Is Nicky Campbell replacing Huw Edwards? Social media speculates after King's Speech appearance

Is Nicky Campbell replacing Huw Edwards? Social media speculates after King's Speech appearance

Charles III’s first King’s Speech since assuming the monarchy was filled with nearly two dozen bills to shape the government’s direction over the next year.

But amid the political debate about Rishi Sunak’s plans and age-old traditions being observed there was room for speculation about the future of another British institution: the BBC.

For years the corporation has relied on Huw Edwards to present national events, and he was famously the anchor to break the news of the Queen’s death in September 2022. 

However, Edwards was suspended from the BBC in July after the Sun published an allegation that he had paid a 17-year-old for explicit images. The Sun has partially retracted the allegation and the police have said there is no evidence to support this allegation of serious criminal wrongdoing.

After the publication, Edwards was reportedly in hospital suffering serious mental health episodes. According to a report in the Guardian, his BBC colleagues have said they do not expect him back any time soon.

While that aspect of the story might run and run, the BBC has a chair to fill. And while nothing has been confirmed, the appearance of a veteran broadcaster around the coverage has led to Twitter speculation that the Beeb has found their man.

Who is replacing Hugh Edwards?

The BBC has not confirmed who, if anyone, will be a direct replacement for Huw Edwards.

For the King’s Speech coverage, the BBC news was presented by Nicky Campbell, which has led to speculation online that he might get the role permanently.

Campbell was preferred to BBC News regulars such as Clive Myrie and their retiring Royal presenter Nicholas Witchell - who has said he will leave the position next year. 

Nicky Campbell (PA Wire)
Nicky Campbell (PA Wire)

The new presenter got mixed reviews on Twitter.

"Nicky Campbell doing a good job as commentator of the State Opening of Parliament,” one wrote.

"The BBC state opening 2023 is far far far better without politicians on the panel,” said another. “Plus, Nicky Campbell is quite a good presenter/commentator."

One other, though, chimed in: “You need a different presenter than Nicky Campbell, he doesn’t have the gravitas for this kind of thing.”

Nicky Campbell (PA Archive)
Nicky Campbell (PA Archive)

Who is Nicky Campbell?

While not an altogether leftfield choice for the BBC, Campbell is best known as a radio presenter for Radio 1 and currently 5 Live.

The 62-year-old Scot has been presenting since the 1980s and has been with the BBC for 35 years. In front of the camera, he has hosted Top of the Pops for the Beeb and Wheel of Fortune for ITV. In 1995, he briefly had his own Nicky Campbell Show for BBC Scotland.

Since 1997, he has been with 5 Live and for nearly 20 years was the breakfast show host but is now a mid-morning presenter. He has also kept regular TV slots and has presented documentaries as well as providing voiceovers.

In his personal life, Campbell was adopted but has tracked down his birth parents over several years. Twice married, he has fathered four children and currently lives with his second wife Tina Ritchie - a newsreader herself - in Clapham.

Campbell has bipolar disorder and has also talked candidly about his depression. He is also an advocate for animal rights and has published a memoir called Why A Dog Called Maxwell Changed My Life.