29/08/2008

Rose Leaves 'Beeb'

Mystery surrounds the sudden departure of a top TV personality from the BBC.

Rose Neill has left the corporation after more than 20 years on screen after she presented her last bulletin on the Newsline breakfast show yesterday morning.

The BBC refused to discuss the circumstances of her departure, which was described by some colleagues as "a bolt from the blue".

She was with the BBC as an 'anchor' on the top-rated evening edition of 'Inside Ulster' - which later became 'Newsline' but was apparently 'sidelined' more recently when she was moved to the late evening news slot.

Ms Neill's broadcasting career started in 1977 when she joined UTV as a children's presenter - on 'Romper Room' - where she later became a newsreader.
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For three years, she was the youngest newscaster in the UK, and has been one of the longest-serving and best-known presenters in Britain and Ulster.

While the BBC NI News website makes no mention of the presenter's departure - despite it being the full page lead in the Belfast News Letter - in a short statement, the BBC said: "Rose has been with BBC Northern Ireland presenting across radio and television for over 20 years. She is moving on to pursue other projects and we wish her every success for the future."

Meanwhile, another local broadcaster, Christine Bleakley is ready to join the 'cast' of a major national 'reality' programme, 'Strictly Come Dancing'.

Already the co-host of BBC's 'The One Show', she is among a group of 16 celebrities who will be putting their best feet forward when the show kicks off on September 20.

(BMcC)

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