Allow Huw Edwards to Remain Sitting

The BBC has changed its News studio.  Studio B at New Broadcasting House is the new home for the News at Ten, bringing with it a bigger space for the presenters to move around; a catwalk stage; large visual backdrops; and interactive, touch-screen technology.

Do I like it?  No.

Why not?  Well, I’ll tell you.

For me, News at Ten is all about Huw Edwards sitting behind a desk.  I don’t want to see Huw Edwards standing, and walking, and pressing things; I don’t want to even see his legs; I want to see him sitting behind a desk in his familiar pose: leaning slightly to the right, hands on desk, right arm bent, left arm extended.  It is a reassuring pose.  It signifies strength and reliability, no matter how troubled the ensuing news may be.  It looks like a speed skater ready to push off prior to a fast circuit; or a matador preparing to flourish his cape in front of a charging bull.

But the Huw Edwards stance may be a thing of the past.

I should have been warned.  The status quo had already begun to show signs of change.  Already during this past year, we have had poor Huw shivering in a suit during outside broadcasts in Belfast and in Cardiff and standing outside Number 10, when you feel he should be wrapped up snug in a warm overcoat or, better still, back behind his familiar desk, stance unaltered.  Good God, when you’re past sixty, you don’t want to find your job suddenly getting more energetic; you want a nice comfy chair, slightly reduced hours, perhaps bring a few china ornaments from home into the office.

There is a touch of the Alan Partridge about the new studio.  Despite it rumoured to have cost over 5M to revamp, it all looks rather like a temporary pre-fab stand at the Ideal Home Exhibition, and the touch-screens bring back memories of Tim Key’s inept Simon Denton on This Time, struggling to cope with the conflicting technologies.

In truth, I never very much liked the look of the set of News at Ten when it was back in Studio E, but there, at least, there always was the interest of watching what some of the behind-the-scenes journalists were doing in the background: eating a sandwich; packing their bags to go home; rushing across the set in a panic.  It felt like a busy Newsroom at work.  What the viewer witnessed on screen only being the ten percent of the News iceberg, which appeared above water.

But, in front of it all, you could always rely that there would be Huw.  Cool, dignified, calming, ready to face off any charging bulls.

© Stephanie Snifter

Stephanie Snifter likes a nice, comfy seat from which to voice her opinions.

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