Veteran broadcaster Huw Edwards: Face and voice of nation’s historical moments
Huw Edwards is one of the most recognisable faces on British television, anchoring coverage of major national events and presenting the BBC’s News At Ten.
The 61-year-old has fronted the flagship nightly news programme for the last 20 years, earning a reputation as a respected veteran broadcaster.
Edwards, who was born in Bridgend and brought up in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire, joined the BBC as a trainee in 1984.
In four decades at the corporation, he has been among the broadcasting teams leading coverage of historical events including the late Queen’s funeral in 2022 and most recently the coronation of the King in May this year.
Edwards, a married father-of-five, announced the late Queen’s death on the BBC last September.
After an image of the flag at Buckingham Palace was shown at half mast, he told viewers: “A few moments ago Buckingham Palace announced the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”
He then read out the statement from the Palace while dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and black tie, in line with the BBC’s dress code for when a member of the royal family dies as a mark of respect.
Edwards is the BBC’s go-to presenter for big news events and has been front and centre in live broadcasts of election coverage, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and Platinum Jubilee in 2022, the wedding of the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018, and the funeral of the late Duke of Edinburgh in 2021.
He was also the BBC’s voice at Trooping the Colour and the Festival of Remembrance.
Edwards was a Westminster correspondent for 13 years, and has played a key role in the BBC’s political reporting, taking over election coverage from the long-serving David Dimbleby in 2019.
He told the Radio Times in 2019: “I’m going to let you in on a secret: the first time a senior BBC manager dangled this carrot in front of me was in 1992. So it’s been at the back of my mind since then.”
Edwards revealed in a documentary in 2021 he had bouts of depression which have left him “bedridden” since 2002.
Speaking on the podcast hosted by BBC journalists Jane Garvey and Fi Glover, “Fortunately…with Fi and Jane”, he said he he decided to share publicly that he has depression as he felt it was “complete hypocrisy” to support organisations such as the Shawmind Foundation or Mind without explaining why.
“I also felt that it might be someway helpful to people if I opened up about it and say, ‘You can do a job and you can be successful’, whether it’s just reading a bit of autocue or doing whatever it is… while also dealing with issues like that,” he told the podcast.
Edwards is the corporation’s highest paid newsreader, with a pay bracket of £435,000 – £439,999, up from £410,000 – £414,000 last year, putting him fourth on the list.
In 2018, it was reported he agreed to take a pay cut following revelations over unequal pay for men and women at the BBC.
The presenter shared with BBC Radio Cymru that he had lost weight and started training with former professional boxer Clinton McKenzie as he tried to get himself in shape in 2019 at the age of 58.
“The truth is that I lost weight because I felt unhealthy. It’s simple enough,” he told the radio station.
“I was physically and mentally in the wrong place. I was far too heavy and I wasn’t happy with that. I wasn’t happy with my own appearance, and I realised that I wasn’t being fair with my own body in terms of my general health and wellbeing.
“I just felt pretty low to be honest, and it got progressively worse. Losing weight and getting fit have been a transformation for me.”
Edwards said in 2021 that he was considering his future presenting News At Ten as he approached his 60th birthday.
“A time comes when you’re bound to re-assess what’s in front of you,” he told Radio Cymru in a Welsh-language interview.
“Now that a big milestone is here, which is 60 years old, it’s natural for a man to think ‘am I going to continue in this job for another five years, or do I want to do something different?’
“The nightly news business, after 20 years, that can be taxing, even though I still enjoy the job.
“I don’t think I’ll be doing that for long. Because I believe that, in the first place, I think it’s fair for the viewers to get a change.
“Secondly, I have co-workers who are very talented – it’s time to give them a chance too.”
But he said he would not be giving up journalism entirely.
He added: “I won’t disappear tomorrow from the 10 o’clock news because I’m still enjoying myself.
“But of course, I’m thinking about the working patterns of the future. And the truth is that I don’t want to sustain these working patterns for a long time to come, because I don’t believe it’s a very wise thing at all.”
An article on the BBC website in 2002 said Edwards was determined to stamp his own identity on News At Ten.
“You don’t want to let people down, but at the same time, I want to do it in my own way. I don’t want to be a clone of Sissons or Buerk,” he said.
Edwards, who attended Llanelli Grammar School and graduated in French from Cardiff University, is an honorary professor in the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at his old university.
Just last month, Edwards picked up the best live event honour at the Tric Awards for being among those to cover the state funeral of the late Queen, and in February he received the Broadcast Awards special recognition award.
In May, it was announced that Edwards had joined the TV presenting line-up for the Proms 2023.
He is listed as a vice president on the website of the National Churches Trust and has appeared on Songs of Praise.
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