Wednesday 27 May 2020


The Guardian's Jim Waterson reports that Emily Maitlis won't be presenting tonight's Newsnight as planned and that Katie Razzall will be presenting the programme instead. Will Ms Razzall be asked to deliver an apology? 

Jim Waterson also confirms, from BBC sources, that the programme's editor, Esme Wren, did indeed work on Tuesday night’s episode - so it was her who signed off on the Maitlis monologue. The question then is: Does she deserve to survive in post after this?

Update 22:00: A little while back Katie Razzall tweeted, "Just for the record, Emily  Maitlis has not been asked by the BBC to take tonight off - and if I thought she had been, I certainly wouldn’t have agreed to present the show".

Esme Wren herself has also recently tweeted in response to The Observer's Carole Cadwalladr (Carole was doing her usual getting-the-wrong-end-of-the-stick thing on Twitter, writing "And this makes no sense.  Emily Maitlis has an editor. The editor takes responsibility for the editorial content. What is this? A punishment beating?"), to which Ms Wren replied
I am the Editor of Newsnight Carole Cadwalladr & I am responsible for the output of the programme. Emily Maitlis hasn’t been replaced tonight in response to the BBC statement. Katie Razzall is part of the team and we work as a team throughout. 
Given that Emily Maitlis ended last night's programme by saying she'd see the audience tonight and she's listed in the various TV listings as being scheduled to present tonight (as usual on a Wednesday), people are putting two and two together and smelling a rat. 

I'd say, however, looking at the very careful wording of Katie Razzall's and Esme Wren's tweets that it's almost certainly the case that Emily Maitlis isn't presenting tonight because she didn't want to present tonight's programme (Too embarrassed? Too upset? Too angry?) and so Katie Razzall agreed to present it instead.

P.S. And The Telegraph tonight reports
Although the BBC did not go as far as an apology, Maitlis was said to be furious that she and her colleagues had been publicly reprimanded and she did not appear as planned on Wednesday’s programme. The presenter Katie Razzall took her place.’ 

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