Emily Maitlis makes feelings clear on facing off against BBC in election battle for first time

Emily Maitlis

Emily has discussed how she feels going head-to-head with the BBC during the election

Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 25/06/2024

- 00:01

The former Newsnight presenter has said fronting Channel 4’s election coverage will feel like 'going home'

Emily Maitlis left the BBC at the end of 2021 and will soon be at the helm of Channel 4's election coverage - something she noted will be the "centre of the universe" in just a week's time.

The 53-year-old will be covering the election alongside broadcasters Kay Burley, who will anchor Election Night Live for Sky, and Mishal Husain, who is standing in for Sophie Raworth for the BBC’s General Election leaders’ debate.

Whilst Maitlis will be covering the election for Channel 4, she has admitted that she won't have time to watch what the BBC will be doing and how they will be covering it.

She recently told Radio Times: "I have only ever done elections at the BBC, but I won’t have time to watch what the BBC will be doing. There will be screens all around us in the studio, but they’ll be on the counts across the nation.

"I will just go all in at Channel 4, throw myself into what I’m doing and that will be the centre of the universe."

When asked how she feels facing the long shift ahead, she added: "All-nighters are quite a challenge. I always get very nervous that I won’t get into a good sleep routine beforehand. At the moment, we have the builders in, so I’m terrified."

Emily Maitlis

Emily fronted Newsnight from 2006 to 2022


The former Newsnight presenter added that she preferred covering British elections because she has a better knowledge of the characters in the seats and easily gets more invested in the debate.

Mailtis also recently spoke to Australian magazine Tatler about her upcoming election stint and said: "There was a little rivalry between Channel 4 News and Newsnight.

"We always used to fight for the same guests and the same stories. I feel like I’m going home. Either it’s the first change of government in 15 years or it’s the most incredible comeback you’ve ever seen.

"The hardest thing this time will be that I won’t have heard of most of the candidates."

Kier Starmer and Rishi Sunak

Maitlis will be fronting the election for Channel 4


Whilst speaking to Tatler, Maitlis discussed how she felt when she decided to leave Newsnight - which she began presenting in 2006 before announcing her departure in 2022.

Reflecting on this, she said: "It kind of broke my heart. The whole programme is obviously going through a massive change, and I sort of had a pinch-myself moment.

"What’s weird is you’re in the process of helping to write that first draft of history, but you don’t always realise it at the time."

This year has seen the second-highest number of former MPs to stand down ahead of an election in modern political history.

Emily Maitlis

Emily explained presenting the election will feel like 'going home'


One of Maitlis’s most famous Newsnight interviews was with the Duke of York over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, which was recently portrayed on screen in Netflix drama Scoop.

Mailtis was portrayed by Gillian Anderson but reportedly stayed away from the production of the series and told Deadline: "I’ve left them very much to do their own thing because I think the last thing they want is me peeking around the edges offering my [views]."

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