BBC Breakfast starts in Salford
Bill Turnbull and Susanna Reid presented the first BBC Breakfast in Salford on Tuesday after the programme's move from London Television Centre.
In doing so, they helped make tv history as the show is now the longest daily programme outside the capital for a main UK tv channel.
More than three hours of live BBC One output will come from Salford everyday as the corporation seeks to connect better with audiences across the UK.
However deputy editor Adam Bullimore, who oversaw the relocation, told Ariel the move will not change the tone of the show. 'Breakfast has a special place with its audience because of the time of day it's broadcast…the core editorial elements of the show will stay the same.'
Most of the presenters have remained including Charlie Stayt, Louise Minchin, business presenter Steph McGovern, and Mike Bushell and Sally Nugent on sport. Sian Williams and Chris Hollins left the programme last month after deciding not to move north for personal reasons.
Carol Kirkwood will continue to present the weather, but from the BBC weather centre in London or on location for outdoor broadcasts. Overall, around 60 editorial staff have moved to the BBC North hub.
As with other London-Salford department transfers such as Children's and Sport, Bullimore says: 'It was a difficult decision for everybody and along the way we've lost some long-standing, popular and very skilled members but on the other side we've hired some fantastic new people who are absolutely thrilled at the prospect of working here.'
The move means that Breakfast, which draws around 1.5m viewers daily, is now the first BBC news programme made in high definition. But the relocation has attracted criticism over whether high-profile guests will travel to the studio in northern England.
- The Queen officially opened the BBC North hub on March 23 (above)
- Live output from Salford includes CBBC, Radio Manchester and 5 live, plus sport bulletins for BBC News Channel and World News
- Breakfast news output has been on BBC One since 1983 with the current BBC Breakfast launched in 2000
- Salford staff are split evenly between movers from London, the former BBC Manchester and new joiners
'The early indications are that we can get talent to the sofa in Salford,' says Bullimore. 'We've been booking guests for a couple of months and talent does come. But I think you've also got to remember that Breakfast is more than about a celebrity or two at the end of the show…quite often, the most interesting people are ordinary members of the public who have got a great story to tell.'
He adds that, as with the previous set-up in west London, most politicians will be interviewed down-the-line from the Millbank studios in Westminster. 'I think the party leaders will appear on the Salford sofa as much as they did in London…David Cameron probably sat on our sofa once or twice a year in London and I think he'll now combine it with visits he's making to the area anyway - that's the sort of practical reality of political news.'
BBC Breakfast now shares the same set as North West Tonight, with new energy-saving lighting using a tenth of the power in their previous London and BBC Manchester studios respectively. Technical staff on both shows have merged into a new team that also delivers Late Kick Off and Sunday Politics North West, and the last few months have seen staff trying to iron out teething problems with pilot runs in the past fortnight.
'There are always a few frustrations but there were frustrations in the London set-up as well,' says Bullimore. 'That's the nature of a very complex thing like making a television programme - you're always going to have the odd thing that crops up but part of our job is making sure that nothing shows on air.'
BBC Breakfast's arrival at Salford marks the end of the first migration wave of staff to the BBC North hub, which opened last May and now hosts around 2300 staff. Another 1000 posts, including BBC Three, will move to the offices at MediaCityUK by 2016 as outlined in the DQF plans.