politics

Sky's Beth Rigby: The woman shaking up Westminster

Beth Rigby (Credit: Ali Painter/Sky)

Beth Rigby is the stand-out political broadcaster of our times. This is despite the former print journalist having been on our screens for only three years. No one asks the acute, no-nonsense yet empathetic questions like the new political editor of Sky News. And no one does it in her accent.

She drops so many Gs that Rigby dreads party conferences in Birmin’ham. We worked together on the Times, where she was a scoop-winning media editor – and when I saw her first steps on Sky News I knew, as her bosses obviously did, that a star had been born.

Gary Gibbon’s TV Diary

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Parliament is “a sick house” right now. That’s not a comment on the politics of the place but a diagnosis by Philippa Whitford MP, the Commons’ most senior medical figure. The SNP politician has a long career as a cancer surgeon behind her, and MPs aware of her medical background have been bending her ear to tell her of their anxiety issues.

Whitford says sleepless nights and persistent stress are rampant and she’s had MPs telling her of their inability to process information as a result.

Sky announces new political drama COBRA

COBRA (Credit: Sky)

Set in the halls of Westminster, the series follows Prime Minister Robert Sutherland (Robert Carlyle) and his Chief of Staff Anna Marshall (Victoria Hamilton) as they try to deal with a national emergency.

The pair must bear attacks from their political opponents, face family pressures and lead the COBRA committee, a team of experts and politicians, to ensure the nation’s safety.

General Election 2017: Why TV needs to change

At 10:00pm on 8 June, I was in a studio watching a live election-night show produced by two media companies that are going to be a big part of the future of political broadcasting. Neither of them were TV brands.

As the shock exit poll result came out, the two presenters, with a combined age about half that of David Dimbleby, reacted with squeals of surprise. This was all very un-Reithian.

Sophy Ridge, the woman changing on-screen politics

On election night in October 1974, the BBC’s anchorman, Alastair Burnet, announced a “welcome new addition” to the presenting team, Sue Lawley.

At least part of the reason for her welcome was that she was the first woman to play an on-screen role in a British election results studio.

Things have moved on, if not at breakneck speed. Emily Maitlis was again booked to be on the BBC’s set on 8 June. And, for the first time, a woman, Mishal Husain, was to play the Robin Day/Jeremy Paxman inquisitor role.

On ITV, Julie Etchingham was due to anchor – but only on day two.