BBC Scotland viewers were in shock this morning after Jackie Bird announced that she had hosted her final bulletin.
The presenter, who started work for DC Thomson in Dundee at the age of 17, has been the main face of Reporting Scotland since 1989.
“I’m not leaving the BBC, I’m just vacating the news desk,” she said.
“I’ve been fortunate to cover most of the major news stories in Scotland over the last 30 years.
“I’ve been planning this for a while. I thought I’d give it until Brexit was sorted, but I fear I might have to stay for another 30 years,” she joked.
“I’ve been privileged to be involved in so many memorable news events, from seismic political changes to reporting live from Afghanistan.
“I’ve presented the programme from Washington to Westminster and last year anchoring from France on the centenary of the Armistice was an honour.
The host, who shares presenting duties on Reporting Scotland with Sally Magnusson, also fronts many annual Scottish TV events such as Hogmanay, Children in Need and the World Pipe Band contest for the BBC.
She said she wanted to have more time to present, write and produce projects outwith news and expressed an interest in becoming more involved in ad hoc current affairs specials which she has fronted in recent years.
“There’s never been a better time to get involved in new TV and radio programmes in Scotland but being committed to Reporting Scotland for so much of my working week simply didn’t allow me the time,” she said.
“I’m actually apprehensive about making such a big change – even last week I considered changing my mind and staying, but it’s something I have to do.”
BBC Scotland director Donalda MacKinnon said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jackie for many years now and it’s been very reassuring for me and for many of us that she’s been at the helm of the country’s most watched news programme.
“She’s a brilliant journalist and multi-talented broadcaster who will, I hope, continue to work with us here at BBC Scotland.
“She was an inspiration to many female colleagues particularly during her earlier years when newsrooms were largely dominated by men. I am certain that she will continue to inspire and influence in all she does next.”
Many took to Twitter to express their disappointment over her decision to leave.
The bad news is Jackie bird has left the building ?
— Colin M (@coldings123) April 11, 2019
Sad to hear that Jackie Bird has left Reporting Scotland. I hope she carries on doing the BBC Scotland Hogmanay show, because it's a tradition in our house to put it on in the run up to the bells and shout "Who the hell are these people, Jackie?" at the telly.
— Duncan Hothersall ? (@dhothersall) April 11, 2019
Very professional. Rather than a sanguine look back and 'surprise' goodbyes and tears, a full understanding that the news is not about the person in front of the camera. That is the mark of a brilliant journalist and presenter. She'll be missed. #JackieBird
— James Doherty (@jdoh28) April 11, 2019