Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

TV's Rose Neill on how she bounced back from axing in BBC

Rose Neill opens her heart to the Belfast Telegraph
Rose Neill opens her heart to the Belfast Telegraph

Popular news anchor Rose Neill has broken the silence over her shock departure from the BBC after 25 years – admitting she was "baffled, bewildered and hurt" at being axed.

The experienced broadcaster, who has recently revived her career on UTV, was dropped by the BBC six years ago. At the time Rose didn't go into the details surrounding her departure, but in her frankest ever interview for today's Belfast Telegraph, the journalist acknowledged how difficult the situation had been.

"I was baffled, bewildered and hurt," she said. "We all have to take a few hard hits in our lives. I'm very happy now. I am a positive person by nature and every cloud has a silver lining and now I am working in UTV enjoying it.

"I am surrounded by friendly, professional people who all work together for the good of the company and for the mutual benefits of everyone and that is rare these days and I just feel so lucky."

Rose (55) had never courted the Press during her years as a well-known television personality and her first real experience of making the headlines herself was when her BBC contract was not renewed.

"The support I got from the media made me feel really humbled," she said. "Everyone was so supportive."

Rose had been for many years the face of BBC Northern Ireland's flagship programme, Newsline, until she was dropped from the prime post in 2002.

At the time the move was said to have shocked colleagues, annoyed that she was ousted from the position she held for four years. The broadcaster was then shifted to presenting BBC Newsline weekend bulletins as well as the 10.25pm slot.

Her departure came around the time of accusations of ageism for the BBC, and the departure of news veteran Moira Stuart from the national schedules.

MPs and powerful broadcasting figures had accused the BBC of "shuffling an older woman off the screen".

Rose's career has now come full circle and, having started in broadcasting with UTV at just 19 years old, she is now back anchoring the evening news on Friday nights and says she has never been happier.

In today's interview, Rose also shares the many highs of her privileged life, speaking freely of her idyllic childhood growing in Bangor, and life at boarding school in York.

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