ITV News West Country
|ITV News West Country|
|Presented by||Jonty Messer or Kylie Pentelow|
|Country of origin||England, United Kingdom|
|Executive producer(s)||Ian Axton|
(Head of News)
|Production location(s)||Bristol, England|
|Running time||30 minutes (main 18:00 show)|
|Production company(s)||ITV West Country|
|Original network||ITV West Country|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV 16:9)|
|Original release||16 February 2009 –|
|Preceded by||The West Tonight,|
The nightly regional news programme was launched on 16 February 2009 as The West Country Tonight, following the merger of two regional news services – The West Tonight (ITV West) and Westcountry Live (ITV Westcountry).
ITV News West Country is broadcast from studios in Brislington, Bristol, with district reporters and camera crews based in newsrooms at Plymouth, Exeter, Truro, Taunton, Swindon and Gloucester.
From 24 November 2016, ITV News West Country began broadcasting in HD to the ITV West and ITV Westcountry regions on Sky and Freesat only. At present, Freeview and Virgin Media carry the ITV News Central region on ITV HD in the West and Westcountry, requiring these viewers to use the standard definition ITV channel for their regional ITV News West Country service.
When the programme launched, it was presented by ITV West presenters Lisa Aziz and Steve Scott (formerly of The West Tonight). ITV West weather presenters Alex Beresford and Bob Crampton were both retained. Beresford left the programme to present the weather for Good Morning Britain in 2017; Crampton has remained in his role.
However, Aziz was suspended in June 2009 from her position and left ITV in February 2010, with former Westcountry Live freelancer Vanessa Cuddeford taking over. Scott left his position to become Sports Editor for ITV News in May 2010, and was replaced by former Meridian Tonight presenter Ian Axton.
Bristol-based district correspondent Cordelia Lynch became a stand-in main presenter for Cuddeford from May 2012 when she went on maternity leave. Both Cuddeford and Lynch announced their departures from ITV West Country a year later. Kylie Pentelow of BBC East Midlands Today replaced Cuddeford from July 2013.
On 3 March 2017, it was announced that former Sky News presenter Mark Longhurst would be taking over from Ian Axton, following his promotion to Head of News for ITV West Country in January 2017. Longhurst left the programme seven months later.
On 22 January 2018, it was announced that interim presenter Jonty Messer had become Longhurst's replacement.
Kylie Pentelow moved to Wales at Six on 4 February 2019, for a one-year secondment.
As part of The West Country Tonight's launch in February 2009, two opt-out services were retained, incorporating the first half of the main evening programme on weeknights at 6pm, the full late bulletins after News at Ten on weeknights, and sports news on Mondays and Fridays. These are known as East and West respectively.
On 5 September 2011, separate weekday daytime bulletins for the two sub-regions (at breakfast and lunchtime) were reintroduced.
In July 2013, proposals for a more localised Channel 3 news service were approved. ITV News West Country extended the East and West opt-out services to at least 20 minutes of the 6pm programme, in addition to separate weekend bulletins for the two sub-regions, effectively restoring full services for the two areas. The changes came into effect from 16 September 2013. Both sub-regional services utilise the same presenter(s) and studio/set in Bristol, therefore one of the two opt-outs – depending on the day's news – is pre-recorded 'as live' shortly before transmission.
From March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sub-regional services are impacted. Running times of all short bulletins are reduced. The main 6pm programme is now fronted by a single presenter instead of two.
|Main presenters history|
|Years||Presenter 1||Presenter 2|
|2009||Lisa Aziz||Steve Scott|
|2009||Ellie Barker or Claire Manning|
|2018–2019, 2020–||Jonty Messer|
- Digital Spy – Ofcom 'to allow' ITV regional news cuts
- BBC News – ITV to merge regional newsrooms
- Your Westcountry news from Bristol, Western Morning News, 27 January 2009
- Newsgirl Lisa Aziz quits after dropping race and sex claims Elisa Roche, Daily Express, 25 February 2010
- Scott confirmed as ITV News sports editor Sports Journalists' Association, 11 March 2010
- New presenter joins ITV News West Country ITV News, 5 July 2013
- And finally....some news about Ian, ITV News, 16 December 2016
- Who is Kylie Pentelow, who's replaced Andrea Byrne on ITV Wales? Wales Online, 4 February 2019
- Seventeen regions into nine: How the updated ITV local news services will run Caitlin Fitzsimmons, The Guardian, 17 February 2009
- OFCOM sets out licence terms for ITV, STV, UTV and Channel 5 Archived 26 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine, OFCOM, 23 July 2013