Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

Low graphics|Accessibility help
newswatch banner
Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 14:30 GMT
Dressed to thrill?
By Matt Holder

Huw Edwards
Viewers write in to ask where Huw Edwards gets his ties from

For some viewers, what presenters choose to wear is almost as important as the news they're reading.

People write in to ask about where Huw Edwards gets his ties from, while others complain about the lack of ties on presenters such as Jeremy Vine on the Politics Show.

On a more serious note, what presenters wear for the death of a royal can have a big impact.

The Royal Family was reportedly angry after Peter Sissons did not wear a black tie when he made the live announcement of the Queen Mother's death.

NewsWatch asked Head of Presentation Mike Kavanagh whether there were any formal guidelines about what BBC staff have to wear and other questions you've raised.

Q: Is it important what clothes presenters wear on air - is there such a thing as "appropriate attire"?

A: The most important point to make is that a presenter's clothes should not distract the viewer from the news.

Our presenters should wear modern, stylish clothes which fit well. We want our presenters to be warm and engaging with the audience and well styled clothes can help the presenters achieve this.

BBC News tackles dress codes in its obituary procedures
For the death of the Queen, presenters should make the announcement wearing black tie (men) or black jacket/top (women)
Black should definitely be worn for later broadcasts on the night of death
For other category 1 deaths (such as the Prince of Wales) presenters should wear sober or black ties/clothing for the announcement, and should change to sober/black clothing for later broadcasts
If a presenter is wearing inappropriate clothing during a breaking story which starts with the royal still alive, they can change at a suitable junction later in the broadcast and not necessarily at the point of death

Q: Do BBC dress guidelines properly reflect the diverse nature of multi-cultural Britain?

A: There are no formal strict written down guidelines regarding dress for presenters, but the informal principles outlined above do work in our multi-cultural society.

Q: Do presenters decide what clothes to wear or do they get advice? What about make-up and their hair?

A: Some presenters may take some formal or informal advice, others rely on their own experience.

BBC Television News has a make-up and hair department which is responsible for making sure that the presenters look well-groomed at all time on screen.

Q: Why do some presenters - such as Jeremy Vine and Andrew Neil - choose not to wear a tie? What programmes are presenters allowed to "dress down" for?

A: How presenters dress depends on the brief and remit of the individual programme.

Jeremy Vine. Photo by Jeff Overs
Jeremy Vine hosts the Politics Show with an open collar

A programme transmitted in the daytime schedules and aimed at young people would have a more informal look than a current affairs discussion programme viewed in peak time.

Q: Are there guidelines on what to wear for major news stories - such as the death of a royal?

A: The general principle for reporting the death of major figures is that the presenters should be formally dressed and male presenters should wear a sober tie. Presenters would wear black for the death of the monarch.

Q: The Channel 4 News website has a part dedicated to Jon Snow's ties. Why doesn't the BBC have anything similar for Huw Edwards' ties?

A: It's an interesting idea, but perhaps not in keeping with the BBC's aim of Building Public Value.


^^ back to top
BBC News frontpage | NewsWatch | Notes | Contact us | Profiles | History
BBC News Newswatch Friday 20:45 on BBC News 24 and Saturday 07:45 Breakfast