Pen Picture of Jackie Bird
Born: Jackie Macpherson: 31 July 1962 (age 53): Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, Scotland:
Occupation: Scottish journalist and newsreader, currently anchor of BBC Scotland’s news programme Reporting Scotland. In October 2014 she celebrated 25 years of working on Reporting Scotland. She is the longest running newsreader on the programme.
Early Career: At 17 she started work for DC Thomson in Dundee working on teenage magazines. Promoted pop editor at “Jackie” magazine. Subsequently worked as a broadcast journalist on Radio Clyde’s news team, then as a print journalist on the Glasgow Evening Times.
Later Career: A reporter for The Sun newspaper, Jackie met her future husband, the paper sub-editor Bob Bird, who was subsequently head-hunted by his London office. The couple moved to England where she joined Television South in Maidstone as a reporter and presenter for the South East edition of regional news programme “Coast to Coast.”
A few years later Bob relocated back to Scotland taking up a senior newspaper editorial post with the “Sun” and later Editor of the “News of the World” (Scotland). Jackie left TVS to join BBC Scotland, making her debut as a main presenter of Reporting Scotland in October 1989. She currently shares the same role as a sole anchor with veteran broadcaster Sally Magnuson.
She also, nailed her colours to the mast of the labour party taking up a newspaper columnist post for the Labour supporting Daily Record.
10 February 1996: Who is the top telly turn on – battle of the box – handbags out in the fight to be Queen of the Headlines.
Telly’s glamour newsreaders are waging their own “handbags at dawn” battle of the Box. With scarcely a hair out of place and lip-gloss gleaming under the lights, the two main players look as if they’re set for a night out on the town. Instead, they are dressed for a night in … your living-room. And the competition is fierce. Late last year, the BBC flexed its muscles and drafted blonde Anne MacKenzie from Grampian on to their team of Reporting Scotland presenters, headed by Jackie Bird.
Former Radio Clyde and local newspaper girl Jackie had been seven years with the Beeb at Queen Margaret Drive. And 35-year-old Anne, an award-winning journalist was seen as a major catch as she was being chased by other TV companies. The Beeb moved Reporting Scotland forward five minutes, bringing it into direct conflict with Scotland Today, and war was declared.
But the skirmishing took a new twist when it was rumoured that Beeb girls Jackie and Anne were battling amongst themselves. Anne was about to have her one-night-a-week slot increased to three … Leaving Jackie with a couple of extra evenings at home with her young children.
So how are Scotland’s two big telly girls shaping up in the head-to-head? We asked three experts to give their assessments of Jackie and Anne. The men we put on the spot were Record TV editor John Millar, former BBC anchorman Malcolm Wilson and Dr Hugh O’Donnell of the Language and Media Studies Department at Caledonian University.
JM: Nicknamed ‘the duchess’ Anne’s undoubtedly has a touch of class. Her voice is comforting and her screen presence is positive. She comes across as someone who knows what she’s doing. This duchess could become queen of Queen Margaret Drive. 7/10
HO: Has been moulded into the BBC style and as a result comes across as too prim and proper and again lacks sincerity . Has a good professional approach though and comes across as an informed journalist rather than someone who has just sat down to read the news. 7/10
MW: A good operator who brings a northern voice to Scotland’s national news. Had a very good training in Aberdeen and deserves the higher profile she is going to enjoy now. 8/10
JM: Jackie’s a confident broadcaster who always makes me think of Miss Jean Brodie. Her manner tends to be too severe for my taste. Then there’s an accent that seems to be a mixture of influences. Slick but too clinical. 6/10.
HO: Delivers the news in a crisp, professional manner but suffers from being a “lone” figure on screen. She is too “correct” and school marmish although technically very good. Too smooth and insincere to cut ice with the bulk of her audience. I feel like saying to her “smile for goodness sake”. Seems to be trying to recreate a Mary Marquis-type of image. 6/10.
MW: I have an inescapable feeling that the BBC has re-invented Mary Marquis. Far too smarmy and smooth and very hard to believe she means a single word she says. 6/10.
23 March 1996: Jacket’s Off! – TV newsgirl Jackie left fuming as rival Anne borrows her outfit.
Telly girl Jackie Bird saw red after rival Anne Mackenzie took one of her jackets to wear while reading the news. Reporting Scotland chiefs asked Anne to fill in and front the show when Jackie called in sick at short notice. But the blonde had nothing clean to wear. And after scouring Glasgow in vain for an outfit, she dipped into Jackie’s BBC wardrobe for a classy black number with white trim.
