|Presented by||Main Programme|
Sam Fraser Weather
|Theme music composer||David Lowe|
|Country of origin||England, United Kingdom|
|Production location(s)||Southampton, England, UK|
|Running time||30 minutes|
(main 18:30 programme)
|Production company(s)||BBC South|
|Original network||BBC One South|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV 16:9)|
|Original release||7 January 1961 –|
|Related shows||BBC News,|
ITV News Meridian
The BBC began broadcasting a regional TV news programme for the South of England (then known as South at Six, but changing to the current title in the mid 1960s) in January 1961, getting on air four months before the launch of Southern Television's rival magazine programme Day by Day. Originally, the BBC's Southampton operations were based in South Western House, the former Cunard shipping line headquarters near the city's docks. In 1991, the programme moved to purpose-built studios in Havelock Road.
The original presenter was Martin Muncaster. Bruce Parker joined the programme in 1967 and remained as a regular presenter until 1989, continuing to provide holiday cover and present weekend bulletins until 2003. The current main presenter, Sally Taylor, started co-presenting the programme in 1987 (replacing Debbie Thrower), initially alongside Parker and then successively with Paddy Haycocks, Mark Longhurst, Harry Gration, Andrew Harvey and Roger Finn, but in recent years she has been the regular solo presenter of the main programme.
Currently, South Today produces eleven bulletins each weekday: 6 bulletins in the morning during BBC Breakfast, a 15-minute programme at 13:30, the half-hour main programme at 18:30, a headlines update at 20:00 and a late night bulletin (Monday to Thursday at 22:30, running for 15 minutes and every Friday at 22:25, running for 10 minutes). Weekend news bulletins are also broadcast. These include early evening bulletins on Saturday and Sunday and a late night bulletin on Sundays, following the BBC News at Ten. The times of these bulletins usually vary.
The programme is broadcast live from studios in Southampton.
Prior to September 2001, South Today's region included areas served by the Heathfield Transmitter and its relays which covered eastern Sussex and southern Kent. These areas are now covered by the BBC's South East Today.
Following digital switchover on 7 March 2012, the Whitehawk Hill transmitter (which serves the Brighton, Hove, Shoreham and Worthing area) now carries BBC South East output instead of BBC South.
Since 16 October 2000, BBC South has produced a distinct news service for the area served by the Oxford transmitter. Previously, the area was covered by Newsroom South East, which also served Greater London and the South East. As part of a three-tier restructure of regional coverage, the Oxford transmitter area was transferred to the BBC South region and began dedicated opt-out bulletins within South Today. A year later, London and the South East split into two distinct regions: BBC London and BBC South East.
The main anchors of the opt-out are Geraldine Peers and Jerome Sale, occasionally being covered by Katharine Da Costa and Sinead Carroll. Originally, South Today Oxford was broadcast from BBC South's Studio B in Southampton and presented by Heather McCarthy and Caroline Richardson on a rotating basis. Peers became the main anchor of the opt-outs in 2001 and studio production of the bulletins was transferred in 2004 to the reception area at Radio Oxford while a new television studio and production gallery was built. The programme has been produced and broadcast from Oxford since October 2005.
On 21 April 2008, the South Today Oxford opt-out service was renamed as BBC Oxford News (referred to on-screen as BBC Oxford). New titles and graphics were introduced as part of an on-screen overhaul across the BBC's national, international and regional news services. From 29 October 2012, this has been re-branded back to South Today.
The Oxford sub-opt covers the first 10–15 minutes of the main evening South Today at 18:30, before joining Sally Taylor for the latter part of the Southampton edition of the programme. Until April 2013, a full 30-minute Oxford edition was produced every Friday evening, but this has since been scaled back to 10–15 minutes. Special half-hour Oxford editions are still occasionally broadcast if there is a major news story in the sub-region.
Viewers in these areas also receive dedicated bulletins after the BBC News at Ten, but see pan-regional bulletins from Southampton at breakfast and lunchtime and on weekends. The 30 second update at 8pm was produced and presented from Oxford for the entirety of its run. From 2007 there was also at 1520 (and later at 1500) a short regional update which was also produced and presented from Oxford until the bulletin was ended.
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