was quite a big presenter shake-up in the 1999 revamp, quite a few familiar names disappeared, including Andrew Harvey and Ed Stourton. It was also the time John Humphrys finally stopped appearing, because although he'd given it up on a full-time basis when he joined Today back in 1987, for the next decade he still read the news on a part-time basis and was presumably contracted for X appearances a year.

The 1999 revamp line-up took a while to sort out, the papers were often reporting on the runners and riders - as mentioned earlier, Jill Dando might have been involved but they couldn't decide what she'd do so she decided to just leave, and I don't think Huw was the first choice for the Six either.

I do remember when Martyn Lewis stopped doing the Nine in 1993, there were stories in the papers that the Beeb were trying to put him on Breakfast News as there was nowhere else for him to go, but eventually they put him on the Six.

There's some interesting stuff in Peter Sissons' autobiography, seemingly Michael Beurk and Martyn Lewis didn't get on because they were basically left to sort out the rota themselves - as long as one of them was doing it, they didn't mind - and Beurk was convinced Lewis was deliberately getting in quickly and nabbing his preferred slots before Beurk could have his pick. Sissons says he and Beurk got on better but they still sorted out the rota themselves, leading to Sissons once having to read the news for 21 consecutive nights while Beurk went on holiday.
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VMPhil9,714 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
It was also the time John Humphrys finally stopped appearing, because although he'd given it up on a full-time basis when he joined Today back in 1987, for the next decade he still read the news on a part-time basis and was presumably contracted for X appearances a year.

That's interesting as the clip they always show on '90s documentaries is that of John Humphrys reporting on the 'Battle of Britpop'.
Steve Williams2,747 posts since 1 Aug 2008
That's interesting as the clip they always show on '90s documentaries is that of John Humphrys reporting on the 'Battle of Britpop'.


A quick jaunt through Genome points out that John Humphrys stopped reading the news in December 1986, before joining Today in January 1987, but then returned in the summer of 1989, primarily on the Six - presumably the period between Nicholas Witchell stopping and Peter Sissons joining - and from then on he made semi-regular appearances on all the bulletins for many years, perhaps unsurprisingly mostly in the summer while the regulars were away. His last appearance reading the news on Genome is in December 1998.

I remember when he was on The Frank Skinner Show, Frank showed clips of him closing the One O'Clock News on several occasions by putting his pen in his jacket pocket, then presenting him with a jacket with several dozen pens in the pocket.

As for Jill Dando, she's first billed in Genome on Breakfast Time in May 1988, which was the time they went from the presenters reading the news to the return of a proper newsreader. The first time she does the whole show is in the summer of 1989, but she progressed very quickly, presenting the Six for the first time not long after.

I’m still not a massive fan of the format - I think with interviews it can often be better if both presenters ‘share the load’, so to speak - but I can certainly see how it has merit.

I think generally, fixed bulletins can work well with one presenter, whereas rolling news (especially during the day) is often better with two.


I always like double-headed news presentation, I think it's a shame we don't have it on any bulletin at the moment because it seems a bit warmer. Of course, the high water mark of double-headed presentation was in 1985-86 when all three of the main BBC bulletins used it.
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