David Dimbleby: The BBC needs to remember news and the arts is important

David Dimbleby said that the BBC “doesn’t always show signs of remembering” that its coverage of news, politics and the arts is important.

The former Question Time host, 85, was a stalwart voice in the corporation’s broadcast of major events such as royal weddings and funerals and the night the UK goes to the polls.

Dimbleby told the Telegraph that he is “very, very worried” about the future of the BBC.

David Dimbleby with his Special Recognition award at the National Television Awards
David Dimbleby with his Special Recognition award at the National Television Awards (Ian West/PA)

He said: “I very much hope it will remember – though as an organisation it doesn’t always show signs of remembering it – the things that really matter are the World Service, news and politics, and the arts, which nobody else does seriously and properly.”

Dimbleby would regularly deliver the exit poll figures at 10pm on BBC One, before being replaced in 2019 by Huw Edwards, who also began heading the coverage of key UK moments.

Edwards resigned and left the BBC earlier this year after allegations that he paid a young person for sexually explicit photos.

On Thursday, the BBC’s General Election night will be presented by Mastermind host and BBC News At Ten newsreader Clive Myrie alongside Sunday morning political show host Laura Kuenssberg.

Clive Myrie and Laura Kuenssberg standing in a BBC News election studio
Clive Myrie and Laura Kuenssberg will host the BBC’s coverage on Thursday (BBC/,Jeff Overs)

Dimbleby said he does not “miss it because I have spent five years not doing it”, but hailed doing the general election as “the Everest of broadcasting”.

He added the “entire broadcast is made up of hitches – you can’t get through to the constituency, or you do get through and the new MP is so grand that he didn’t want to wait and has gone off to ITV”.

Dimbleby said he “never got tired” and “never prepared” for covering the election, but did acknowledge that when “you stop walking along a tightrope, you miss it”.

“So I stopped doing Trooping the Colour because I got bored of it,” he also said.

“I stopped doing the State Opening of Parliament because it is the same ritual every year. The Cenotaph, I keep doing it. I must have done 35 years. I imagine I will do it again this year.”

In 2022, Dimbleby covered the Queen’s funeral procession, after he commentated on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee service at St Paul’s Cathedral.

He has not fronted as much coverage in recent years, and recently announced that he would step down as chairman of the Towner Eastbourne art gallery.