General Election night TV: how and who to watch

Find out about the BBC's, ITV's, Sky News and Channel 4's election night coverage plans

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It’s not just the parties who are looking to win your votes. When the polls close on Thursday 7th May the BBC, ITV, Sky News and Channel 4 will all be clamouring for your support into the small hours.

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The big beasts only come out when the sun goes down: David Dimbleby is set to host his final election night on the BBC, Jeremy Paxman is presenting an “alternative night” of coverage on Channel 4 for the first time, Adam Boulton is fronting his sixth general election for Sky and ITV has turned to its political editor Tom Bradby.

Here’s the basic information, including what’s on when and who’s taking charge. Click here to find out more about what’s expected to happen when, and here to check out the broadcasters’ coverage plans in more detail.

When’s it on?

9pm Channel 4, Sky News. 9:55pm BBC1 and ITV

Who’s on where?

BBC

David Dimbleby will front his last general election night after 36 years at the helm. His father Richard Dimbleby hosted from 1950-59.

Jeremy Vine will join him to man the ‘Swingometer’, as well as the BBC’s other collection of graphics and virtual displays, while Sophie Raworth, Fiona Bruce and Emily Maitlis will provide additional analysis. Andrew Neill will be in the studio interviewing politicians as the results come in.

Dimbleby will hand over to Huw Edwards in the morning, before returning later in the day for a special edition of Question Time.

ITV 

Political editor Tom Bradby will present ITV’s election night coverage for the first time, while newsreader and TV debate moderator Julie Etchingham will dice the data using a giant touch screen. Politics academics Professor Colin Rallings and Professor Jane Green will offer expert analysis.

Bradby’s ad-free stint will finish at 9:25am when he hands over to Alastair Stewart.

Sky News

Adam Boulton hosts his sixth general election night for Sky News, while Kay Burley will be reporting from David Cameron’s seat in Whitby, Jeremy Thompson will be in Doncaster for Ed Miliband’s constituency, and Eamonn Holmes will be in Sunderland, traditionally the first constituency to declare. Political editor Faisal Islam and polling expert Michael Thrasher will be in the studio with Boulton, before he hands over to newsreader Dermot Murnaghan at around 7am.

Channel 4

Jeremy Paxman will host Channel 4’s now-traditional ‘Alternative’ election night coverage along with comedians David Mitchell and Sarah Pascoe, and Pointless presenter Richard Osman. Special editions of Gogglebox and The Last Leg with Adam Hills will break up the night’s events. 

CNN International

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The international news network will base its operation across the Thames from the Houses of Parliament, hosted by anchors Hala Gorani and Max Foster. Reporter Richard Quest will be travelling on an open-top bus between key election sites in London.

Read more: General Election night: your hour by hour guide

General Election 2015: the broadcasters’ plans