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Sky News’ Stephen Dixon joins GB News and praises channel for highlighting public’s ‘real concerns’

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Sky News presenter Stephen Dixon is leaving to join rival channel GB News, he has today announced.

The 47-year-old broadcaster, who has been with Sky for 21 years, will team up with his new colleagues at the fledgling channel from next month.

He joins other high-profile talent including former Sky anchor Colin Brazier, ITV News journalist Alastair Stewart, BBC journalist Simon McCoy, former Sky Sports news presenter Kirsty Gallacher, MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton and former Labour MP Gloria De Piero.

GB News say Dixon will present a new programme on the channel, but has yet to formally announce the details.  

In a statement, Dixon said: ‘I’m inspired by the energy, fun, and absolute passion at GB News to shed light on the real concerns of the Great British public, wherever they live in the UK.

‘It’s many years since I felt this excited to get to work.’ 

Sky News star anchor Stephen Dixon is leaving to join rival channel GB News, he has today announced

Sky News star anchor Stephen Dixon is leaving to join rival channel GB News, he has today announced

The 47-year-old broadcaster, who has been with Sky for 21 years, announced the news on Twitter. He will team up with his new colleagues at the fledgling channel from next month

The 47-year-old broadcaster, who has been with Sky for 21 years, announced the news on Twitter. He will team up with his new colleagues at the fledgling channel from next month

He joins other high-profile talent including former Sky anchor Colin Brazier, ITV News journalist Alastair Stewart, BBC journalist Simon McCoy and and former Labour MP Gloria De Piero. Andrew Neil (pictured centre) left the station earlier this year

He joins other high-profile talent including former Sky anchor Colin Brazier, ITV News journalist Alastair Stewart, BBC journalist Simon McCoy and and former Labour MP Gloria De Piero. Andrew Neil (pictured centre) left the station earlier this year

From hospital radio in Cumbria to a Sky News star: The career of GB News’ latest addition Stephen Dixon 

Stephen Dixon’s journalism career began in a hospital nearly 300 miles from London – where he has spent the much of his broadcasting life.

He began his journalist career at Radio Lonsdale, a station serving Furness General Hospital in his home town of Barrow in Furness in Cumbria.

This soon progressed into professional radio when he started his degree course at Nottingham Trent University – where one of his visiting professors was the legendary Channel Four News anchor Jon Snow.

While in Nottingham he gained a reporting and presenting contract with local radio station Trent FM.

It was here that he broke the news of missing baby Abbie Humphries – who was kidnapped from Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre three and a half hours after her birth in 1994. She was eventually returned to her parents.

After graduating, Stephen continued to work for the Radio Trent group in Nottingham and Derby, before moving to ITN in London.

He was later poached to help launch ITN’s Five News, where he started as a senior producer, before stepping up to Programme Editor, while also filling in as a presenter.

In 2000 he left Five News to go freelance and started presenting ‘Sky News on the hour’ as their regular overnight anchor. 

During this time he also freelanced as Programme Editor of the Big Breakfast News and presented Simply Money, a digital personal finance channel, alongside Angela Rippon. Their main reporter was the now famous ‘Money Saving Expert’ Martin Lewis.

In 2003 Stephen started to work full time at Sky News, where he has had stints with Sunrise, Sky News Today, Live at Five and Sky News at Ten.

Having worked in hospital radio as a teenager, Dixon began his professional career in local radio at the Radio Trent group before joining ITN and ITV as a presenter, senior producer, and bulletin presenter on Five News.

He was later a programme editor on Channel 4’s Big Breakfast News and a presenter on finance channel Simply Money with Angela Rippon.

He presented breakfast programme Sunrise on Sky News for seven years until 2019 alongside Gillian Joseph and Isabel Webster, who also joined GB News earlier this year. 

The news comes two months after Andrew Neil stepped down from his roles as the chairman and host of a prime-time show on GB News.

The 72-year-old journalist and broadcaster had been absent from the channel since announcing a break two weeks into its launch and later said he ‘came close to a breakdown’ after suffering from stress due to the station’s technical problems. 

Last week he launched an astonishing broadside, saying it was a ‘huge mistake’ for him to become the face of GB News, and branded the channel as a ‘Ukip tribute band’.

He said the channel was still haunted by the ‘shambles’ of its launch and ran the risk of ‘falling into irrelevance and obscurity’.

Speaking at Freeview’s Outside the Box event, he discussed his short time at the channel with interviewer  and Sky News‘ Political Editor Beth Rigby.

Referring to his brief stint with GB News, he said: ‘The big mistake I made, and it was a huge mistake, and it did cause pain and aggravation, was that I put my name and face on the tin and yet quickly discovered that I really had no say in what was going into that tin.’

Neil said he was in ‘no rush’ to return to television but that he did not want GB News to be ‘the full stop in my broadcast career’.

He said his two main issues with GB News were its production values and ideological stance, citing Nigel Farage being given a nightly show months after launch.

‘My fundamental mistake was to get into bed with people who I thought shared my vision, but didn’t actually,’ he said.

‘What made it very stressful and very difficult was that in the public domain, understandably and quite rightly, it was Andrew Neil’s GB News, it was Andrew Neil’s channel, that was the brand of it.

‘And yet it was doing things … that were not me.’ 

