How to watch the general election results on TV on Thursday

Hannah Daly
Several debates have taken place over the last few weeks, but the general election TV coverage is not over yet. Here's everything you need to know, including channels and times to tune in. - REX

The December general election is just a few days away.  Over the last few weeks, the UK political parties have been preparing for polling day, with candidates promoting their campaigns across the country and leaders participating in several live TV debates and interviews.

But the general election TV coverage is far from over. After polling stations close, the main TV channels will begin covering the exit polls, results and reactions from members of the public throughout the night of Dec 12 and morning of Dec 13.

From hour-by-hour reporting to in-depth analysis and discussions, here is everything you need to know about the general election TV coverage, including all the participating channels and the times to tune in. 

Which TV channels will be reporting the general election exit polls and results?

BBC, ITV, Sky News and Channel 4 have all confirmed they will be reporting the general election on Thursday night and Friday morning.

Each broadcaster will launch their programme just before the polls close at 10pm. After polls close, the exit poll will be projected onto the BBC's Old Broadcasting House.

All broadcasters will continue their election coverage throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning as the results are announced. 

What time do the general election TV reports start?

  1. Election 2019, Thursday Dec 12, 9.55pm - Friday Dec 13, 1pm (BBC One)
  2. Election 2019 Live: The Results, Thursday Dec 12, 9.55pm - Friday Dec 13, 6am (ITV)
  3. Election 2019 Live (following Good Morning Britain), Friday Dec 13, 9.25am-2pm (ITV)
  4. The Brexit Election, Thursday Dec 12, 9pm - Friday Dec 13, 5pm (Sky News)
  5. Alternative Election Night, Thursday Dec 12, 9.55pm - Friday Dec 13, 6am (Channel 4)

BBC's general election coverage

Inheriting the anchor slot from David Dimbleby, Huw Edwards will present the BBC's 2019 election coverage, which kicks off just before polling stations close at 10pm on Thursday night. 

The famous swingometer is also expected to appear throughout the election night programme, with Emily Maitlis presenting the coverage on Friday morning and Clive Myrie reporting live from Downing Street.

Anchor: Huw Edwards

Co-Hosts: Reeta Chakrabarti, Andrew Neil, Tina Daheley and Jeremy Vine

Pundits: Laura Kuenssberg, Katya Adler, Nick Robinson and Andrew Marr

Pollster: Prof Sir John Curtice

Duration: From 9.55pm on Thursday to 1pm on Friday

ITV's general election coverage

Tom Bradby will present the ITV analysis on Thursday night, with Julie Etchingham set to continue the live coverage on Friday, after Good Morning Britain. 

Anchor: Tom Bradby

Co-Hosts: Robert Peston and Allegra Stratton

Pundits: George Osborne, Ed Balls, Ruth Davidson, Alan Johnson, Jo Johnson, Fiona Hill and Jon Lansman

Pollsters: Prof Jane Green and Prof Colin Rallings

Duration: From 9.55pm on Thursday to 6am on Friday, with Julie Etchingham presenting a special analysis programme from 9.25am to 2pm on Friday.

Sky News' general election coverage

Former House of Commons speaker John Bercow, will be joining Dermot Murnaghan for the Sky News' 2019 general election coverage. 

Anchor: Dermot Murnaghan

Co-Hosts: Beth Rigby, Sam Coates and Ed Conway

Pundits: John Bercow

Pollster: None announced

Duration: From 9pm on Thursday to 6am on Friday, followed by Kay Burley 6am to 9am, before Adam Boulton takes over coverage for the rest of Friday. 

Channel 4's general election coverage

Channel 4 is taking an alternative approach to the general election 2019 coverage, combining their political analysis with comedy. Rylan Clark-Neal, will be joined by Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murphy, and comedian Katherine Ryan.

Anchor: Rylan Clark-Neal

Co-Hosts: Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Pundits: Katherine Ryan, Amber Rudd, Tom Watson, Clare Balding, Rob Rinder and Matt Forde

Pollster: None announced

Duration: From 9.55pm on Thursday to 6am on Friday

Which TV channels held general election debates?

In the weeks leading up to the general election, several head-to-head debates and multi-party events took place. From Brexit to healthcare, party leaders, and other party representatives, discussed a range of important topics live on TV.

The first head-to-head debate on Nov 19 took place on ITV, followed by a debate on Nov 28 on Channel 4, dedicated solely to the issue of climate change.

ITV's second general election debate aired on Dec 1. The seven main political parties were all invited, with leaders from the Liberal Democrats, Brexit Party, SNP, Green Party and Plaid Cymru taking part. Neither Mr Johnson nor Mr Corbyn took part, sending instead Rishi Sunak for the Conservatives and Richard Burgon for Labour.

On Nov 29, the first BBC election debate took place, with the second held on Dec 6. A series of Question Time episodes, including an election special for under-30s, were also broadcast on BBC One.  

What happened in the ITV general election debates?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn took part in the first televised party leaders' debate on Nov 19.

Hosted by Julie Etchingham, the ITV special marked the first time since 2015 that both the Labour and Conservative party leaders have taken part in a TV debate. 

Mr Corbyn was mocked over his Brexit policy by a live television audience, after he refused to say whether he thought Britain should leave the EU or remain. Mr Johnson, meanwhile, faced criticism over the issue of truthfulness.

According to a snap poll by YouGov, 51 per cent of viewers thought the Prime Minister performed better than Mr Corbyn.

On Dec 1, the two-hour ITV debate saw candidates from the seven main political parties tackle questions from an audience in Salford.

During this multi-party debate, Nigel Farage criticise the Tories and Labour for being too soft on jail sentences, calling for life sentences for inmates convicted of terrorism offences.

What happened in the BBC general election debates?

Live from Cardiff, a seven-way podium debate between senior figures from the major political parties took place on Nov 29.

Mr Corbyn was set to join the other party leaders at the BBC Election Debate, but Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, took his place. Mr Johnson did not take part either, sending instead the Conservative Party's chief secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak.

Last Friday, Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn took part in the BBC Prime Ministerial Debate in Southampton. BBC Radio 4's Today presenter Nick Robinson chaired this head-to-head debate.

Emma Barnett also presented a special edition of Question Time on Monday Dec 9, where an audience of under-30s questioned a panel of politicians representing all seven parties. 

Prior to these events, on Nov 22 a BBC Question Time special took place on BBC One. Live from Sheffield, the programme saw leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrat parties each answer questions from the audience for 30 minutes. 

Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, and Jonathan Bartley, the Green Party co-leader, had the opportunity to discuss their views in two separate Question Time specials. 

What happened in the Channel 4 climate change debate?

All party leaders except Boris Johnson took part in Channel 4's climate change debate.

The Prime Minister declined to take part in the debate, but it was understood that the Conservatives instead put forward Michael Gove. However, the broadcaster said that the former Environmental Secretary was not welcome on the basis that it was a leaders' event.

Mr Johnson was instead represented by a melting ice sculpture of  a globe in what the Conservatives deemed “a provocative partisan stunt”.

The Conservative Party made a formal complaint to Ofcom alleging Channel 4 breached the Broadcasting Code by  refusing to allow Mr Gove to take part in the debate.

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