Sergeant to 'spill the beans' in memoir of BBC years

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The Independent Online

John Sergeant, the political editor of ITN and former chief political correspondent of the BBC, has signed a six-figure deal to write a memoir that will "lift the lid" on his years at the BBC and Westminster.

Macmillan, the publisher, is believed to have paid around £130,000 for the book, which will cover his 30 years of reporting for the BBC. Sergeant, 55, left the corporation last month to take up the job of his former rival Michael Brunson.

He was understood to have become disillusioned with the BBC's emphasis on presenters' looks, and to have had a less than cordial relationship with the political editor, Robin Oakley. Georgina Morley, his editor at Macmillan, said his new position meant he was "totally free to spill the beans on the whole thing".

Ms Morley said she had pursued Sergeant for some time, after "nearly crashing her car" listening to him on a radio quiz and had beaten off competition from other publishers. She said: "He's not one for settling old scores but it will be interesting to hear his take."

ITN is said by insiders to be "very relaxed" about the project, even though it means Sergeant will only work when Parliament is sitting - an arrangement which has raised eyebrows among his colleagues.

Brunson's memoir is due out next month. In it he is understood to criticise ITV's decision to end News at Ten. Sergeant may have similar words of criticism for his old masters at the corporation but he may get some satisfaction from the fact that his advance was significantly larger than his former boss's. Sir John Birt, currently working on his memoir and management manual, received some £100,000 for his two book deal.