Alistair Stewart (pictured left) has been one of the main presenters on GB News since its launch

Simon McCoy (pictured right) joined GB News from the BBC

Alistair Stewart (pictured left) has been one of the main presenters on GB News since its launch, while Simon McCoy (pictured right), who joined from the BBC presents the channel’s breakfast show

Former Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher is already part of the GB News team

Former Labour MP Gloria De Piero is also part of the GB News team

Former Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher is already part of the GB News team, along with former Labour MP Gloria De Piero 

The news comes two months after Andrew Neil (pictured) stepped down from his roles as the chairman and host of a prime-time show on GB News

The news comes two months after Andrew Neil (pictured) stepped down from his roles as the chairman and host of a prime-time show on GB News 

‘It became apparent to me as the months of this year went on that a combination of the board and the founding members, that this was basically a Ukip tribute band, and that’s what they really wanted.’ 

The presenter, who was also chairman at GB news, said he still believed that there was in Britain still a gap in the market for a ‘centre right’ news alternative, without the need to drift towards ‘Fox News to the right’. 

However, he said that the BBC under Director-General Tim Davie was right to put impartiality at the heart of its news coverage.

Asked whether he would return to the BBC having held discussions with Mr Davie, Neil said that while no roles are immediately available at the broadcaster, the door remains open.

While he likely held political beliefs to the right of most BBC journalists, he said he would ‘leave those at the studio door’ and give politicians from all sides of the spectrum and ‘equal opportunity thumping.’

Neil also criticised ‘mainstream’ UK news channels for – in his eyes – failing to challenge stories that appeal to more ‘liberal’ sensibilities of journalists and editors.

‘We’re no longer journalists, we’ve become the PR department of Greenpeace,’ Neil said, specifically of the coverage of COP26 summit in Glasgow in recent weeks. 

Andrew Marr quits BBC after 21 years: Veteran political presenter, 63, says he’s ‘keen to get my own voice back’ as he signs ‘£500,000-a-year’ deal with LBC and Classic FM to break free of strict impartiality rules 

Andrew Marr has revealed he was leaving the BBC after 21 years, including 16 years fronting his Sunday morning political programme – and will join LBC and Classic FM.

The 62-year-old said he was ‘keen to get my own voice back’ and would now focus on presenting political and cultural radio shows and writing for newspapers.

Father-of-three Marr, who is married to fellow political journalist Jackie Ashley, 67, and earns up to £339,999 a year at the BBC, added that leaving to join LBC’s owners Global would give him ‘a new freedom’ to do journalism with ‘no filter’. 

MailOnline understands that Global will be paying Marr at least £500,000 a year for his new role, although the Leicester Square-based network refused to confirm this. 

Industry experts said LBC would be a ‘great home for Andrew as he won’t have to abide by the BBC’s strict impartiality rules’. It comes after Marr hinted in May that he may be leaving the BBC because of ‘not being able to speak in your own voice’.

Andrew Marr, 62, revealed he was leaving the BBC today, saying he was 'keen to get my own voice back' and would now focus on presenting political and cultural radio shows and writing for newspapers (Pictured: Marr leaving BBC studios earlier this month after recording his show)

Andrew Marr, 62, revealed he was leaving the BBC today, saying he was ‘keen to get my own voice back’ and would now focus on presenting political and cultural radio shows and writing for newspapers (Pictured: Marr leaving BBC studios earlier this month after recording his show)

The Glasgow-born veteran broadcaster joined the BBC in May 2000 as political editor and later spent 16 years at the helm of his own Sunday morning show. 

Global said Marr will be presenting new shows on LBC and Classic FM, a new weekly podcast on Global Player, and will also write a regular column for LBC’s website. 

His exit comes as BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg is said to be in discussions about leaving her role to become a presenter on Radio 4’s Today programme.

Jon Sopel is the 6/4 favourite to replace her, with previous political editors such as Marr and Nick Robinson having moved on to other presenting jobs at the BBC.

This week Sarah Smith was made the BBC’s new North America editor, taking over from Sopel, and Marr’s departure suggests the staffing movements could continue. 

Marr tweeted today: ‘Personal announcement. After 21 years, I have decided to move on from the BBC. l leave behind many happy memories and wonderful colleagues. 

Andrew Marr will be presenting new radio shows on LBC and Classic FM from next year

Andrew Marr will be presenting new radio shows on LBC and Classic FM from next year

 

‘But from the New Year I am moving to Global to write and present political and cultural shows, and to write for newspapers.

‘I think British politics and public life are going to go through an even more turbulent decade, and as I’ve said, I am keen to get my own voice back.

‘I have been doing the Andrew Marr show every Sunday morning for 16 years now and that is probably more than enough time for anybody!’

In a statement released by Global, Marr added: ‘Coming to Global gives me a new freedom – to do fast-paced, very regular political journalism on LBC with no filter, in entirely my own voice. 

‘On Classic FM, I’ll be exploring my love of classical music, and culture generally, with some surprising guests. I feel I’m joining a young, hungrily ambitious and exciting company and I can’t wait to get stuck in.’ 

Marr received an annual salary from the BBC of up to £339,999 in the 2020/2021 year for his work on The Andrew Marr Show, Radio 4’s Start the Week, documentaries for BBC One and election night.

This was down from a salary of up to £364,999 in 2019/2020, and up to £394,999 in 2018/2019.

Addressing Andrew Marr’s departure from the BBC, its director-general Tim Davie said in a statement: ‘Andrew Marr has been a brilliant journalist and presenter during his time at the BBC.

‘He leaves an unmatched legacy of outstanding political interviews and landmark programmes. We wish him well for the next chapter.’

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