Sian Williams joins ITN as Chief Anchor for 5 News

Veteran BBC presenter Sian Williams is to be the new face of Channel 5’s flagship evening news programme.

Williams, who has worked at the BBC for almost three decades, takes over from Emma Crosby.

The departure of Williams is the latest high profile BBC defection following economics editor Robert Peston’s decision last month to move to ITV to become political editor and host a new Sunday morning talkshow.

Williams, who co-presented the BBC1 breakfast programme for a decade but opted not to make the move to Salford, has presented all the main BBC1 news bulletins.

She has also presented major news events including the London Olympics and the royal wedding as well as the recent anniversaries of D-Day and the outbreak of the first world war.

“5 News’ output, both domestic and international, is consistently high quality and accessible,” said Williams. “With Channel 5 pledging to boost its coverage even further, it’s a terrific opportunity and an exciting challenge to join this talented and impressive team.”

Williams will front the daily 5pm news programme while Matt Barbet will continue to present 5 News Tonight at 6.30pm and The Saturday Show which runs from 9.30am to 11.30am.

“Sian is one of the UK’s most widely respected news presenters who will add to the wealth of experience, knowledge and insight within the 5 News team,” said Michelle Chappell, commissioning editor of factual, news and current affairs at 5 News.

“Sian’s ability to deliver the biggest stories of the day with charisma and warmth has made her one of the best known and most versatile broadcasters on British television.”

Her extensive broadcasting credits include presenting Radio 4’s Saturday Live, BBC1’s Sunday Morning Live, and hosting Crimewatch, Good Night Britain and National Treasures Live.

Williams will become the fourth high-profile female face of 5 News, after original incumbent Kirsty Young – who pioneered the art of “desk perching” – and her successor Natasha Kaplinsky, who joined Channel 5 in 2008 and left at the end of 2010, and Crosby.

“I’m really excited about welcoming Sian to the 5 News team,” said Cristina Nicolotti Squires, the editor of 5 News. “Her deep connection with the audience plus her rich background in broadcasting make her the perfect person to bring the news to life for our viewers.”

Former GMTV presenter Crosby, who made her name on Sky News, will leave 5 News this month.

Channel 5’s news bulletins are produced by ITN, which won the £9m-a-year contract back from Sky in 2011, which also produces the news programmes for ITV and Channel 4.

This article appeared in the Guardian on 5 November 2015.