Jackie, 32, who sees Anne as a threat to her top spot on the show, was raging when she tuned in. A Beeb insider said: “I can’t imagine Jackie was best pleased.
I’ve been told Anne didn’t ask permission to borrow the jacket. There were certainly a few titters around the place when people saw what Anne had done. The source added: “Anne didn’t have another jacket and the one she’d worn on the previous night’s show was at the cleaners. She went to the shops but couldn’t find anything – so she took one of Jackie’s.”
Anne, 35, who presents the show on Wednesdays, was coy about the row last night. She insisted: “I don’t want to say anything about this at all.”
The pair have reportedly clashed several times since Anne was poached from Grampian TV six months ago to liven up Reporting Scotland. BBC bosses have considered giving Anne three anchor slots a week instead of one.
Jackie, 32, was on her way to cover the Oscars in Hollywood and couldn’t be contacted. Jackie also recently had showdown talks with them about her future.
11 May 1996: Duchess pinches Jackie Slot
News queen Jackie Bird has been axed from one of her three week-day shows. Her big BBC rival Anne Mackenzie has taken over as star presenter on Reporting Scotland.
The two women have been locked in a bitter battle of the Beeb babes since Anne – nicknamed The Duchess – arrived from Grampian. She was initially given just one TV slot a week while also presenting the flagship radio news programme, Good Morning Scotland. But telly ratings soared when Anne was in the hot-seat and impressed news chiefs have now given her a second Reporting Scotland stint. However, it’s bad news for Jackie – she’s having to give up one of hers.
Lewis-born Anne, 35, a BAFTA award winner, has the backing of Tim Luckhurst, editor of news programmes. He decided to up her profile after she proved a hit with viewers. A Beeb insider said: “It was no coincidence the figures shot up when Anne was on screen.”
Jackie recently held crisis talks with BBC bosses to hammer out her future. And she is taking a sideways move to let her spend more time making documentaries. A BBC spokesman confirmed yesterday: “Anne will be on two nights a week from now on instead of one. Jackie will still have two slots and Sally McNair will fill the other. Jackie will be moving more into documentaries. She’s already made two and she’s quite keen to expand into that area.”
26 March 1998: Rose-Tinted Viewing; Politicians Hit out as Report Accuses ‘Dull, Grey’ BBC Scotland of Labour Bias
There was a political backlash yesterday after an independent study claimed BBC Scotland’s flagship TV news programme, presented by Jackie Bird was too soft on the Government. It said interviews with Labour Ministers screened on teatime Reporting Scotland were less tough than with their Tory predecessors and that Labour ‘were getting away with murder’. The report sparked immediate protest from Opposition parties, who voiced their condemnation of the BBC and called for it to act swiftly to redress any imbalance in its coverage.
Scottish National Party chief executive Michael Russell said: ‘Real opposition to Labour exists in Scotland from the SNP, and the BBC need to reflect this fully in their coverage – both in Scotland and on the London-based network.
30 May 2001: Dire Political Coverage That Shames Reporting Scotland
BBC Scotland’s proudest asset is in crisis. The flagship nightly news show, Reporting Scotland, presented by Jackie Bird, is leaderless and directionless in the midst of a general election campaign. While the corporation proudly boasts it has found an architect to design and build its new hi-tech premises at Pacific Quay in Glasgow, the real need is for editorial direction, and insiders know it.
Several months before Parliament was dissolved, James Duff, an experienced and imaginative journalist who had been editor of Reporting Scotland for several years, announced that he was quitting.
A successor was not appointed. Insiders at HQ – Queen Margaret Drive said no suitable candidate had applied. The result was a series of embarrassing editorial blunders and an obvious failure to treat the General Election with the seriousness and intelligence it merited
The most spectacular error occurred on the evening of Friday, May 18. The Scottish National Party had launched its manifesto that day. The news should have been the lead item on Reporting Scotland and deserved to be accompanied by intelligent analysis of SNP commitments. But nothing occurred. They missed the entire event.
28 December 2002: A profile of Jackie Bird (the budding Journalist)
BBC Scotland’s most enduring, television news presenter has travelled far, if only from her days as a reporter on the Scottish Sun, where a senior editorial executive displayed his displeasure at her by “shooting” her with an blank-firing handgun.
A colleague said “she always knew where she was going, and while she never enjoyed peer popularity there are few people who criticise her without qualifying it by saying she is good at what she does.”
Another of her former colleagues on the paper said: “She was always heading for television; the persona was there. “I remember her as a good enough reporter, who was always glamorous, but never tacky. You knew where she had been; she filled the place with her perfume.
