Scotland

BBC Scotland's Nine news will show 'world through Scottish eyes'

Rebecca Curran and Martin Giessler
Image caption The new programme will be mainly presented by Rebecca Curran and Martin Geissler

BBC Scotland's newest news programme - The Nine - will show "the world through Scottish eyes", according to the team behind it.

The show will launch on the new BBC Scotland TV channel in February.

The hour-long week night programme will be presented by Rebecca Curran and Martin Geissler.

It will broadcast from a permanent open-plan studio space on the 3rd floor at BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay HQ in Glasgow.

It will take in news from around the world, the rest of the UK and Scotland.

Less formal approach

Editor Hayley Valentine believed it would show "the world through Scottish eyes".

Ms Valentine, who was the executive editor of the BBC's Question Time and before that head of news for BBC Radio 5Live, said it would compete with the best news programmes made in London and the rest of the world.

She said it would be "less formal" than existing BBC news output and the "luxury" of being an hour long meant it could run longer interviews and let films "breathe".

Image caption Hayley Valentine is the editor of the new news programme

Ms Valentine hoped it would get a reputation for "original journalism" and live guest interviews that would be agenda-setting.

The news programme will broadcast Monday to Friday between 21:00 and 22:00, following the channel launch on 24 February.

On Saturdays, there will be a 15-minute bulletin followed by a 45-minute review programme.

There will also be a 15-minute Sunday bulletin.

Who are the Nine's presenters?

Ms Curran and Mr Geissler will co-present Monday to Thursday while Laura Miller and John Beattie will present the news-hour each Friday.

Ms Curran, who has been working at the BBC in Aberdeen for two years, started her career at Northsound Radio and spent three years at STV.

She said: "If anyone had said two years ago I would end up presenting a national news programme on the BBC, I would not have believed them."

But she said she could not resist the opportunity and was looking forward to the programme starting.

Rebecca Curran - 'I am thrilled to be part of this'

Image caption Rebecca Curran worked for the BBC in Aberdeen

She and Mr Geissler have known each other for a couple of years having met when they were both covering stories in Aberdeen.

Ms Curran said: "I am thrilled to be part of this programme. It is an amazing opportunity for me personally and professionally."

Mr Geissler, who was brought up in Edinburgh, was a news correspondent with ITN for 17 years and worked around the world on stories including the Iraq war, the Afghan conflict, Hurricane Katrina and the Boxing Day tsunami.

He also worked as a reporter and presenter for STV and as a correspondent for Sky Sports.

He says he had been a "hack" for 27 years and presenting a programme was a "massive change".

"I didn't think I would have been drawn to something like this until it came up," he said.

According to Mr Geissler he loved his job at ITN but felt he was ready for a new challenge.

Martin Geissler - 'Can't wait to get started'

Image caption Martin Geissler spent 17 years at ITN

Following technical rehearsals this week, he describes himself as "uncharacteristically evangelistic" about the new programme.

He says its look will be "slicker than any other TV news programme in Britain today". The journalist added that he "couldn't wait to get started".

The set, which is open on all sides, has four distinct areas for different types of presentation.

There is a central area for news reading, what Mr Geissler calls the "bar area" where interviews with correspondents can be conducted, a big screen area and a long sofa for sit-down encounters.

On screen the look will be "stripped back" and it will not be filled with ticker tape and graphics.

The look of the set will change throughout the year as natural light comes in through the skylights in the roof.

"Some weeks of the year it will get dark as we are on air," Mr Geissler said.

He admits that the new show will be starting from zero and hoping to build an audience.

He said: "We've got to deserve an audience and we've got to earn it."

"If you feel a programme speaks to you, you will be drawn to it.

"You can speak to a younger audience without alienating older people. It has to have character."

Both Mr Geissler and Ms Curran said onscreen chemistry was "very important" in making people feel comfortable with the programme.

Mr Geissler said he had been in news rooms where presenters had fallen out over who read the first line of a bulletin and was determined to have a much better relationship than that.

"I've always been mystified by that approach," he said.

Focus on appreciation

BBC Scotland's head of news Gary Smith said The Nine was part of a £7m investment in BBC Scotland news that included employing 80 journalists.

He said the new staff would work across other BBC Scotland output as well as the new programme.

According to Mr Smith, he will not be looking at ratings to decide the success of the programme and wants to focus on "appreciation".

Image caption The new permanent set is on the 3rd floor of the BBC's Pacific Quay building

The Nine will be broadcast on BBC Scotland, a brand new channel for Scotland with an initial budget of £32m a year.

It will have a prominent position on the electronic programme guide (EPG) and will be available on the iPlayer.

The channel's core broadcast hours will be from 19:00 until midnight but it will be able to transmit at other times.

The aim of the new channel is to reflect Scottish life, including the opportunity to premiere some new comedy and drama.

About 50% of shows on the channel will be repeat material.