General Election 2010: Making It Clear

The BBC today sets out its initial plans for the forthcoming General Election.

The BBC will help the public examine the policies and manifestos of all the political parties across the UK through comprehensive and impartial coverage of the 2010 General Election.

There will be debates, analysis and special programming across TV and radio, and the BBC’s extensive election website will provide in-depth, easily accessible and up-to-date information on all policies and constituencies. The daily press conferences and visits will be broadcast live on the News Channel with expert analysis and interviews. In addition the nine departmental Daily Politics Election Debates will see top politicians go head to head debating their manifesto promises, and the BBC plans to interview the main party leaders across TV and radio output.

The BBC’s leading presenters and specialist editors will all play prominent roles throughout the election campaign. Jeremy Paxman will grill the leading politicians on Newsnight with additional shows planned for Saturdays; Nick Robinson will follow the party leaders across the UK; the Today team will be co-presenting from across the country; and David Dimbleby, together with his usual Question Time responsibilities, will chair the BBC’s Prime Ministerial Debate as well as the election Night coverage.

On election night, the BBC will deliver the most comprehensive coverage of any broadcaster. The BBC will be at every single count, providing comprehensive results coverage for the BBC TV and radio, for local programmes, and for the Election website.

On BBC One, David Dimbleby will host the Election Night programme, joined by Jeremy Paxman, Nick Robinson and Jeremy Vine and the new look Swingometer. Emily Maitlis and Peter Kellner will look at the seat by seat detail of how Britain has voted, and Fiona Bruce will provide regular news updates. Andrew Neil will host the great and the good to watch the results come in with live on the spot interviews. James Naughtie and Carolyn Quinn will present Radio 4’s Election Special.

The BBC’s election coverage will give audiences opportunities to engage with the politicians directly and express their opinions on a range of platforms at the local and regional debates and radio phone-ins, by Twitter, Facebook and user generated content, and as audience members on Newsnight’s special Saturday programmes, various radio debates, Question Time and the Prime Ministerial debate.

The election will also be covered on CBBC’s Newsround and Radio 1’s Newsbeat which will debate issues that matter to younger audiences, and the Bafta award winning children’s series Election is back for a General Election Special, broadcast on BBC One and CBBC. The BBC Asian Network is also planning on publishing the results of one of the biggest surveys of Asian voters ever undertaken in the UK.

Building on the BBC Three trail reminding viewers to register in time to vote in the election, BBC’s Business Editor Robert Peston will explain in a 60 second film how to vote which will be shown during the campaign on the channel.

The home of the BBC election coverage online – bbc.co.uk/election – will provide up- to-date coverage and in-depth guides. A constituency tracker will allow users to set a constituency as their own to get the news and results from their constituency whenever they are on the election website. There will also be a mobile mini-site providing up to date campaign news and Digital Election correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones will be assessing how big a part new social media tools and technology are playing in the campaign.

The BBC’s Nations and Regions teams will provide comprehensive coverage on local, regional and devolved issues on TV, radio and Online. Across England, there will be regional television and local radio station debates, and the BBC will hold party leader election debates in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Helen Boaden, Director of BBC News, said:

“With the polls indicating this could be the closest election in decades, the BBC’s coverage will be vital in helping the public compare and analyse the policies and choices provided by the parities and candidates standing for election. Our coverage will be clear, authoritative, and most importantly impartial.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

o Television coverage
o Radio coverage
o Online coverage
o Nations & Regions coverage
o Election night coverage

TELEVISION

* The Andrew Marr Show will be quizzing the senior politicians on the four Sundays ahead of the election.

* On Newsnight, Michael Crick will be on the road with the party leaders, Justin Rowlatt visits constituencies to see how the manifesto pledges are going down in communities, and Steve Smith will follow the battle for floating voters. Special programmes are planned for the nights of the Prime Ministerial Debates, and a live audience can quiz politicians during the Newsnight specials on Saturdays, focusing each week on a major campaign theme.

* The Daily Politics will be extended to an hour and there will also be nine departmental Daily Politics Election Debates focusing in detail on the manifestos of the main parties. The programmes will be broadcast Monday to Wednesday for the last three weeks of the campaign and will be presented by Andrew Neil and an independent policy expert or BBC specialist correspondent.

