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Huw Edwards: Naming Is A Huge Shock For Viewers

By Katie Razzall

Culture and media editor

It would have been shattering news for many tuning in for the Six O’Clock News headlines. No matter that Huw Edwards’ name has been plastered across social media for days.

The internet is one thing. Hearing him named officially by Sophie Raworth at the top of the bulletin is quite another.

Viewers often feel a real attachment to their presenters. Huw Edwards has been the face of News at Ten for 20 years. It will have been a shock.

Inside the BBC Newsroom, people who have worked alongside the famed presenter every day have also been processing this development.

We may have known – but been unable to report – that Edwards was at the centre of the storm.

He was suspended. His reputation – albeit anonymously – tarnished and the BBC is facing huge pressure.

From the reaction as the statement came in, being able, finally, to report it unleashed a wave of emotion that people might not have expected.

It’s almost as if there was some conflict over how to react. This looks like the deeply sad story of a man in turmoil with serious mental health issues.

Some interviewees on the BBC News Channel have said they wish him well. There’s sympathy – but not without some condemnation.

We must remember this is also the story, if the Sun reporting is true, of parents in turmoil, a young person with drug addiction and allegations against Edwards that, even if not criminal, could add up to misconduct.

But that’s the key issue through this entire saga. We have not been party to what evidence the Sun has relied upon. We’ve never seen bank statements or any other evidence.

Now though, we have a name.

In a sense, there is nobody who embodies BBC values more than Edwards. He is not just a presenter on News at Ten. He is the man who has held viewers’ hands through so many of the most significant moments of our nation’s history.

General elections and, since the departure of David Dimbleby, royal events. He was the man who told us of the Queen’s death. He brought us the King’s coronation.

The cornerstones of BBC News are trust, impartiality, reliability. Huw Edwards was all of those things.

Whether he can find his way back to health – and broadcasting – is a question for another day.