30th September 1963

Spotlight was broadcast for the first time

The launch of Spotlight, the BBC’s local news bulletin covering Guernsey, the wider Channel Islands and the south-west of England, was more of a name change than anything else.

The BBC’s first bulletin for the region was News from the South West. This had launched in 1961 and, within a year, had been re-titled South West at Six.

Spotlight is broadcast from the BBC’s Plymouth headquarters on Seymour Road, which is housed in an extended and converted Victorian villa. Originally called Ingledene, the BBC had purchased the property shortly before the Second World War. Broadcasts made on the site were initially in black and white, but Spotlight converted to colour in 1975.

Guernsey and Jersey opt out from the regular Spotlight programme for the first 12 minutes of each early evening bulletin, and the whole of the local slot that follows the national News at 10. The hyper-local segment is called, perhaps not entirely inventively, BBC Channel Islands. The broadcast comes from the BBC’s studios in St Helier, on Jersey.

A slow start

The BBC’s earliest regional broadcasts for the area, News from the South West, were transmitted on 20 April 1961. It would take more than 30 years for the Channel Islands to get their own dedicated opt-outs. Initially, these were short inserts broadcast in the 1990s. It wasn’t until October 2000 that they were extended to their current length.

The broader Spotlight programme has featured a number of notable journalists over the years. These include war correspondent Kate Adie, former Desert Island Discs presenter Sue Lawley, one-time Top Gear presenter Angela Rippon and late Antiques Roadshow host Hugh Scully.

Spotlight is also the name of an unrelated weekly current affairs programme broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland.


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Other events that occured in September

Channel Television took to the air 1st
A Guernseyman cycled to Herm 2nd
Brecqhou was put up for sale 3rd
Renoir arrived on Guernsey to paint 4th
Ship sinks in St Sampson harbour 5th
The melon king died… long live the melon king 6th
Coronavirus returns to Guernsey 7th
HD Ferries makes its last crossing
6th Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment fought at the Somme 8th
Guernsey number plate sold for £240,000 9th
Guernsey hosted the second Island Games 10th
Major Guernsey employer Tektronix went public 11th
Guernsey was struck by a hurricane 12th
Schoolboys and teacher went missing off Sark 13th
Guernsey holidaymakers head home itching 14th
The title Baron de Saumarez was created 15th
Missing girl, Jetta, was found on Guernsey 16th
Archaeologists found a porpoise grave 17th
An Islander aircraft crashed in Guernsey 18th
Guernsey commando Hubert Nicolle died 19th
Guernsey and Jersey considered merging 20th
Occupation resister Winifred Green was deported 21st
The Devil’s Rock had its opening night 22nd
The Duke of Connaught visited Guernsey 23rd
Former bailiff Daniel de Lisle Brock died 24th
Occupation president Ambrose Sherwill died 25th
Trudy, Guernsey’s biggest ever import, was installed 26th
“Let em starve,” said Churchill 27th
A Guernsey planning dispute headed to Europe 28th
Herm tenant Major Peter Wood died 29th
Spotlight was broadcast for the first time 30th