You're here: Home - Biography & Images - Julia Somerville

Julia Somerville - Biography and Images

Julia Somerville has worked for the BBC and ITN as a news presenter

After graduation, Somerville joined publisher IPC, working on Homes and Gardens magazine, a Women’s Journal, the PR section of Woman’s Own. Then for two years she was editor of a computer group’s house magazine.

Somerville joined the BBC in 1972 as a sub-editor in the radio newsroom, and then became a reporter in 1978. In 1981, she became Labour Affairs correspondent and joined BBC Television News in 1983 to become one of the most recognised faces on television, co-presenting the BBC Nine O’Clock News. Somerville was the anchor on the BBC News report broadcast on 23 October 1984 which Bob Geldof watched and inspired Band Aid, and ultimately Live Aid.

Somerville moved to ITN in 1987, where she co-presented the Lunchtime News and also deputised as presenter of News at Ten. In addition she presented 3D, a weekly ITV current affairs programme. She was diagnosed as having a brain tumour in August 1992 and after neurosurgery recovered well and was a member of the News at Ten team until it ended a 32-year run in 1999. She remained at ITN until October 2001, presenting the ITV Lunchtime News with John Suchet and was the launch anchor for the ITN News Channel.

Between 1999 and 2001, Somerville presented the daily LBC radio show London Life, a two-hour programme devoted to interviews with diverse artists.

Somerville has a lifelong interest in painting and was, in 2001, a member of the judging panel for the National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait of the Year; she has also served as a judge for several years on the RIBA Annual Architecture Award Panels. On 18 September 2003, Somerville was appointed Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Government Art Collection, for a period of four years.

As part of ITN’S ‘Famous Five’ with Gordon Honeycombe, Martyn Lewis, Selina Scott and Anna Ford, Somerville was brought back to the screen for one week in September 2005 for ITN’s 50th Anniversary.

In 2010, Somerville returned to television news as a presenter on BBC News. She also occasionally presented BBC Breakfast. In January 2011, Somerville started as an occasional relief presenter of the BBC Weekend News on BBC One.

Also in 2010, Somerville took the lead in an experimental film Facade by Artist and Filmmaker Phil Coy. Her distinctive vocal delivery articulated the deconstruction of London’s glass architecture and was screened nationally and internationally at The Whitstable Biennale, The South London Gallery, The Whitechapel Gallery and New York Armoury Show.

Somerville joined Rip Off Britain when the show returned in Autumn 2011 for its third series. She replaced Jennie Bond to host with Angela Rippon and Gloria Hunniford. Together, they also presented Charlie’s Consumer Angels.

On 15 June 2013, it was announced that Somerville was to receive an OBE for services to art as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Somerville received this award in recognition for her work chairing the Advisory Committee on the Government Art Collection.

Diana Magnay is Moscow correspondent for Sky News She is an experienced journalist who has in-depth experience covering international affairs for CNN and Channel 4 News including the Arab Spring, war in Ukraine and numerous deployments to Russia. She led CNN’s breaking news coverage on…

Radzi Chingyanganya – born 12th September 1986 – is a presenter of the BBC children’s TV programme Blue Peter and a co-presenter for the ITV gameshow Cannonball since 2017. He began presenting the programme in October 2013, previously having presented Wild on CBBC. He was…

Robin Cousins – born 17th August 1957 – is a British former competitive figure skater. He is the 1980 Olympic champion, the 1980 European champion, a three-time (1978, 1979 & 1980) World medalist and four-time (1977, 1978, 1979 & 1980) British national champion obtained during…

Jon Eley – born 19th August 1984 – is a British short track speed skater who competed at both the 2006 Winter Olympics, the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Olympics. Eley finished fifth in the 500 metres in Torino, and was a member…

Jackie Lockhart – born 22 March 1965 – is a Scottish curler. She has competed prolifically in major international competitions for Scotland, and for the Great Britain team that competes at the Olympic Winter Games. She was part of the BBC’s commentary team for the…