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A skipper for our flagship show

Roger Mosey | 17:56 UK time, Wednesday, 8 November 2006

We've announced today the appointment of an editor for our new Sports News programme that's going to launch on BBC Television next year. She's Amanda Farnsworth - currently editor of Daytime News, which means the One O'Clock and Six O'Clock bulletins on BBC One.

The biography on our website understandably focuses on her years in BBC News, but she's emphatically a sports fan too. Her team is the current Premiership form side - yes, West Ham United.

I've mentioned the new show before, so let me try to flesh out what it's going to be like.

First, we have a lot of sports journalism across our various platforms: hourly bulletins and longer programmes on BBC News 24, the service across Radio Five Live - and, of course, every minute of every day here on this website. But we don't have a flagship television show where all the best of our journalism can be showcased, and there isn't a place on TV where you can see the kind of interviews that we hear each week on programmes like Five Live's excellent Sportsweek.

Now, as one or two people with long memories have pointed out: we've tried some sports news programming on television before. G2 didn't really work as part of Sunday Grandstand, and I had some involvement in my News days with In The Know on Saturday morning - which rightly wasn't recommissioned. But we reckon it's relatively easy to see why that was the case. In The Know was an uneasy mix of a daytime Saturday morning programme with something simulcast by BBC News 24, so it meant that we were one of the relatively few breaking news channels in the world also to feature a keepy-uppy competition. It was, in short, an editorial mix that had turkey written all over it - and it duly turned out indeed to be a turkey.

So this time will be different. The programme will have a simple and serious purpose: to offer the best sports journalism, interviews and reporting. That doesn't mean it'll be po-faced and dull: it will also aim to capture the excitement and passion of sport. We'll look at the issues but we'll meet the personalities too. As of now, we haven't decided who the presenters or reporters will be - and we only have tentative thoughts about the format or the set or any of those issues that define the style of the programme. We'll also be debating how the tv programme links with what we offer on radio and online.

It will be up to Amanda and her production team - all of whom have yet to be appointed - to turn this all into a reality. But what there should be no doubt about is our commitment to sports journalism, as also shown recently by the appointment of Mihir Bose from the Daily Telegraph as our new sports editor - primarily working for BBC News programmes but also a likely contributor to the new show. We believe sports fans have the right to get answers to questions that concern them, and we also think that our wide range of live sports coverage will be made even more powerful by reinvigorated sports journalism.

So now it's over to Amanda - and she and I will both welcome your views.

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