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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Presenters Armstrong, Pearson and Backshall survive Border TV axe

Popular presenters Tim Backshall, Fiona Armstrong, John Bevir and Helen Pearson are set to survive the changes at Border TV’s Lookaround programme.

Border TV presenters photo
From left, Fiona Armstrong, Tim Backshall and Helen Pearson

But the station’s long-established headquarters at Durranhill, Carlisle, will be axed as part of the ITV cuts – and the building may be put up for sale shortly.

A news gathering centre will be created at another location in the city while reporters will also work from other bases across the region, including Whitehaven.

Border bosses are still finalising details of presenters who will anchor Lookaround once it effectively becomes a 15-minute programme broadcast from studios in Gateshead.

But the News & Star understands that well-known faces such as Tim Backshall and Fiona Armstrong, who have been there for many years, will continue to feature alongside more recent recruits such as John Bevir and Helen Pearson.

Catherine Houlihan, now head of news of ITV Tyne Tees and ITV Border, said: “Lookaround will continue to serve Cumbria and the South of Scotland with a talented team bringing local stories that matter to viewers into their homes.

“We’re committing to at least 15 minutes a night of ‘Border-only’ news in Lookaround – that said, the entire show will be entertaining, informative and relevant to viewers across the whole region and I’m sure our loyal viewers won’t be disappointed.

“The new programme won’t be as different to Lookaround now as some people expect, but as ever, I’ll listen carefully to what the viewers have to say.

“The Border news bureau will be well resourced – Carlisle will have its own dedicated satellite truck and the team can draw on up to 10 cameras across Cumbria and South Scotland on any given day.

“Reporters will be closer to Border communities and will have bases, not only in Carlisle, but also in Whitehaven, Kendal, Dumfries, Selkirk and Edinburgh. There will also be a reporter based in Northumberland.

“ITV is committed to having a high quality, well resourced news service and we are confident that the mix of news, sport and features will continue to be informative, entertaining and relevant to the Border audience.

“Whilst we are closing the old Border studios and moving to new digital bureau, we believe our resources are better deployed in using the latest broadcast technology to enable us to have more ability to report live from a news story than we have done before.”

All of this is subject to Ofcom approving ITV’s cost-cutting proposals which will see about 50 people lose their jobs at Border and many other redundancies across the country.

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