New BBC politics show will bring 'more light than heat' pledges presenter

Martin Geissler, the presenter of a new two-hour politics programme on BBC Scotland, has said he will not be “the next Gordon Brewer” and will bring a different style of political coverage to Sunday mornings.
Martin Geissler takes over the Sunday politics show.Martin Geissler takes over the Sunday politics show.
Martin Geissler takes over the Sunday politics show.

However the 49-year-old accepts that this interactions on social media might well change dramatically as he grills politicians on The Sunday Show.

He and colleague Fiona Stalker will present the programme which launches next weekend, and which will run for two hours, with the first half hour on television, and the remaining 90 minutes on radio.

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The new format replaces the Sunday Politics Scotland which was presented by Gordon Brewer, whose at times abrasive approach sparked complaints to the BBC. He announced his retirement last October, along with a tranche of other long-serving BBC news presenters.

Gordon Brewer was the former presenter of the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland.Gordon Brewer was the former presenter of the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland.
Gordon Brewer was the former presenter of the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland.

Geissler, who also presents The Nine, laughs at the idea he will fill Brewer’s shoes.

“The worst mistake I could make is to try and emulate another presenter because I admire them. I would look like a fool if I tried to be like him.

“It's a big shift this programme, it's a new style and tone – the word politics isn't even in the title so we're hoping to draw in a new audience. Gordon leaves an enormous pair of shoes to fill, and I won't labour that analogy, but it's an honour to be asked to fill the space.”

He adds: “The philosophy of the show is that politics has never been more important and people in Scotland have never been more engaged as they are just now, but a lot of people don't realise just how interested in it they are, and that it's not about two people in suits shouting about referendums, it's about if you can go on holiday, if you can see your mum and dad, when you can go for a pint… of course there will be heavyweight interviews but the style of questioning will be different as we’re going for more light than heat. I want to ask the questions the audience want answers to, to get information out there rather than a row.”

Geissler spent the majority of his career on the road with ITN, covering wars and international elections, before moving to a more stationary role with the BBC, but he admits wading into Scottish politics is trepidatious. “I’m under no illusion though about what's about to enter my Twitter feed,” he laughs.

“But Twitter is not the real world and I’ll just keep reminding myself of that. On The Nine we have senior politicians all the time but there will be much more scrutiny on this new show as we come right after Andrew Marr so there's a different audience and demographic.”

The first episode is still under wraps, though he reveals there’s a new studio set-up. “Right now I’d interview the First Minister every week if that was possible and I would love to interview Joe Biden, to find out how realistic he is about his chances of bringing the US together. But we won't really know who will be on until later in the week because we want to make sure the show is as relevant and agenda-setting as possible.”

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The Sunday Show launches on BBC One Scotland and Radio Scotland on February 7 at 10am.

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