The new host of Question Time is likely to be an experienced woman according to sources close to the recruitment process.
It is understood that the BBC has already drawn up a long list of candidates – even before the job is advertised – with Kirsty Wark, Emily Maitlis and Julie Etchingham said to be in the running for the coveted post, replacing David Dimbleby when he steps down at the end of the year.
Even before the pay scandal broke, it’s said that BBC bosses floated the possibility of an hour long 10pm news bulletin – with Maitlis sharing presenting duties with Huw Edwards. However, this idea, which was mooted 18 months ago, was quietly dropped. The BBC declined to comment when asked about this.
Another candidate is Kirsty Wark, also a highly-respected Newsnight alumnus.
As well as her obvious skills, the 63-year-old lives in Glasgow, where the Question Time production is based.
“It’s not a big factor but it’s a factor – she definitely has the skills and gravitas for a role like this,” said a source.
Also said to be in the frame is Julie Etchingham.
The ITV newscaster impressed BBC bosses with her handling of the ITV Election Debates in 2015 and is seen as a good candidate, with the BBC expected to make an approach even if she decides not to apply.