It would be unfair to say she was unpopular but the other guys didn’t take to her, perhaps perceiving her brightness as being shallow. When she was leaving the Times to go to the Sun there were only about six people at her going-away do.
That may have been because when she got the Sun job she declared that Jack Irvine, the then editor and the architect of the success of that paper in Scotland, told her: ‘Jackie, when you walked through that door I knew you were the woman for the job’.”
Irvine, now one of Britain’s top PR consultants, admitted yesterday that he probably had used those words, but he added: “When she was walking out of the door a year or so later, I think I told her I had been wrong! The Sun operation was a team thing, and Jackie wasn’t a team player. I was glad to see her move on.”
Mr Irvine emphatically denies it was he who “shot” at Ms Bird with a gun, but, on being pressed, he conceded he does know the identity of the “hit man”. It is also a legend in Glasgow newspapers how Mr Irvine once demanded Ms Bird go back to the door of a family in a rough area 11 times.
Ms Bird had been trying unsuccessfully to get a “collect” – a picture of a dead person – when Irvine allegedly told her: “Go back, tell them you’ll lose your job.” Ms Bird is alleged to have replied: “But that’s not true!”
“Oh yes, it f****** is!” Mr Irvine is alleged to have said. For reasons of good taste, Mr Irvine was reluctant to give credence to the story, but he admitted yesterday: “I believe I remember an occasion when she came back from a particularly difficult collect job – with a picture!”
Jackie Bird and David Robertson
9 November 2003: Put a sock in it you two – Beeb tells squabbling news duo to halt feud.
TV news anchors Jackie Bird and David Robertson have been warned by bosses to lay off each other as an off-camera feud threatens to boil over.
The Reporting Scotland presenters were spoken to by BBC management amid fears that a simmering row was affecting their on-screen performances. But things took a turn for the worse on Wednesday’s edition after a “joke” by David during a preview of the MTV awards.
Footage was shown of the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest, which was also held in Edinburgh.
David said to Jackie: “That must have brought back memories for you.” She replied: “Absolutely. I’ve got one of those frocks.”
He then said: “Yeah, I saw it on Hog …”, but appeared to stop in his tracks, before saying, “… on one of the programmes you did last week.”
But he was obviously referring to the disastrous dress Jackie wore when presenting the BBC’s Hogmanay coverage at the end of 2000. And as soon as the cameras stopped rolling, she launched a verbal blast at her colleague. The next day, Jackie was not on the show but had returned by Friday.
The warring pair have clashed over their responsibilities and profile on BBC Scotland’s flagship news show. They were taken aside separately and told to ditch their battle of egos and try to repair their relationship. Since then they have continued to co-present the evening show on a rota with Sally Magnuson.
Insiders say that, off screen, Jackie, 40, and David, 37, can barely look each other in the eye. Hard news veteran David was told he’d be the main anchor when he joined the show from BBC News 24. But viewers’ favourite Jackie continued to see herself as the show’s number one presenter.
Tensions increased when Jackie was given the task of covering the UEFA Cup Final in Seville with a series of live outside broadcasts. Jackie’s friends accused David of jealousy while his pals insisted he was simply upset at the style of Jackie’s coverage. Since then, there has been an edge to their on-screen banter and producers claim their discomfort has become more obvious.
Bosses were especially furious at one of Jackie’s “jokes” after an item on obesity. David’s weight has increased over the past year. One insider said: “David’s a serious minded journalist with an impressive background on some of the country’s most respected programmes. Jackie has always been seen as the person who adds glamour to the show and who brings a light touch. They were never going to see eye to eye but everyone is shocked at how bitter it has become.”
Jackie has been in the hot seat at Reporting Scotland since 1989. She started her career at girls’ comic Jackie and worked as a newspaper journalist before joining the BBC. Dundee-born David joined in November 2000 after the show had been revamped to include two co-presenters. He has experience on heavyweight news shows such as the World At One, PM and The World This Weekend on BBC Radio 4.
Senior BBC Scotland management are aware of the rift. But a spokesman said: “We want to make it clear that neither of them have been given official warnings. They work well enough together to make Reporting Scotland the most watched news programme in the country and that audience is increasing.”
16 November 2003: Selena Scott: And here is the feuds from the BBC.
The behind the cameras feud between Jackie Bird and her Reporting Scotland co-presenter David Robertson has now spilled on to the screen, we’re told.
David apparently made a snide remark about “that dress” the one Jackie didn’t quite wear when she fronted the Beeb’s Hogmanay show a few years back.
