Spotlight (BBC News)

Spotlight is the BBC's regional TV news programme for the South West of England, covering Cornwall, Devon, Isles of Scilly, southern and western Somerset, western Dorset and the Channel Islands. There is also a special version of the programme for viewers in the Channel Islands. It launched on 20 April 1961. The main version of the programme broadcasts between 18:30 and 19:00 on weekdays, with shorter bulletins at other times. The programme can be viewed anywhere in the UK (and Europe) on Sky channel 967/968 on the BBC UK regional TV on satellite service. Its main competitors are ITV West Country's main evening programme ITV News West Country in Cornwall, Devon, Isles of Scilly, southern and western Somerset and western Dorset; and ITV Channel Television's main evening programme ITV News Channel TV in the Channel Islands.

Still from BBC Spotlight title sequence
Producer(s)BBC South West
Production location(s)BBC Broadcasting House
Plymouth, Devon
Running time30 minutes (main programme at 6.30pm)
9mins 30s (1.30pm bulletin)

3 minutes (8.00 am bulletin)}}
11 mins(10.30 pm bulletin)}}
Original networkBBC One South West
Picture format576i (16:9 SDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original release1961[1] 

Spotlight is broadcast from BBC Broadcasting House in Seymour Road, Plymouth, the headquarters of BBC South West. There are smaller studios in Barnstaple, Exeter, Paignton, Taunton and Truro.


Although local radio had been broadcast from Plymouth as station 2PY between 1924 and 1934, the first regional television programme was not broadcast until 20 April 1961, just nine days before the rival ITV service from Westward Television began broadcasting. At first a ten-minute bulletin called News from the South West was read by Tom Salmon, but in under a year it had doubled in length and had been renamed as South West at Six, hosted by Sheila Tracy. The name Spotlight was adopted on 30 September 1963.[2][3]

Those early radio broadcasts had been made from the Athenaeum Chambers in Athenaeum Lane in Plymouth (next to what became Westward and TSW's headquarters), but just before the Second World War the BBC started looking for alternative premises. A Victorian villa named Ingledene in Seymour Road was bought from the Douglass family and this building has, as of 2012, remained the BBC's headquarters in the South West. It has been considerably extended over the years, including the addition of a new and larger television studio in 1974 in preparation for the conversion of Spotlight to colour the following year.[3] A replacement purpose-built broadcasting centre on the opposite side of Sutton Harbour from the Barbican has been under construction since 2008 and was due to open in mid-2011,[4] though it has since stalled due to the effect of the recession on the construction industry and a change in the original plans. In late 2012, the owner of the harbour expressed fears the move may never happen and admitted other parties had expressed an interest in moving to the site earmarked for the BBC.[5] In 2013, the BBC confirmed that it was not moving to Sutton Harbour, and instead was refurbishing its existing Plymouth headquarters.[6]

A lighthouse motif has been in use within the programme's title sequences for many years until May 2000, when Spotlight adopted the generic BBC regional news design. The motif returned in May 2006, and the use of a lighthouse in the titles continued until the latest relaunch in June 2015.


Justin Leigh and Victoria Graham regularly present the 6.30pm programme. Another longstanding presenter is Natalie Cornah, who also presents the main programme and the sports bulletins. Other regular presenters include Janine Jansen, Julia Peet, Clare Casson and Andy Breare.

Former on-air team members

BBC Channel Islands

BBC Channel Islands is the dedicated opt-out service for the Channel Islands.

Local news broadcasts for the Islands began in the 1990s, when a short bulletin aired following the Nine O'Clock News. Since October 2000, two evening bulletins have been broadcast at 6:30pm and following the News at Ten. Originally broadcast from a studio at the Fremont Point transmitter, the news service is now entirely based at the studios of BBC Radio Jersey in St Helier.

The opt-outs are presented by Charlie McArdle and produced by a team of multi-skilling journalists who write, film and edit their own stories, as well as producing and directing the bulletins on weekdays. The main opt takes up the first 12 minutes of the nightly 6.30pm programme with a full opt at 10.25pm and a short 30-second update at 8pm. No opt-outs are broadcast during the day and at weekends, except for special occasions such as local elections or major sporting events such as the Island Games.

Like other BBC enterprises in the Channel Islands, funding comes primarily from television licence fees collected within the Islands.[19][20]


  1. As South West at Six.
  2. Luxton, Simon. "BBC South West – News". TVARK. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  3. Leigh, Justin (2007). "The History of the BBC in Devon and Local Broadcasting as Part of the BBC's Worldwide Role". Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 139: 3–5. ISSN 0309-7994.
  4. "BBC's new Plymouth headquarters will be approved". this is Plymouth. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  5. Inquiries over site earmarked for BBC, This is Plymouth
  6. "BBC South West announces major investment in Plymouth Seymour Road base", BBC Media Centre
  7. "BBC One - Spotlight - Clare Casson". BBC. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  8. "BBC One - Spotlight - Natalie Cornah". BBC. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  9. "BBC One - Spotlight - Victoria Graham". BBC. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  10. "BBC One - Spotlight - Justin Leigh". BBC. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  11. "BBC One - Spotlight - David Braine". BBC. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  12. "BBC One - Spotlight - Bee Tucker". BBC. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  13. "BBC One - Spotlight - Emily Wood". BBC. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  14. "Kally Adderkin-Hall looks back at the drink drive case that changed the law". Exeter Daily. 15 December 2018. Archived from the original on 23 April 2019. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  15. "BBC South West Presenters". the tv room (archived). Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  16. "The Way We Were". Spotlight (archived). BBC. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  17. "Simon Hall". Institute of Continuing Education. University of Cambridge. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  18. "Kawser Quamer". Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  19. "TV licences". Guernsey Post. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  20. "T.V. Licences". Jersey Citizens Advice Bureau. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
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