Belfast Telegraph

Dark cloud cast over future of our weather presenters after Met Office loses BBC deal

By Nevin Farrell

It is not clear if the outlook will be changeable for some of Northern Ireland's best-known weather presenters after the Met Office confirmed it has lost its BBC weather forecasting contract.

The Met Office has provided the data used for BBC forecasts since the corporation's first radio weather bulletin on November 14, 1922, but that is now coming to an end.

The changes have thrown the spotlight on popular presenters like Angie Phillips, Cecilia Daly and Barra Best.

A BBC spokeswoman told the Belfast Telegraph they could not comment on individual staff matters "but we don't see any significant changes to our on-air team in the near future".

The Met Office confirmed they are not going forward with a new bid and a spokeswoman told the Belfast Telegraph they are not anticipating any redundancies.

"We are working individually with the staff we have working at the BBC, to see what they want to do. Most of them are trained Met Office meteorologists and there is always a job for them here (at the Met Office)."

It is understood Angie Phillips is employed by the Met Office but the exact employment status of Cecilia Daly and Barra Best is unknown.

The Met Office spokeswoman added: "The majority of presenters on national BBC are employed by the Met Office and there are a couple in the regions and we will be working with them to see what options they want to take up."

Yesterday the individual weather presenters at BBC Northern Ireland had not made any official public comment.

Steve Noyes, Met Office operations and customer services director, said: "Nobody knows Britain's weather better and, during our long relationship with the BBC, we've revolutionised weather communication to make it an integral part of British daily life.

"This is disappointing news, but we will be working to make sure that vital Met Office advice continues to be a part of BBC output."

Former BBC Weather presenter Bill Giles told BBC Radio 5 Live that he was "absolutely shattered by the news".

"We have one of the best Met offices in the world... there won't be any more accurate (service) from anyone else, far less."

The Met Office also provides many of the presenters who read the weather on the BBC and said it would be supporting them to "ensure clarity on their future".

A BBC spokesman said they didn't anticipate significant changes to the on-air presenting team.

The spokesman said: "Our viewers get the highest standard of weather service and that won't change. We are legally required to go through an open tender process and take forward the strongest bids to make sure we secure both the best possible service and value for money for the licence fee payer."

The new provider will be announced later this year.

The spokesman said the Met Office's severe weather warnings would still be used by the BBC.

The Met Office's official blog said: "Obviously everyone at the Met Office is disappointed that we won't be supplying weather presenters and graphics to the BBC in the future.

"As a trusted British institution, we work at the heart of government, with a wide range of customers, and with emergency responders to maintain resilience and public safety.

"We will be working with the BBC and others to ensure the nation's official weather warnings are broadcast in a consistent way; and that our advice underpins forecasts when it matters most."

It continued: "We are also supporting our popular team of presenters to ensure clarity on their future."

Belfast Telegraph


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