TV News in the UK

There are lots of options for you to watch TV news in the UK. There are five main terrestrial TV channels available on every TV set in the country. BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel Four and Five. All of them apart from BBC2 have news programmes throughout the day.

Then there are news channels from the BBC, Sky, CNN, CGTN, TRT World, Russia Today, Press TV etc.

So lots of choice. Let’s start with the BBC.

As you probably know, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) does not broadcast commercials. It is funded by the licence fee.

How much does the licence fee cost?

On BBC 1 there are three news programmes every day — 1pm 6pm and 10pm. There is also a Breakfast News programme. On BBC 2 there is a news programme at 10:30pm called Newsnight. You can watch the BBC’s 24 hour TV news channel here.

The BBC also broadcasts regional TV news programmes around the UK. Here in Wales, the BBC’s TV news programme is Wales Today at 6:30pm on weekday evenings on BBC1. Many former JOMEC students now work for the BBC in Wales and across the UK. 

Huw Edwards presents the BBC’s News at Ten programme on BBC One. He is from Wales and is a regular visitor to JOMEC. Can you find him on Twitter?

Huw Edwards


ITV (Independent Television) is the oldest commercial TV channel in the UK. It is the BBC’s main competitor. It has a number of channels. Unlike the BBC, it makes money from advertising. The main ITV channel is normally channel 3 or 103 on a TV set. There are news programmes at 1:30pm, 6:30pm and 10pm (News at Ten). ITV’s news programmes are produced by a company called ITN. You can listen to an interview with the boss of ITN here.

The ITV Hub phone app allows you to watch news programmes after they’ve been broadcast. ITV’s most popular news programme is called News at Ten (confusingly, so is the BBC’s 10pm programme).

Like the BBC, ITV News also has a news programme for Wales. It’s broadcast at 6pm on weekdays.

There is also a separate ITV News mobile app and the main website is here.

Download the ITV Hub phone app and watch the most recent edition of News at Ten. Write down what you liked/disliked about the programme.

Susanna Reid co-presents ITV’s Good Morning Britain breakfast programme. She is a former JOMEC student.

Susanna Reid

Channel Four

Like the BBC, Channel Four is free-to-air and state-owned, though the current government is planning to sell it.

The Economist

Unlike the BBC, C4 has to sell advertising to survive — it gets no public money. Channel Four started broadcasting in 1982 and Channel Four News has been on at 7pm on weekday evenings since launch. There are also news programmes on Saturday and Sunday. Channel Four News is also produced by ITN.

The recently-retired main presenter of Channel Four News is Jon Snow (not the one from Game of Thrones). Here he is on a visit to the old JOMEC building, talking to Marlene, who used to be our shorthand teacher. See if you can find Jon Snow on Twitter.

Jon Snow and Marlene in the old JOMEC building.

Channel Five

Channel Five is a commercial channel currently owned by ViacomCBS. Channel Five News is produced by ITN. The channel is launching a new bulletin for 5pm. Details here. There are also short bulletins throughout the day. Find out more here.

Sky News

Sky News is a 24/7 news channel and a popular alternative to the BBC. It was set up by Rupert Murdoch, but is now owned by Comcast. You can watch it live here.

Watch Sky News for half an hour from the top of the hour. Write down the stories that are covered. Then watch the BBC News Channel for thirty minutes from the top of the hour. Are the stories different?