‘A huge loss’ Emily Maitlis bids an emotional farewell to colleague after BBC exit news

Emily Maitlis 'compromising herself and BBC' says Luckhurst

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Emily Maitlis, 51, has responded to her colleague Esme Wren today, as the latter announced she was leaving BBC’s Newsnight after editing the show for three years. The esteemed presenter admitted Esme’s departure would be a “huge loss” to the long-running programme.

Esme typed: “I have just announced to the Newsnight team that I will be leaving the programme and the BBC. 

“Editing the show over the past three years has been the greatest privilege of my career, working alongside some of the best talent in the industry, too many to mention…

“They are one of the most committed, tenacious, creative teams in the industry and I will miss them greatly along with all my BBC colleagues who work relentlessly hard to deliver the best content for their audience.

“I’m hugely excited to be appointed Editor of Channel 4 News and lead their fantastic team of talented presenters, reporters and producers. 

“C4 has a rich history of reporting from across the globe, leading some of the most significant investigations of our time.

“I will look forward to further growing its audience across all platforms and build on its strong heritage of speaking to young and underserved audiences. I hope to take up the post in the New Year,” she added.

Emily responded instantly, commenting: “Simply… The Best.

“A huge loss but an amazing privilege to have had you as our editor. Thank you for so much.”

Born in Canada, Emily studied English at Cambridge University and began her career in business journalism with NBC Asia. 

She joined BBC Newsnight’s presenting team in 2006 and in November 2019, she interviewed Prince Andrew, Duke of York, about his relationship with convicted American sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died in August whilst awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. 

Due in part to the disastrous fallout from Prince Andrew’s words during this interview, he later took a step back from his royal duties.

Emily was also replaced with Katie Razzall on Newsnight last year after BBC bosses noticed a “breach” of impartiality.

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BBC chiefs claimed the BBC Two programme’s lead presenter had breached impartiality rules with her opening remarks on the programme.

In her opening monologue, Maitlis told viewers: “Dominic Cummings broke the rules – the country can see that and it’s shocked the government cannot.

“The longer ministers and the prime minister insist he worked within them, the more likely the angry response to the scandal is likely to be.

“He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools, and has allowed many more to assume they can flout them.”

The footage from the episode went viral on social media, accumulating millions of views.

The statement from Maitlis angered Conservative politicians, who had previously criticised the broadcaster, and other journalists who felt it had gone against the corporation’s “impartial” approach to news.

BBC News bosses quickly addressed the furore surrounding the monologue.

The corporation said in a statement: “The BBC must uphold the highest standards of due impartiality in its news output.

“We’ve reviewed the entirety of last night’s Newsnight, including the opening section, and while we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism.

“We feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme.

“As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality. Our staff have been reminded of the guidelines.”

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