BBC appoints Fran Unsworth as new director of news and current affairs

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The BBC has appointed Fran Unsworth as its new director of news and current affairs, replacing James Harding.

It was announced in October that Harding was standing down from the role after five years.

Unsworth is currently director of the BBC World Service Group and deputy director of news and current affairs.

BBC director-general Tony Hall said: “The director of news and current affairs is one of the most demanding of any in broadcasting.

James Harding (Ian West/PA)

“News is at the very heart of the BBC. I am delighted Fran Unsworth is taking up the role. She brings a combination of excellent news judgment, authority, management knowhow and the trust of her colleagues both in news and across the BBC.”

Unsworth said: “I am delighted to lead BBC news and current affairs.

“We are living through a period of significant change at home and abroad. In a complex world, the BBC’s journalism matters more than ever.

“I am proud to lead a team of such dedicated and talented people.”

Unsworth takes up the role at the start of the new year.

The BBC (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Unsworth  began her journalistic career in 1980 in BBC local radio, joining Radio 1’s Newsbeat.

She later joined Radio 4’s The World At One and PM.

Other roles have included the BBC’s home news editor, head of political programmes and head of newsgathering.

For periods between 2012 and 2013, she was the BBC’s acting director of news and current affairs.

Unsworth was made director of the BBC World Service Group in 2014 and has overseen the biggest expansion of the World Service since the 1940s.

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