Where is Jackie Bird? Why the legendary anchor is not hosting the BBC’s Hogmanay show tonight - and who’s replacing her

As we flip our calendars into the New Year, there's one comforting face who won't be joining TV viewers in Scotland into 2020.

Jackie Bird, who has hosted BBC Scotland's Hogmanay coverage for the past two decades, won't be appearing in front of the cameras this New Year's Eve having retired earlier in 2019.

The Scottish journalist and broadcaster from North Lanarkshire is best known as a former anchor of the BBC Scotland national news programme Reporting Scotland.

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In April, BBC Scotland announced Bird had left Reporting Scotland after nearly 30 years as a main presenter to concentrate on other projects.

Legendary anchor Jackie Bird will be missed from TV screens around the country on Hogmanay. (Picture: BBC)Legendary anchor Jackie Bird will be missed from TV screens around the country on Hogmanay. (Picture: BBC)
Legendary anchor Jackie Bird will be missed from TV screens around the country on Hogmanay. (Picture: BBC)

The loss of the presenter even led the Scotsman's Aidan Smith to joke that Hogmanay should be "cancelled".

"Stop all the clocks. Stop them around 11.59pm on 31 December. Cancel Hogmanay!" he said.

"[Bird] was the whoop-it-up aunt in the sparkly dress, capable of embarrassing you in your teens with slobbery festive-season kisses, but who you’d eventually come to appreciate was a good laugh and crucial to every party."

Who is presenting instead?

The show - which will feature a mix of a pre-recorded and live material - will instead be presented by comedian Susan Calman.

Calman will join forces with fellow comic Des Clarke and sports presenter Amy Irons to front the Hogmanay coverage, with the BBC pre-recording segments from at its headquarters at Pacific Quay in Glasgow.

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Calman said: "Hogmanay is such an important occasion across the country and I’m delighted to be on hand to help usher in the New Year.

"It’s going to be a fun night packed with great comedy, entertainment and music. I always like to get a party started and hope everyone will join me to welcome in 2020 in spectacular fashion."

What will the Hogmanay coverage involve?

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The November announcement of the shake-up also said the Hogmanay show would feature "key live moments from around Scotland."

Steve Carson, head of commissioning at BBC Scotland, said: "We've changed things a little this year so that we can bring all the key live moments from around Scotland, as we always do, as well as bringing great music for the hundreds of thousands who join us in their living rooms - and we also have a brand new presenting team of household names."

The traditional piper high on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle will mark the midnight moment, followed by a fireworks display.

Scottish bands Travis and Twin Atlantic will also perform, before Elephant Sessions and Julie Fowlis lead the crowd in a rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

When can I watch the coverage?

There will be a brief look at the coverage from 9.50pm on BBC One Scotland, in which Des Clarke will join the crowds getting ready for the Hogmanay celebrations as Susan Calman hosts a studio of stars looking ahead to The Bells as the midnight moment approaches.

But the main event takes place from 11.30pm on BBC One Scotland, and runs for an hour until 12.30am on Wednesday 1 January 2020.

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