Jackie Bird reveals she has quit Reporting Scotland

Jackie Bird has bowed out as the main face of the BBC's Reporting Scotland programme after 30 years.

By Brian Ferguson
Friday, 12th April 2019, 11:36 am
Updated Friday, 12th April 2019, 12:24 pm
Jackie Bird has presented Reporting Scotland for the last 30 years.
Jackie Bird has presented Reporting Scotland for the last 30 years.

One of Scotland's best known broadcasters, Bird presented her final programme last night without most of her colleagues knowing she was bowing out.

Bird, who presented her last programme at 6.30pm on Wednesday, insisted she would not be leaving the BBC, but wanted to pursue other current affairs programmes, including investigations and in-depth interviews.

She has announced her departure less two months after the long-awaited launch of BBC Scotland's new flagship news programme, The Nine, which is presented by Rebecca Curran and Martin Geissler.

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Bird said her commitments to Reporting Scotland had meant she was not able to work on other projects, but she admitted she was still apprehensive about leaving the programme.

Bird, who is also well known for presenting BBC Scotland's Hogmanay coverage and its Children in Need programme, said she was also keen to write for TV and radio.

She said: "There's never been a better time to get involved in new TV and radio programmes in Scotland but being committed to Reporting Scotland for so much of my working week simply didn’t allow me the time.

“I’m actually apprehensive about making such a big change - even last week I considered changing my mind and staying, but it’s something I have to do.”

Jackie Bird has also been the long-time host of BBC Scotland's Hogmanay programme.

"I’m not leaving the BBC, I’m just vacating the news desk.

“I've been fortunate to cover most of the major news stories in Scotland over the last 30 years.

“I’ve been planning this for a while. I thought I’d give it until Brexit was sorted, but I fear I might have to stay for another 30 years.

“I’ve been privileged to be involved in so many memorable news events, from seismic political changes to reporting live from Afghanistan. I’ve presented the programme from Washington to Westminster and last year anchoring from France on the centenary of the Armistice was an honour.

“None of this would have been possible without some tremendous colleagues - and it’s them that I will miss most, but it’s time to move on.

Gary Smith, head of news at BBC Scotland, said: "Jackie is one of the most talented and committed journalists I’ve ever worked with. Her passion and energy for the job are unsurpassed.

“As a TV news presenter, she is the ultimate professional, who copes supremely well with whatever comes her way.

"She’s also great fun. For many in the newsroom - and the audience across the country - she just IS Reporting Scotland. I’ll miss her, the team in the newsroom will miss her, Scotland will miss her."

BBC Scotland director Donalda MacKinnon said: "I've had the pleasure of working with Jackie for many years now and it's been very reassuring for me and for many of us that she's been at the helm of the country's most watched news programme.

"She's a brilliant journalist and multi-talented broadcaster who will, I hope, continue to work with us here at BBC Scotland.

"She was an inspiration to many female colleagues particularly during her earlier years when newsrooms were largely dominated by men. I am certain that she will continue to inspire and influence in all she does next.”