Commercial news broadcasters unveiled their plans for general
election coverage this week, as Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed the
poll would take place on 7 June.
ITN and Sky News outlined in detail their plans to bag the election
night audience and to command public attention in the weeks before
ITN has announced that political editor John Sergeant's regular
contributions on the ITV nightly news will form one part of a
two-pronged strategy. The other is headed by Jonathan Dimbleby, who will
host four live, audienced interviews - called Ask Tony Blair and the
like - with party leaders.
Dimbleby will maintain his Sunday lunchtime slot covering issues such as
health, crime, Europe and involving figures from the major parties.
His final offering will be a 'campaign diary' to be broadcast after 7
Sky News political editor Adam Boulton will present two one-hour live
programmes - The Boulton Factor - at seven and 11 each evening. He will
also leave London to film Election Forums - public debates to be aired
each Friday evening from Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Milton
On election night, Boulton will anchor the coverage. As in 1997, the
Dimbleby brothers will go head to head on ITV and the BBC (the latter is
home to elder brother David).
The BBC confirmed earlier this year that its election night coverage
would be anchored by David Dimbleby. Despite this, and its use of Jeremy
Paxman and elections expert Anthony King, the BBC stressed most outside
broadcasts would be fronted by women.