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BBC's Tara Mills and Declan Harvey new Radio Ulster Evening Extra hosts

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Tara Mills and Declan Harvey

Tara Mills and Declan Harvey

Tara Mills and Declan Harvey

Broadcasters Tara Mills and Declan Harvey have been confirmed as new hosts of BBC Radio Ulster's drive time news programme Evening Extra.

Ms Mills has been a familiar face on BBC Northern Ireland for many years as a BBC Newsline presenter and reporter. Mr Harvey joined BBC Northern Ireland three years ago after working as a news journalist for BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat.

The pair take over from veteran BBC presenter Seamus McKee, who retired at the end of January after over a decade at the helm of the show.

The new presenters are expected to begin their new roles in the drive time show in April.

There are very big shoes to fill and I’ve been an Evening Extra listener for as long as I can remember Tara Mills

Ms Mills said it was "an incredible opportunity" to mix her BBC Newsline role with her new Radio Ulster position.

"There are very big shoes to fill and I’ve been an Evening Extra listener for as long as I can remember," she said.

“I’m particularly looking forward to working with Declan and keeping people company on their way home from work or while they’re getting dinner ready at home.

“I’ve been working at the BBC for 20 years and feel really passionately about how we deliver our news. Technology has changed so much in that time but what hasn’t changed is the importance of bringing the story and its consequences to our listeners.”

Ms Mills is one of Northern Ireland’s leading journalists. She has presented BBC Northern Ireland’s flagship television news programme Newsline since 2014.

She regularly presents election coverage and also hosts Sunday Politics and Stormont Today.

Ms Mills joined the BBC just before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Reporting at a time of momentous change, she has covered a range of topics from riots, murders and feuds to health issues and social affairs.

She reported live for BBC Newsline from the Shankill Road area and the Falls on the day the IRA decommissioned and the programme went on to win an Irish Film and Television award.

Since then, Ms Mills has presented a range of news reports for BBC NI and fronted a wide range of documentaries including Teens On The Edge and Spend It Like Stormont

She has also hosted Radio Ulster programmes including Good Morning Ulster and Talkback.

Prior to her career with the broadcaster, she worked for the County Down Spectator and for Radio Clyde in Glasgow.

Following in the footsteps of broadcasters like Seamus McKee is an amazing opportunity Declan Harvey

Mr Harvey moved to London when he was in his teens and began his broadcasting career at LBC radio where he was lead correspondent covering the July 7 Bombing Inquests, the preparations for the London 2012 Olympics and the Stephen Lawrence murder trial.

He also reported for Classic FM, Heart and Capital FM.

In 2012 he joined BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat and later became the programme’s politics reporter covering two UK general elections, broadcasting from the United States during the 2016 presidential election and around the UK ahead of the Brexit referendum.

In 2017, having left BBC Radio 1, Declan became a frequent relief presenter on Newsday for the BBC World Service and also fronted BBC Minute, the global news bulletin aimed at younger adults.

He relocated to Belfast in 2017 and became a senior reporter for BBC News NI and has since become a regular stand-in presenter across all radio and television programmes, including BBC Newsline, Good Morning Ulster, Evening Extra and Talkback.

Mr Harvey said: “Following in the footsteps of broadcasters like Seamus McKee is an amazing opportunity and doing it with Tara is an added bonus, she’s a formidable journalist, and also great fun to be around.

“I hope the new programme will be able to make the audience think, or think differently. It’s a huge platform and I can’t wait to get started.”

Adam Smyth, Head of BBC News NI, said the seasoned journalists will "breathe new life" into the drive time news programme.

"They’ll make a great presenting partnership and we’re excited to see what they bring to the programme.”

Evening Extra is on BBC Radio Ulster Mondays-Fridays from 4pm-6pm.

Belfast Telegraph