[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 21 January 2005, 15:02 GMT
Falklands War

Ron Neil: Editor 1981-82

Peter Snow presenting Newsnight in 1982
Peter Snow presenting a Newsnight report on the Falklands War
Nomination: Ron nominated Newsnight's coverage of the Falklands War. He also mentioned Robert Harris' investigation in Churchill's experiments with Anthrax during World War II.

The Falklands report Ron specifically mentioned was presented by Peter Snow on 2 May 1982.

In the report, Peter referred to the unreliability of information provided by the Argentine regime of the day.

Peter also said there was no evidence that the programme should distrust information provided by the British Government. The press - in particular the Sun - was outraged.

Click on the video link on the right-hand side of this page to watch

Artist's impression of the Falklands conflict
It took 10 days to get film footage from the Falklands
Ron said: "The Falklands War wasn't that long ago, and yet it took 10 days for news pictures to come back to the UK. That speaks volumes about the remarkable advance in technology in the interim, which has had a profound effect on the way wars are now covered by television.

"Furthermore, unlike today where Newsnight is at the end of the news day, during the Falklands War the Ministry of Defence often held their press conferences around 9pm, so it was one of the first programmes with the breaking news.

"The combination of pictures taking 10 days to arrive and stories breaking an hour and a half before transmission was a great opportunity for Newsnight, but put a huge pressure on the studio to be inventive.

"At the heart of this was Peter Snow, who every night conducted a narrative of the day's events at his huge studio battlefield with warships and other props of war to illustrate what had happened that day.

"He was master and commander of telling the story of a war happening half a world away. It was one of Peter's finest hours, and a large audience made a regular nightly date with the programme to get the Snow story of the day."

Ron Neil
Ron Neil worked on Newsnight from the first broadcast

Before Newsnight I was output editor on Nationwide and Tonight, and editor of That's Life.

After Newsnight I started the BBC's breakfast service, and the Six 0'clock News. I became editor of Television News and then director of News and Current Affairs.

My last job was chief executive of BBC Production.

Newsnight is broadcast every weekday at 10:30pm on BBC Two in the UK.

Newsnight coverage of the Falklands war including a Peter Snow report

Robert Harris on Churchill's Anthrax tests


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific