Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Julia Somerville to present on BBC News channel

Julia Somerville
Julia Somerville also worked at ITN News

Newsreader Julia Somerville will return to the BBC in the new year to present on the News channel.

She began her career in broadcasting when she joined the BBC in 1972 as a sub-editor in the Radio Newsroom.

She will join Westminster correspondent Carole Walker, former ITN newsreader Fiona Armstrong and BBC World presenter Zeinab Badawi on the TV news service.

A BBC spokesman said the new line-up was made to "ensure it had the best range of faces" on the channel.

After being made a Labour Affairs Correspondent in 1981, Somerville was recruited by BBC Television News to present the Nine O'Clock News.

BBC criticism

In 1987 Julia joined ITN and presented News At Ten, the Lunchtime News and launched the ITN News Channel.

Badawi, who has worked for the BBC for a decade, is one of the most senior news anchors on the BBC World News channel and on BBC Four.

Zeinab Badawi
Zeinab Badawi works on the BBC World News channel

A former ITN newscaster and reporter, Armstrong has fronted all the main news bulletins there.

She has also worked for GMTV, BBC World News, Carlton Food Network, NBC, and BBC Radio Two and Four.

Walker, who has worked as a BBC Political Correspondent since 1997, has worked for the BBC for almost 30 years.

The four appointments follow criticism of the BBC for its lack of older female newsreaders, and a wider debate about the presence of more mature women on television.

The BBC denied accusations of ageism after replacing Strictly Come Dancing Judge Arlene Phillips, 66, with former winner Alesha Dixon, 30.

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