Will Lynda Bryans skip UTV election coverage?
UTV news anchor Lynda Bryans could be asked to step aside from election coverage — because her husband Mike Nesbitt is in the race to become an MP.
The decision of the former Victims’ Commissioner to seek headlines may mean his wife being prevented from reading them out on television.
UTV bosses were seeking a meeting yesterday with the long-serving Mrs Bryans to spell out their concerns.
Mother-of-two Lynda remained a key figure on the UTV Live team when her partner gave up his career with the station to become one of the province’s four Victims’ Commissioners.
There was no immediate comment from UTV, but an insider said: “The problem is not just that the station must do nothing that would be interpreted as showing favouritism to Mike, but must also be seen to do nothing.
“At the core of the issue is the fact that they are such a high-profile couple who of course co-presented the teatime news programme for years.
“So if, for example, we are running a profile on the Strangford constituency (where Mr Nesbitt is expected to run as an Ulster Unionist candidate), do they film Mike without his wife and does that mean leaving out the spouses of all the other candidates?”
Long and distinguished career of TV favourite
Lynda Bryans began her broadcasting career at BBC Northern Ireland as a secretary in the Religious Affairs department before going on to become a reporter on BBC's Inside Ulster.
By 1993 she came top of a poll of the most popular regional faces and was signed to anchor BBC1 prime time news and current affairs series Here And Now.
Along with the legendary Rolf Harris, that same year she co-presented Animal Hospital on BBC1 and BBC2, which at its peak netted audiences of 14 million.
She and her husband Mike Nesbitt also fronted a nationally-broadcast Sunday Morning religious programme for ITV — and she was one of the regular line-up for BBC Holiday until it was axed in 2007.
She and Mike co-presented UTV Live until he left in 2006, and the couple also fronted a popular property series called Home Sweet Home.
From 2005 Lynda also presented a daily lifestyle show, Lunch With Lynda Bryans, on U105, which had the highest listening audience of any daytime show on the network until she was replaced by Carolyn Stewart in October last year.
She and her husband also run a media production company, Take 1Take2. The couple were married in 1992 and have two sons, PJ (15) and Christopher (12).