Belfast Telegraph

BBC’s Noel Thompson axed from TV screens

By Noel McAdam

BBC Northern Ireland veteran broadcaster Noel Thompson is being moved from TV, it has been confirmed.

The Newsline and Hearts and Minds interrogator-in-chief is among the victims of a shake-up of the Beeb’s local political coverage.

The reshuffle will see the 55-year-old presenter and journalist shift to concentrate on radio with a possible slot on the flagship Good Morning, Ulster show.

Mr Thompson was not available for comment today but a BBC insider confirmed he is due to shift to present GMU alongside long-serving presenters Conor Bradford and Karen Paterson.

The review of roles will also see Mark Carruthers, another regular on the breakfast news programme, increase his profile on television.

A revamp of the station’s political coverage began last year but, as the Belfast Telegraph revealed, the award-winning Heart and Minds slot had been given a reprieve.

Now, however, it seems likely the more than decade-old show will disappear or be given a radical makeover.

The Corporation announced between 50 and 70 job losses at the Belfast-based broadcasting organisation in an attempt to save its share of national savings.

The estimated £7m cost-cutting formed part of a national BBC initiative which should see around 2,000 jobs going across the UK.

Mr Thompson is famous for his cut-and-thrust interviewing style which has produced memorable clashes, including with the current First Minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson and former First Minister and ex-Ulster Unionist chief David Trimble.

A BBC statement said: “In the first instance we are committed to consulting with staff over any proposals.

“As discussions are in the early stages it is not appropriate to comment at this stage on any possible changes or individual contracts.

“We are looking at ways across the whole BBC to continue to deliver high-quality programmes and services in a more efficient way which inevitably will mean new ways of working.

“Furthermore, from time to time, we refresh schedules and this can involve different roles for our presenters.”

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