Long-time BBC fixture to leave after 35 years as Emily Matilis, Nigella Lawson and Clive Myrie pay tribute

‘Newsnight in its current format will end’ the veteran journalist shared

Maira Butt
Monday 15 April 2024 12:10 BST
Newsnight presenter accidentally says a guest is calling from 'Hell'

Mark Urban has revealed he will be quitting the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight ahead of imminent budget cuts.

The veteran journalist has served as the show’s diplomatic editor for over 30 years, and confirmed he hadn’t applied for another job at the broadcaster.

“I’ll be leaving the BBC at the end of May,” Urban wrote in a post on X/Twitter.

“Newsnight in its current format will end then, so most posts will go. I decided not to apply for other BBC jobs.

“Working there for 35 years has been life defining: an eyewitness to history collaborating with such brilliant colleagues. But it’s time for a change.”

The announcement led to tributes and messages from across the industry, with BBC presenters Emily Maitlis and Clive Myrie, Scoop writer and producer Sam McAlister, and chef Nigella Lawson all sharing their thoughts in response.

“Mark what a huge huge loss this will be,” wrote Maitlis. “I so loved working with you. I am very sorry you are leaving - and your catchphrase will stay with us all forever.”

“Very sad news and a big loss for us. Good luck Mark,” wrote Myrie.

Emily Maitlis, Clive Myrie, and Nigella Lawson all shared their best wishes for the veteran BBC journalist (Getty Images)

Producer McAlister, who wrote the source material that Netflix film Scoop is based on, said “Welcome to the outside, my friend.

“Thank you for always being such a brilliant correspondent of course,” she continued. “But such a cool, calm, clever colleague, who was always kind and had time for producers. And of course, a brilliant acerbic wit.”

Urban has been with the broadcaster for over 35 years (Alamy Stock Photo)

Meanwhile, Lawson added simply: “It’s our loss.”

Urban responded, “Your words mean a lot to me, thank you. Hopefully I will find other ways to share my ramblings with the world.”

The BBC previously announced that Newsnight would be cut to a 30-minute show with more than half of the programme’s 60 jobs to go in a bid to save the news division £7.5 million.

The post has since racked up over 3.6 million views and hundreds of comments, with Urban admitting that the outpouring of good wishes had moved him to tears.

“Good Lord, I’m bowled over by the replies to this. You’ve brought a tear to the eye of this old bruiser!”

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