King's Speech: BBC viewers complain as Nicky Campbell replaces Huw Edwards

Viewers complained it wasn't the same without Huw Edwards presenting the BBC live coverage

Nicky Campbell  (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Nicky Campbell hosted the BBC's live King's Speech coverage. (Getty Images)

What did you miss?

The state opening of parliament had a new host this year as Nicky Campbell fronted the BBC's live coverage – but as viewers looked forward to the King's Speech, they felt they were left missing former presenter Huw Edwards.

Journalist and broadcaster Edwards has been off air since the summer, which has meant that he is not fronting state occasions as well as being absent from his usual role on BBC News programmes.

Campbell stepped in to host Tuesday's coverage, but did not go down well with all viewers.

What, how and why?

Huw Edwards wasn't just the face of the News at 10, he also anchored BBC's live coverage of many a key event, including royal ceremonies and general elections.

Edwards has been off air since the summer after he was named by his wife as the presenter suspended over the BBC sex scandal, adding he had been seeking help for mental health issues.

Huw Edwards wears tux
Huw Edwards would usually have been the go-to broadcaster for live events, including the King's Speech (WireImage)

So when the state opening of parliament was covered on the BBC on Tuesday, marking the first King's Speech for King Charles III and the first for Rishi Sunak as prime minister, a new host stepped up to explain events to the viewers.

Nicky Campbell, who hosts ITV's Long Lost Family, is also a regular at the BBC where he has presented documentaries, consumer shows and has a programme on BBC Radio 5 Live.

But despite Campbell being a seasoned broadcaster, viewers complained that watching the state opening of parliament just wasn't the same without Edwards on screen.

Commenting on X, one viewer wrote: "Come on BBC, time to bring back Huw Edwards. No disrespect to Nicky Campbell but he is not suited to such events."

Another person agreed: "Today is the first day Huw Edwards' absence is glaringly obvious."

Someone else commented: "I wonder if Nicky Campbell will be doing the presenting at the Festival of Remembrance next Saturday night as well as the State opening today? It’s not the same without Huw Edwards. Nicky’s voice just doesn’t have the same gravitas for these sorts of occasions."

Nicky Campbell and Davina McCall hosts Long Lost Family with Davina McCall
Nicky Campbell hosts Long Lost Family with Davina McCall. (ITV)

Others were even more vocal in their criticism as one person wrote: "Today's will be the first #KingsSpeech on BBC TV for many years not anchored by Huw Edwards. I'd have expected the BBC to use one of their huge number of political and Parliamentary staff but they've gone for blandness in human form Nicky Campbell. Playing safe I guess."

Someone else added: "Just turned on The State Opening Of Parliament. Lord! The commentary is dire. This is where we miss Tom Fleming and Huw Edwards."

Another viewer joked: "Disappointed with Nicky Campbell replacing Huw Edwards. Especially when Rylan is probably sitting around doing nothing this morning."

What else happened at the state opening of parliament?

Tuesday's ceremony had huge historical significance as the first King's Speech for Charles since becoming monarch, and the UK's first King's Speech in 70 years.

He delivered his late mother the Queen's speech in May 2022 who did not attend on her doctor's advice, but his first speech in his own words was the longest since 2005.

Charles was booed by protesters from campaign group Republic as he entered Westminster, with the crowd holding up signs and banners reading "Not My King".

Read more: King's Speech