BBC News presenter Mark Urban has announced his departure from the station after a 35-year tenure. The diplomatic editor of Newsnight and occasional host of the current affairs programme, Urban shared an emotional statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, telling viewers it was 'time for a change.

In November, it was revealed that staff at Newsnight were dismayed by significant changes to the flagship news show, which included a reduction in running time by 30 minutes and a decrease in staff from 57 to 23 due to cost-cutting measures. The BBC stated that Newsnight would transition into a studio-based 'interview, debate and discussion show', eliminating investigative films and dedicated reporters.

Prior to these changes taking effect, Mark Urban announced his decision to leave, stating: " I'll be leaving the BBC at the end of May. Newsnight in its current format will end then, so most posts will go. I decided not to apply for other BBC jobs. Working there for 35 yrs has been life defining: an eyewitness to history collaborating with such brilliant colleagues. But it's time for a change."

Emily Maitlis, the former presenter of Newsnight who stood down last year, expressed her concerns about anticipated changes to the programme, worrying that "extraordinary and exceptional journalism" might be sacrificed. Citing her notable interview with Prince Andrew - which has become a focal point in the new Netflix series Scoop - Emily speculated that under the new format, such an interview would not have occurred.

Admitting that while elements like interviews and debates - even the theme music - will remain, Emily wrote on X: "But once the bosses send out a signal they don't really *care* about a flagship investigative news programme the guests and the audience start to wonder why they should ... ", reports the Mirror.

Reflecting on his own experience with the show, Mark said during the time of the announcements: "I have worked on the programme for 32 years, around the world, risking my life many times for its journalism. You can well imagine my feelings at cuts to our staff and budget of more than 50%."

A number of BBC stars responded with pallor at the news of Mark's departure. Nigella Lawson, the renowned TV chef, extended her sympathies replying, "It's our loss,".

Newly-adjusted to life 'outside', Sam McAllister offered a salute to her former colleague after working together on Newsnight. The TV producer, portrayed on screen by Billie Piper in the series Scoop, thanked him for always being a brilliant correspondent, a calm and clever colleague, ever kind and always having time for producers.

She added: "Welcome to the outside, my friend. Thank you for always being such a brilliant correspondent of course, but such a cool, calm, clever colleague, who was always kind and had time for producers. And of course, a brilliant acerbic wit xxx".

BBC News CEO Deborah Turness attributed the cuts made to the station to the impact of inflation and a stagnant licence fee.

While on Radio 4's Today programme last November, Turness revealed that the BBC was grappling with a £500m funding gap and news had to 'carry its share. '