Craven returns for birthday of children's news show

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The Independent Online

John Craven, the first and longest-serving presenter of the BBC's children's programme Newsround, returns as its front-man today to mark its 30th birthday.

The broadcaster, who anchored the show from 1972 until 1989, will co-present a programme looking back over the past three decades and presenting the news of the day.

He will front the anniversary edition alongside Becky Jago, the latest recruit to the award-winning show. Other presenters have included Juliette Morris, Krishnan Guru-Murthy and the late Helen Rollason. Its straightforward coverage of world events, from child soldiers in Rwanda to the events in New York on 11 September, has come to be regarded as a model for television news.

An insider said one member of staff who left recently to move into "adult" news had expressed concern at making the transition, only to be reassured that the clarity of the Newsround approach would be fine.

Nigel Pickard, the controller of Children's BBC, said: "Newsround is unique in the history of children's television in being the only daily news service for this audience. In its 30-year history, not only has it broken a series of exclusives, but it has been the training ground for some of today's best-known television presenters."

The programme claims to have beaten other British television news broadcasters to be first with the news of events including the 1986 Challenger shuttle disaster, the attempt on the Pope's life in 1981 and the Hungerford massacre in 1987. The programme won the only interview with the author J K Rowling in advance of the release of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone film.

Since 1979, the programme has also created Newsround Extra, special reports exploring topics in greater depth. These have won awards including an International Emmy in 1996 for a report on young victims of the war in Bosnia.