* Question Time will be broadcast live after the Prime Ministerial Debates, giving members of the public a chance to give their views on the debates.

* The Politics Show will be extended to 75 minutes, with senior political guests taking questions from live audiences up and down the UK.

* There will also be a sister programme called the Campaign Show produced jointly by the Politics Show and BBC News Channel on each weekday evening hosted by Jon Sopel.

* There will be an additional This Week each week of the campaign.

* News Channel presenters will be on the road with the main three party leaders, and the channel will cover live the morning press conferences. On Tuesdays the Channel will be visiting a specific constituency for a day of lives and a town hall debate with candidates.

* Breakfast is taking to the road during the election with presenter Bill Turnbull travelling around the UK and Sian Williams will hold the fort back in the studio.

* On Newsround, in addition to the reports featuring Nick Robinson and Jeremy Vine on the big election stories, every Friday the programme will broadcast live from one of the national capitals, where local children will join the Newsround team as guest editors, covering issues that matter in the school playground and finding out what children think the politicians should be focussing on.

* BBC Parliament will be broadcasting the morning press conferences live, and in the evening the channel will show the best of the BBC’s campaign coverage across the UK.

RADIO

* BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Today will continue to scrutinise the parties in its usual style, with presenters John Humphrys, James Naughtie, Evan Davis, Sarah Montague and Justin Webb co-presenting from across the UK throughout the campaign. BBC’s Washington Correspondent Kevin Connolly joins the team as a roving reporter to provide insights into modern campaigning, and building on the success of the Guest Editors during Christmas, Today will hear from a range of voices offering a fresh perspective on politics.

* Both BBC Radio 4’s World At One and the World This Weekend strands will be extended to an hour, and on PM, Eddie Mair will be in the chair, interviewing senior politicians whilst Carolyn Quinn hits the road. Leaders’ Election Call, chaired by Martha Kearney, will broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on six days during the campaign, giving listeners the opportunity to pose their queries to politicians. 

* On The World Tonight presenters Robin Lustig and Ritula Shah will be doing special programmes from the North of England, Scotland and Wales, and the programme will be extended on the nights of the Prime Ministerial Debates.

* On Radio 5 live, Nicky Campbell plans to interview party leaders on 5 live Breakfast, and the station will be covering the election extensively. Victoria Derbyshire will host four debates around the UK allowing listeners to challenge politicians directly, and after the election her programme will issue every new MP with a listener written MPs guidebook laying out 15 things that every MP should abide by. There will also be a special Election Fighting Talk. The station’s website will feature ‘the 5 live election story’ with audio highlights and unique journalism throughout the campaign.

* Radio 1’s Newsbeat has commissioned a national opinion poll of First Time Voters, a crucial group in this closely fought election, and will be broadcasting the results early in the campaign. Presenter Tulip Mazumdar will also be hosting 3 specially extended live programmes, where our panel of First Time Voters plans to interview the three main party leaders.

* On Radio 2, Jeremy Vine’s daily current affairs show will host a series of debates with ministers, their Conservative shadows and Lib Dem counterparts, and plans to interview the party leaders as well as leading politicians from the other parties.

* The BBC Asian Network will publish the results of one of the biggest surveys of Asian voters ever under taken in the UK in the lead-up to a General Election. Political reporter Adam Pasternicki will visit key Asian communities and candidates around the UK and there will also be a live Election Debate Special on Nihal’s phone-in show with prominent Asian politicians from the three main parties.

ONLINE, MOBILE & INTERACTIVE

* The home of the BBC Election coverage online – bbc.co.uk/election – will focus on four areas: Election News, First Time Voters, Results & Constituencies, Issues & Parties.

* The Live Page will be at the heart of the BBC’s campaign coverage, and this news stream from BBC journalists across the UK will bring users all the key events of the campaign in text and video, as they happen.

* The First Time Voter section will guide voters through the democratic process with simple-to-use guides and information; the Where They Stand application will allow users to compare where the parties stand on issues affecting them, and the Reality Check unpicks the claims made by the candidates.

* People can follow relevant localised election content on the website throughout the campaign, including the latest news relating to their areas. Users will be able to set a constituency as their own, so they can get the news and results from their constituency whenever they are on the Election website.

