Alastair Stewart slammed BBC's 'pre-emptive and misjudged' coverage

Alastair Stewart slams ‘pre-emptive and misjudged’ BBC coverage as Huw Edwards appears wearing a black tie and suit – 20 years after Peter Sissons was criticised for donning a burgundy tie to announce death of the Queen Mother

  • GB News presenter Alastair Stewart slammed BBC’s coverage of Queen’s health
  • Journalist accused anchor Huw Edward’s black wardrobe of being ‘pre-emptive’
  • Stewart said BBC is trying to avoid criticism it received when Queen Mother died

The BBC’s coverage of the Queen’s medical issues has been branded ‘pre-emptive and misjudged’ over presenter Huw Edward’s black tie. 

Earlier today, Buckingham Palace confirmed the Queen had been placed under medical supervision after doctors grew concerned for her health.

The BBC has since suspended its regular programming and replaced it with continuous news coverage presented by Huw Edwards dressed in black and wearing a black tie.

The optics prompted veteran journalist Alastair Stewart to criticise the broadcaster for its decision.

Taking to twitter, he wrote: ‘A black tie now is pre-emptive and misjudged. It is because of the BBC’s Sissons memory.’

In response to a user who questioned whether it was to save time in the event of Her Majesty’s death, Mr Stewart replied: ‘We have all rehearsed it so many times. There is a built-in natural pause to make the appropriate changes.’

The BBC’s coverage of the Queen’s medical issues has been branded ‘pre-emptive and misjudged’ over Huw Edward’s black tie worn during continuous programme on BBC One

Stewart, who has presented for ITV and is currently at GB News, was referencing the BBC’s Peter Sissons who wore a burgendy tie when announcing the death of the Queen Mother.

The late BBC News Reader, who died at the age of 77 in 2019, was heavily criticised for wearing the burgundy tie when he announced that the Queen Mother had died in 2002.

ITV presenters had worn black ties as they shared the news, and critics felt Peter should have done the same.

The controversy was widely-reported at the time, with outlets saying the BBC had been left ‘red-faced’ and Sissons wrote in his 2011 memoir that the criticism still hurt.

It comes as BBC One suspended all regular programming until 6pm in light of the news about Her Majesty’s health.

Bargain Hunt was taken off air to inform viewers that doctors were ‘concerned’ about Her Majesty’s health, following a statement from Buckingham Palace on Thursday afternoon.

Pictured: BBC newsreader Peter Sissons announced the Queen Mother had died, in 2002 and was later criticised for not wearing a black tie for the event, wearing a burgundy tie instead

The BBC One afternoon schedule has now been moved to BBC Two.

The popular daytime programme, in which two teams are given £300 to hunt for the best bargains to sell at auction, was halted just before 12.40pm on Thursday.

Twenty minutes before the 1 o’clock news was due to begin, viewers were watching as one of the Bargain Hunt presenters held an umbrella above his head and joked about ‘the rain and the damp’, before it suddenly changed to a black screen.

BBC News presenter Joanna Gosling then appeared to break the news.

She said: ‘Welcome to viewers on BBC One. We have had news from Buckingham Palace that the Queen is under medical supervision at Balmoral.

‘Doctors have become concerned for her health and, she is now under the supervision of doctors.

‘It is understood she is comfortable and immediate family members have been informed.’

Following this, BBC News presenter Huw Edwards was seen wearing a black tie as he presented the live coverage on Thursday afternoon.

Edwards was joined on the broadcast by Royal Correspondent Nicholas Witchell.

Witchell stated: ‘We are hoping for the best but I think we must now prepare for the worst.’

On Thursday, Buckingham Palace said in a statement: ‘Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision.

‘The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.’

When asked about the sudden switch from Bargain Hunt, the BBC said: ‘We have no comment on this.’

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