THE BBC today unveiled 32-year-old Wakefield mother of one Amy Garcia as the new face of its regional news programme Look North, replacing long-serving star Christa Ackroyd, whose contract was terminated earlier this year.
Ms Garcia, who previously worked on Look North as a broadcast journalist, will co-present the programme from next month with Harry Gration - 31 years her senior.
She was most recently seen on the BBC’s South Today programme and on national TV presenting BBC Three’s “60 Seconds” bulletins.
Currently on maternity leave, Ms Garcia will move back to Yorkshire with her husband and new baby.
She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be returning to the north and can’t wait to share the sofa with the Yorkshire legend that is Harry Gration.”
Today’s announcement from the BBC made no mention of Ms Ackroyd, who joined Look North from ITV rival Calendar 12 years ago.
In July it emerged an investigation was under way into her tax arrangements.
Ms Ackroyd had her contract terminated after a prolonged on-screen absence, over concerns the freelance broadcaster had not been frank about the inquiry. She was contractually obliged to disclose anything which had the potential to cause reputational damage to the corporation.
A BBC spokeswoman said at the time that Ms Ackroyd’s deal, worth around £180,000 a year, had been brought to a premature end because of a “breach of contract.” In September the BBC advertised for a replacement at a quarter of the salary.
Their choice, Ms Garcia, attended Kettlethorpe High School and Wakefield College before moving to London at 19 for a job in children’s TV. She then joined Sky Television before going back to study age 27 for an MA in TV Journalism.
The head of BBC Yorkshire, Helen Thomas, said: “Amy will be a huge asset to our team of first class journalists on Look North. Her natural warmth and empathy, combined with her track record in TV news, really shone out for us. We’re looking forward to Amy working with Harry, Paul and the rest of the team, and I’m very proud to have an all Yorkshire presentation line-up.”