Media Society Event: Election night TV

The title: WHO WON THE TV ELECTION ON THE NIGHT? The guest speakers: all four editors of election night TV programmes.

Sam Woodhouse from the BBC,  Alex Chandler from ITV,  Cristina Nicolotti Squires from Sky and Ian Rumsey from Channel 4 / ITN productions.

The very hot and sticky room at the Groucho club on Monday 26th June was packed with people and we all struggled to clap to welcome the expert panel while holding our glasses of wine.

This is short. Here are my three take away points.


Each editor wanted to make clear what they hoped their own programmes USP was.

Here is the full description of each election night show incase you need your memory jogged.

  • The BBC editor said their election night programme was all about the election being a big national event with no gimmicks, no misplaced humour, just a huge studio with expert analysis and high quality journalism and graphics.
  • ITV’s editor talked about ‘Osballs’ and their incredible guest bookings. He revealed that it was Tom Bradby’s connection with George Osborne and Ed Balls that persuaded them to appear on ITV. Alex Chandler also highlighted how ITV declare results faster than BBC because their journalists often know the result before the returning officer makes their announcement, and unlike the BBC, they reveal as soon as their journalist believes they know rather than waiting for the official on stage announcement.
  • Sky’s editor spoke about how they wanted to be out and about rather than studio based and explained the Sky 250 project which meant the broadcaster could be live at 250 declarations across the country.
  • And finally Channel 4’s editor explained that they have less resources but went for an alternative election night TV show with entertainment as well as politics, good commentators and saved money by not opting in to the exit poll, something which was criticised.


The chair, Phil Harding, pointed out that all the lead anchors on BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 were men. Cristina was the only female editor on the expert panel too. However, the consensus seemed to be that things are slowly getting better with Laura Kuenssberg’s brilliant analysis as the BBC’s political editor, ITV’s talented Allegra Stratton and Sky’s superb Sophy Ridge.


Lewis Goodall, who Cristina said was outstanding on Sky.

Andrew Neil … will he be the next host of the election results programme on the BBC?


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