Samira Ahmed has thrown her hat into the ring for the role of Question Time host, publicly inviting the BBC to put her on the shortlist.
In a novel way to apply for a job, the veteran journalist and presenter of Radio 4’s Front Row programme staked her claim via Twitter.
I have 2 awards for journalism, 28 years in the broadcast news biz, including 11 at C4 News, currently presenting @newswatchbbc & @BBCFrontRow & an honorary fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford. I'm v well qualified to present @bbcquestiontime & I'd like to be seriously considered.— Samira Ahmed (@SamiraAhmedUK) June 18, 2018
Shortly afterwards, she followed up with a tweet saying a BBC manager had told her she would be considered.
I've spoken to a senior news manager and been assured that my name is now being passed on for consideration. Happy to go through a process based on equal opportunity, fairness and merit.— Samira Ahmed (@SamiraAhmedUK) June 18, 2018
Ahmed was deluged with support, with Jess Phillips, the Labour MP, responding: “Brave for daring to say you’d be good enough. It’s utterly liberating to see,” and Sue Perkins, the television presenter, saying: “Yes! You’d be an excellent choice.”
Ahmed, 50, certainly has the credentials to present a current affairs show. After leaving Channel 4 News she has worked as a freelance journalist and presenter, reporting for the BBC on general elections and presenting Radio 4’s The World Tonight, PM and Woman’s Hour.
David Dimbleby announced this week that he is to step down from Question Time after 25 years, triggering a race to secure the coveted job.
BBC presenter jobs are rarely advertised, prompting Ahmed to make her public declaration in the hope of bringing some transparency to the process.
David Dimbleby is truly great and I love working with him.— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) June 18, 2018
The next person to do @bbcquestiontime might like to remember that alternate presenters get universally savaged.
Ask Sir Robin Day's successor, Peter Sissons. By the end there was nothing left of him but his teeth.
Question Time is made by an independent production company but the high profile nature of the programme means the appointment of a new presenter will be signed off by Lord Hall, the director-general.
The corporation is under pressure to appoint a woman, following a slew of negative headlines about its gender pay gap.
Kirsty Wark has already registered her interest, saying in a recent interview: “I think there will be many people [applying] when David Dimbleby decides he doesn’t want to do it any longer. I think I will be one of them.”
Emily Maitlis, Mishal Husain, Victoria Derbyshire and Kirsty Young are also in the frame. Eddie Mair and Huw Edwards are contenders but their high salaries - Mair on £300,000-350,000 and Edwards on £550,000-599,999, although Edwards has accepted a pay cut and Mair is said to be discussing one - were the cause of many raised eyebrows when BBC pay was disclosed last year.