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Monday, 2 September, 2002, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Newsreader Sissons steps down
Peter Sissons
Sissons joined ITN in 1964
Newsreader Peter Sissons is stepping down from BBC One's 10 O'Clock News after 13 years with the corporation.

The BBC confirmed his decision on Sunday, which comes just weeks after co-presenter Michel Buerk announced his retirement.

In an interview with the Observer newspaper, Mr Sissons criticised the BBC for what he referred to as "ageism".

"The BBC does have one or two blind spots and its biggest blind spot is its tendency to ageism," Mr Sissons said.

Mr Sissons, 60, is likely to move to the BBC's rolling TV news service News 24, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

'Sad'

A BBC spokeswoman refused to confirm or deny the move to News 24, but said an announcement would be made "in the near future".

Speaking to the Observer, the journalist said: "I've been to too many leaving parties for people who've turned 50 and they're out, some really gifted people. I think it's sad."

Michael Buerk, Peter Sissons
Michael Buerk (L) is also leaving the 10 O'Clock News
The Sunday Times said the two departures were likely to lead to a change in style for the 10 O'Clock News, to attract "a multicultural audience and younger female viewers".

The report also speculated that Mr Buerk and Mr Sissons would be replaced by a single senior presenter.

George Alagaiah, Huw Edwards and Fiona Bruce are among the names which have been mentioned as possible replacements.

Mr Sissons started work for ITN in 1964 and presented the Channel 4 News before moving to the BBC in 1989.

Criticised

He is said to be attracted to working on the rolling service News 24 rather than on one-off bulletins.

The cost of News 24 was recently criticised in a report commissioned by the government.

The study, chaired by former Financial Times editor Richard Lambert, reportedly says the BBC has failed to set clear "value for money" targets for the channel, which launched in November 1997.

However, a Financial Times report also suggested the report highlighted positive aspects of the channel, including current audience numbers.

The report, currently with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is to be published in September.

Viewing figures recently released by the BBC show that in June 2002 3.7 million people a week tuned into News 24 - reportedly giving it about 100,000 more viewers than Sky News.

See also:

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