'Vast majority' of BBC weather presenters to continue after MeteoGroup deal

Carol Kirkwood and George Cowling
Image caption George Cowling was the BBC's original TV weather presenter giving his first broadcast in 1954 and Carol Kirkwood presents the weather currently on BBC Breakfast

A "vast majority" of weather presenters look set to continue on screen as MeteoGroup is named as the company to replace the Met Office as the BBC's weather forecaster.

In an online blog, the project director for BBC Weather procurement, Nigel Charters, said the contract change would save "millions of pounds".

The Met Office confirmed it had lost its BBC contract in August last year.

MeteoGroup will take over in the spring of 2017.

"MeteoGroup is honoured to have been chosen to partner with the world's leading broadcaster," its chairman Richard Sadler said.

"The BBC is dedicated to offering the best possible weather service to its audience and it has been a demanding selection process."

'Much-loved presenters'

In Mr Charters' blog he said he was "extremely pleased" about the announcement.

"We have taken forward the strongest bid based on best possible service and value for money for the licence fee payer," he said.

"These services will hit your screens, from mobile to television, in spring next year. And at a time when we need to make big savings across the BBC, it will also save us millions of pounds over the next seven or so years.

"Some things won't change, though. We know how fond people are of our weather presenters. We have taken steps so the vast majority of our well-known and much-loved presenters will continue to front BBC Weather."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ian McCaskill and Michael Fish were the face of BBC weather forecasts for many years

The BBC weather app, which has seen more than 15 million downloads, will also be upgraded, Mr Charters said.

The Met Office had provided the data used for BBC forecasts since the corporation's first radio weather bulletin on 14 November 1922.

Private sector

The BBC said last August that it was legally required to secure the best value for money for licence fee payers and would tender the contract to outside competition.

MeteoGroup, which already provides weather services to Sky and Channel 4, is the UK's largest private sector weather business, with offices in 17 countries around the world.

It started out as MeteoConsult in the Netherlands in 1986 as the first major European weather business in the private sector, and its London headquarters were established in 2005.

The company PA Group, the parent company of the Press Association news agency, acquired a majority share in the MeteoGroup in 2005 and it was sold to global growth equity firm General Atlantic in 2014.

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