Friday, December 11, 2015


Helpful, circumspect tv executive Lorraine Heggessey, has been rocking them in the aisles at the Royal Television Society. She gave their Christmas Lecture on Wednesday evening, billed as the first woman to run BBC1, "known for her wit and outspoken opinions".

She recalled her start as a BBC news trainee in 1979, and her time with Newsnight as an assistant producer from 1982 to 1983. The programme, she said (as reported by the Mail), was ‘incredibly full of colourful characters’. They included a daily editor who was ‘reputed to be a gambler and a heroin addict and had to be paid in cash.’

Insiders take this to mean a daily output editor. There was some churn at the very top of Newsnight during this period, with Ron Neil as overall editor from 1981 to 1982, followed by David Lloyd from 1982 to 1983, and David Dickinson from 1983 to 1985. Heaven forfend that they would countenance payments in cash. The core presentation team over La Heggessey's Newsnight dates was Peter Snow, John Tusa and Donald McCormick.

I wonder if Director General Lord Hall recalls the period. He's credited in the Radio Times as a Newsnight producer from November 1982 to January 1983.

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