BBC presenter quits broadcaster after 35 years saying ‘it’s time for a change’

The journalist best known for his role as the diplomatic editor of Newsnight and host of the program took to X, formally Twitter, to share the news.

Telling followers it “was time for a change”, Urban said: “I’ll be leaving the BBC at the end of May. Newsnight in its current format will end then, so most posts will go. I decided not to apply for other BBC jobs.

“Working there for 35 yrs has been life-defining: an eyewitness to history collaborating with such brilliant colleagues. But it’s time for a change.”

BBC presenter to leave broadcaster after 35 years

Urban’s exit comes after it was revealed back in November that Newsnight would be changing including a shorter runtime of 30 minutes and staff reduced from 57 to just 23 due to saving costs.

Previously, the current affairs show focused on investigative journalism and focused pieces on topical news.

However, the BBC shared that Newsnight would be changing its format, moving to a “interview, debate and discussion show.”


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Some were left concerned over the confirmed changes, as former Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis previously said that “extraordinary and exceptional journalism” could be lost over the changes.

Writing on X, “Once the bosses send out a signal they don’t really *care* about a flagship investigative news programme – the guests and the audience start to wonder why they should.”

Urban had previously expressed his concern, sharing: “I have worked on the programme for 32 years, around the world, risking my life many times for its journalism. You can well imagine my feelings at cuts to our staff and budget of more than 50%.”

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