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The BBC News at Six is the evening news programme broadcast Monday to Sunday on British television channel BBC One and the BBC News channel from 18:00 until 18:30. For a long period the News at Six was the most watched news programme in the UK but since 2006 it has been over taken by the BBC News at Ten. On average it pulls in 4 million viewers.

Currently its main presenter is George Alagiah and its Friday presenter is Fiona Bruce, with other BBC News presenters Sophie Raworth, Huw Edwards and Sian Williams all regularly presenting.


The original programme titles, from 3 September 1984 to 11 April 1993.
The programme launched on 3 September 1984, replacing early evening news magazine Sixty Minutes and was originally presented by Sue Lawley and Nicholas Witchell. Both presenters have since moved on to other positions within BBC News and the BBC itself. Jeremy Paxman, who went on to present Newsnight in 1989, was relief newsreader from 10 September.

In 1988, the Six O'Clock News studio was famously invaded during a live broadcast by a female group protesting against Britainmarker's Section 28 (a law against the promotion of homosexuality in schools). Witchell famously grappled with the protesters and is said to have sat on one woman, provoking the memorable front-page headline in the Daily Mirror, Beeb man sits on lesbian.

On 10 May 1999, the bulletin was relaunched, along with the rest of the BBC News programme and the new presenter was Huw Edwards with Fiona Bruce as the deputy presenter. Both Edwards and Bruce left the Six O'Clock News in 19 January 2003 as main presenter.

On 20 January 2003, as George Alagiah and Sophie Raworth took over, the bulletin was relaunched along with the rest of BBC One's news bulletins. During Raworth's first maternity leave in 2004, Sian Williams stood in for her for over the six months. However, during Raworth's second maternity leave at the end of 2005, Natasha Kaplinsky stood in, originally as a temporary measure. As part of a presenter reshuffle in April 2006, Kaplinsky was confirmed as the new full-time presenter. Sophie Raworth was later named as the main presenter of the BBC News at One. Raworth is now a regular presenter on the News at Six and BBC News at Ten, covering for main presenters during their absences.

Since April 2005, the programme has formed the first half hour of the Six O'Clock Newshour on the BBC News Channel. The subsequent half hour consists of business and sport updates presented from within the News channel studio by one of the News Channel presenters. As before, the bulletin still completes at 18:30 before splitting off to regional news programmes on BBC One.

A 90-second update at 20:00 is broadcast on BBC One on Monday to Sunday. This consists of 60 seconds on national and international news, followed by another 30 seconds focusing on regional news.

On 5 October 2007 it was announced that Natasha Kaplinsky was to leave the BBC to replace Kirsty Young on Five News, taking up her new role on 18 February 2008 presenting two half-hour evening bulletins. She left at the end of the Six O'Clock News on the same day.

For a while Sian Williams filled in as co-presenter, but on 3 December 2007, the programme went single-headed, with George Alagiah as main presenter, and Sian Williams as deputy presenter. A few months into the new arrangement Fiona Bruce took over from Sian as the main Friday presenter.

In 4 February 2008, the programme moved studios, from N6 to TC7, as part of a restructuring across BBC News. On 21 April 2008 the programmes, along with the rest of BBC News, underwent a refresh, taking on new titles and a new set as well as being renamed the BBC News at Six.In Summer 2008, Matt Frei became only the second news reader who does not speak English as a first language to read a major bulletin on English Television, when he filled in for Alagiah for a week.


Weekday Presenters

The News at Six team currently consists of:
Years Presenter Current Role
2007-present George Alagiah Main Presenter, Monday to Thursday
2008-present Fiona Bruce Friday Presenter and Relief Presenter
2008-present Sophie Raworth Main Relief Presenter
2009-present Huw Edwards Regular Relief Presenter
2004-present Sian Williams Occassional Relief Presenter
2009-present Emily Maitlis Occassional Relief Presenter
2009-present Kate Silverton Occassional Relief Presenter

In addition to the above presenters, Matt Frei of BBC World News America occasionally presents the programme, either from London during holidays or on location.

Weekend Presenters

At the weekends, the evening bulletin is branded simply BBC News, as it airs at no set time.
Years Presenter Current Role
2009-present Kate Silverton Main Saturday Presenter
2009-present Joanna Gosling Regular Saturday Presenter
2009-present Ben Brown Regular Saturday Presenter
2004-present Matthew Amroliwala Regular Saturday Presenter
2009-present Simon McCoy Regular Saturday Presenter
2009-present Nicholas Owen Regular Saturday Presenter
2007-present Louise Minchin Regular Saturday Presenter, Sunday Relief Presenter
2004-present Jane Hill Regular Saturday Presenter, Sunday Relief Presenter
2005-present Mishal Husain Main Sunday Presenter
2006-present Emily Maitlis Regular Sunday Presenter
2009-present Riz Lateef Occasional Weekend Relief

Former presenters

If there is no position before the years of being a presenter, then this newsreader was either a relief presenter or occasional guest stand-in presenter.


Unlike the other BBC News bulletins, which are broadcast from the BBC News Channel (Studio N6), the BBC News at Six is broadcast from TC7 of BBC Television Centremarker, also the home of Working Lunch, Newsnight, Newsround, The Politics Show and The Andrew Marr Show . The current design of set was introduced in May 2006, the latest design of titles in April 2008. The programme is occasionally broadcast from the BBC News Channel Studio (N6)

Within the last few minutes of each bulletin, a full national weather forecast is presented by Dan Corbett, Alex Deakin, Nick Miller, Susan Powell or Louise Lear of the BBC Weather Centre.


The bulletin has been accused of being an example of the BBC 'dumbing-down' with more consumer led reports and dynamic presentation. In particular, in 2006 the then Commons leader Jack Straw berated the show's presenters for "prancing around the studio".

The BBC defend the format as they believe that the body language and integration of presenter and graphics increases the viewer's understanding of the news.

The bulletin has also been accused of having an English perspective on the news in terms of items covered and priority each news item is given. There have been calls in Scotland for a separate 'Scottish Six' that would combine Scottish, British and international news items to create a news programme from a Scottish perspective. The idea was rejected by the BBC in 2003 after a series of public meetings and a poll showed that 38% favoured the idea, as opposed to the 45% that wanted no change. However, the SNP have continued to call for the change.

See also


  1. News Viewing Figures
  2. "George Alagiah to be sole presenter of Six O'Clock News" - BBC Press Office
  3. Fiona Bruce biography - BBC Press Office
  4. Radio Times September 8-14, 1984
  5. [1]
  6. 'Prancing' BBC News hosts berated BBC News Online; 18 May 2006
  7. Newswatch BBC News
  8. 'Scottish Six' idea rejected
  9. SNP call for 'Scottish Six'

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