* Audiences can view the latest and historic polls by using the interactive Polltracker.

* During the campaign BBC News will use Facebook and Twitter to promote highlights and particular aspects of our programmes, online content and our expert correspondents. UGC will be used across the BBC’s output, offering the audience different ways to join in on-air discussions and debates, and as part of ‘If I were PM’, viewers get to tell the BBC what single thing they would do if they were in charge.

* Digital Election correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones will be assessing how social media and new technology are used in the campaign.

* There will also be a BBC News mobile mini-site providing up to date campaign news.

NATIONS

* In Scotland there will be a debate with the Scottish Leaders broadcast on TV, radio and online.  Newsnight Scotland will be extended to a 30-minute 4 nights a week election programme on BBC Two Scotland. There will also be special debates on defence and public spending, and on radio, there will be local election hustings programmes.

* In Northern Ireland, on TV, there will be two special Daily Politics programmes dealing with the constitution and the economy while BBC Newsline will have a series of special reports and live political debates. The Politics Show from Northern Ireland will feature a series of community based OBs. NI will also have an hour-long Local Leader Debate. On BBC Radio Ulster, there will be election phone-ins on Talkback plus coverage across its current affairs output.

* In Wales, two live debates in key constituencies will be broadcast on BBC One Wales, with BBC Cymru Wales also producing three Welsh language debates for S4C during the campaign. BBC One Wales will also show the Welsh Leaders Debate and two Daily Politics opt-outs will focus on devolution and economy. On the night of the Prime Ministerial debates, a special Newsnight Wales opt-out will be shown. Two hustings programmes will be broadcast on Radio Cymru

ENGLISH REGIONS

* Across England, there will be twelve 40 minute long regional television debates with politicians towards the end of the campaign, each focusing on issues that matter to the region in front of a live audience.

* Each BBC Local Radio station in England will broadcast three election programmes, with candidates taking listeners questions on local issues.

* The BBC English Regions Bus will be visiting five regions in the weeks leading up to the election – Swindon, South Dorset, Luton, Sunderland and Merseyside. The bus team will visit local factories, hospitals, colleges and community groups, and helping people to understand the election process. The content gathered by the bus team will be broadcast on local radio, regional TV and online.

* The Politics Show regional opt outs will be holding hustings with local candidates.

ELECTION NIGHT COVERAGE

* On BBC One, David Dimbleby will host the Election Night programme, joined by the best of BBC talent. Jeremy Paxman will be quizzing the politicians and Nick Robinson will have the inside track on their thinking. Jeremy Vine will be using the latest graphic technology to analyse the big picture with the greatest ever Swingometer. Emily Maitlis will be joined by Peter Kellner to look at the seat by seat detail of how Britain has voted. Andrew Neil hosts the great and the good to watch the results come in with live interviews, and Fiona Bruce has regular news updates.

* James Naughtie & Carolyn Quinn will present Radio 4′s Election Special in London. Martha Kearney, Andrew Marr, Justin Webb, Jenni Murray, Julian Worricker, Libby Purves, Ed Stourton and others will report from key constituencies and keep close tabs on those hoping to be the next Prime Minister. 

* Victoria Derbyshire and John Pienaar present 5 live’s election show.

* BBC News Online will deliver the fastest and most compelling multi-platform results service on the web, forming a home for all of the results, from nation to region to constituency, with all the background information. Full results will be shown on the Red Button and Ceefax.

* TV Election Night Results programme will be on BBC One Scotland with Jackie Bird, Glenn Campbell and Brian Taylor. On radio, the results programme is with Derek Bateman, and Radio nan Gaidheal will broadcast the Gaelic language results show.

* Election night results programme on BBC One Northern Ireland will be presented by Noel Thompson and Jim Fitzpatrick. BBC Radio Ulster’s overnight results programme will be presented by Mark Carruthers and Karen Patterson.

* On BBC One Wales election night programme will be presented by Huw Edwards, and on S4C by Dewi Llwyd. Adrian Masters and Sarah Dickins present the Radio Wales show, and Radio Cymru hosts are Garry Owen and Elin Gwilym

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