Channel 4’s Sarah Smith joins the BBC

Sarah Smith Sarah Smith started as a BBC trainee in Scotland and Northern Ireland

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Channel 4 news presenter Sarah Smith has been appointed to a new role at the BBC's referendum unit in Glasgow.

She will host Scotland 2014, a new programme that will replace BBC Two's Newsnight Scotland - often known as Newsnicht - in the spring.

Smith is also the business correspondent at Channel 4 News, and has worked in the US, covering the election of President Obama and the Haiti earthquake.

She presented More4 News when it launched in 2005, and was previously the channel's Scotland correspondent when she reported on the first elections to the Scottish Parliament and the Lockerbie trial.

Her new role will see her return to BBC Scotland, where she began her career as a graduate production trainee on Good Morning Scotland, and on Spotlight and Inside Ulster at BBC Northern Ireland.

After moving to London, she became a researcher and producer on Public Eye, Here & Now and Newsnight before joining Channel 5 News as an on-screen reporter in 2006.

Smith will also appear on Radio Scotland as part of her new role and said she was "looking forward" to returning to BBC Scotland.

"It is a great privilege to have spent the last 15 years working on Channel 4 News, one of the best news programmes on television. But it is impossible to resist the opportunity to return to Scotland at this crucial time."

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Scotland 2014 will start broadcasting on BBC Two Scotland in May. It will air at 10.30pm on Mondays to Thursdays, before the channel shows the UK edition of Newsnight.

The new 30-minute programme will be edited by Marcus Ryder, who moves from his current role as investigations editor.

Laura Bicker in front of the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood Laura Bicker has been appointed as referendum correspondent

He said: "Our aspiration is very much to provide the definitive account of stories that well-informed Scots need to know about - and I'm delighted that we've got Sarah anchoring the programme."

The BBC has also appointed Laura Bicker as a referendum correspondent, while former Herald reporter Lucy Adams becomes a political correspondent. Colleta Smith will also move from BBC Northern Ireland's business unit to become an economics correspondent in Glasgow.

John Boothman, head of news at BBC Scotland, said the new appointments "strengthen a team that is already producing a wealth of content to keep our audiences engaged and informed as we approach polling day in the referendum".

He also paid tribute to the Newsnight Scotland team: "Since it came on air, Newsnight Scotland has consistently produced journalism of the highest quality and the talents of that team will continue to enhance other parts of our news output."

The BBC announced last year that it was investing an extra £5 million into coverage of Scotland's independence referendum on 18 September.

Around 50 temporary roles are being created to support increased programming.

Scotland is also hosting this summer's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The event will run from 23 July to 3 August.

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