Laura Kuenssberg has not had the easiest September. At the beginning of the month, it was widely reported that her show, Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, has lost many viewers since she took over from Andrew Marr in 2022.
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Since the announcement of the loss in viewership, Kuenssberg gave a very open and honest interview to The Telegraph in which she and the BBC deny the massive viewership drop. Moreover, in the same interview Kuenssberg took the opportunity to make a clear statement about the fact that she will not be more open about her personal life, even if it means viewers won’t know her better and tune out.
Now, on Sunday 24 September, Kuenssberg didn’t host her weekly show, instead having Victoria Derbyshire as a replacement. Viewers were pleased and are now asking for Derbyshire to be Kuenssberg’s permanent replacement.
Laura Kuenssberg, a controversial figure
Laura Kuenssberg took over from Andrew Marr in September 2022. Though it’s been a year of her taking over Sunday with, Kuenssberg hasn’t convinced viewers yet.
At the beginning of September 2023, it was reported that since her joining the weekly political BBC show, it had lost around 700,000 viewers. This viewership drop was denied and the BBC claimed that this assessment didn’t look at the views on iPlayer.
However, the BBC cannot deny that viewers aren’t in love with Kuenssberg. The interview she gave to The Telegraph on 6 September starts to give an explanation as to why that might be. Eleanor Mills writes:
Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to put so much off limits when it comes to her own life when her job is to ask prominent people tricky questions?
I point out that Sir Trevor Phillips, 69, her rival on Sky on a Sunday morning, recently talked publicly about his immigrant parents and the death of his adult daughter from anorexia; while her predecessor, Andrew Marr, was very open about his stroke –
surely the viewers have a right to know a bit more about her?
That is something Kuenssberg refuses to budge on leaving viewers with very little knowledge of who they are watching every week.
Moreover, a quick look on X will highlight what some people think she is: an ally to the Tories. To be clear, we do not aim to criticise her political personal beliefs. However, journalists have a responsibility to be unbiased. Very recently, GB News received a slap on the wrist about that from Ofcom. Viewers regularly point out her supposed bias.
There's something quite sickening to have Laura Kuenssberg report now on all the things she kept from the UK public back then. She was an enabler of this #stateofchaos - as were the idiots in charge of #bbcnews at the time.
Victoria Derbyshire has given politicians from all 3 main parties a thorough drubbing this morning, without fear not favour - unlike the Tory fan girl Laura Kuenssberg who makes no effort to hide her bias… #bbclaurak
Who is Victoria Derbyshire?
Victoria Derbyshire has been a long-time face of the BBC. Indeed, the presenter has, since the beginning of her career, mostly worked at the channel, on the radio or on TV.
Currently she co-hosts the news and current affairs show Newsnight with Kirtsy Wark. Derbyshire is a very successful journalist and, according to what viewers say on social media, she seems to be well-loved.
#VictoriaDerbyshire was excellent on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg today. Razor sharp, both in questioning and mind. Actually felt like twice as many questions were asked than usual. She was equal with all the guests and only interrupted them when they didn't answer the question.
Her popularity might have to do with the fact that viewers know her much better than Laura Kuenssberg. For instance, during an episode of Panorama, BBC’s documentary programme, she revealed that her father had physically abused her as well as her mum, sister and brother.
Furthermore, in 2015, she took to X to announce that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and has since become an activist, encouraging women to get checked. Not only did she share her diagnosis, but she recorded a video diary of her receiving treatment.
Laura Kuenssberg’s choice to keep her private life private should be respected and, in many aspects, her private life shouldn’t interfere with her work, but it appears that once again, viewers not really knowing her could cost her her role on Sunday with. It also appears that viewers are enjoying Victoria Derbyshire’s journalism more.
The fate of Sunday with remains unclear.
Ofcom: Ofcom finds GB News in breach of due impartiality rules
The Telegraph: Laura Kuenssberg interview: ‘I’m happy to set the record straight – the ratings are in rude health’