Anyway, it seems that Jackie, a former magazine journalist from my old stomping ground in Dundee, is too grand to take a little ribbing these days. So she has been giving David, also from Dundee, a strong dose of the proverbial “road and the miles.”
So frigid has their on-screen relationship become that Sally Magnuson has been drafted in to keep the warring duo apart, we’re told.
But I don’t I think this battle of the egos will in any way improve the show’s flagging ratings. Nobody I know actually admits having clapped eyes on the Beeb’s flagship news show not since Sky came along.
2 April 2006: Jackie Bird and her failed marriage
She has said publicly that divorce is the big regret of her life, but at the time she kept it as private as possible. She was at dinner with First Minister, Jack McConnell recently and her ex-husband was there with his new partner. Bird made reference to when she and Bob were married and McConnell looked surprised. They weren’t together? “I didn’t know,” said McConnell, “but I did think it strange that he was all over that woman.” She smiled. Ex-husband. Crap husband, amazing father.
10 November 2007: How Blundering Beeb Managed to Miss Big Moment; Sri Lanka Anchor: Jackie Bird
It was the news in which BBC Scotland invested a small fortune to break for the nation. All week the Beeb had trailed the special lunchtime edition of Reporting Scotland featuring live coverage of the Commonwealth Games announcement from Sri Lanka.
But come the moment of truth, Jackie Bird & Co completely missed it. Quite how it happened will no doubt be the subject of an anguished post mortem. Excuses will no doubt be proffered. The fact remains that when Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell stood up to declare the result in Sri Lanka’s Cinnamon Grand hotel, Reporting Scotland was reporting live from St Mungo’s Academy in Glasgow’s East End instead.
12 November 2007: Why Bloated BBC Scotland Needs a Dose of Reality; Startled: Jackie Bird Left Stranded in Sri Lanka Last Week
There is no reason to believe that anyone among the staff of BBC Scotland is a Shakespearean scholar. Its broadcasts rarely soar to heights of linguistic brilliance. But as these inhabitants of sumptuous new headquarters grapple with their terms of voluntary redundancy, the Bard’s advice on the positive aspects of hard times should appeal to them.
Students of “As You Like It” will recall that ‘Sweet are the uses of adversity, which like the toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in his head’. If such compelling advice fails to help the denizens of Pacific Quay recognise that austerity may help them make better programmes, it should at least delight licence payers.
Since the advent of devolution Scotland has endured eight years of lavishly funded mediocrity from BBC Scotland. Encouraged to imagine themselves as proper national broadcasters, Auntie’s Scottish personnel have responded with standards that would disgrace impoverished local TV companies.
20 September 2008: Jackie Bird f-Lies solo – Scots newsman David Robertson tells viewers he’s leaving show.
Reporting Scotland presenter David Robertson last night told viewers he was leaving BBC Scotland’s flagship news programme. The move leaves 45-year-old Jackie Bird as the main host as the show moves to a single-newsreader format. At the end of the 6.30 report, Robertson, 42, told viewers it would be his last. He has presented the show alongside Bird for eight years.
However, his departure follows long-running, persistent rumours from industry insiders that the pair had endured a difficult working relationship. One source said “David and Jackie always seemed to have great chemistry together on screen. They looked like the perfect pairing. But there were always rumours that the atmosphere between the pair could be frosty. They also rarely spent time together outside work. It can often be challenging for two people to work closely together for a long time. Both of them are big names in their own right, so perhaps it became a challenge knowing where to shine the spotlight.”
Speaking during last night’s show, Robertson said: “After 20 years at the BBC, eight of them presenting Reporting Scotland, it’s my final programme. It has been a privilege.”
A spokeswoman for the BBC said that Robertson was leaving as due to “restructuring”. But she refused to say whether he was leaving because of the programme’s move to the single presenter format or if he had already decided to quit beforehand.
The spokeswoman said: “From September 29, Reporting Scotland will be presented by a single presenter. The change will bring BBC Scotland’s flagship news programme in line with the main BBC news bulletins at 6pm and 10pm and will reduce the number of presenters on the Reporting Scotland roster.
We can confirm that David Robertson will no longer be presenting Reporting Scotland. We would like to thank David for the high standards and professionalism he has maintained during his time on Reporting Scotland and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Robertson, from Dundee, joined BBC Scotland in November 2000 as a presenter on Reporting Scotland. He had spent most of his career working at Network News based in London, reporting for World At One, PM and The World This Weekend on BBC Radio 4. He also worked as a newsreader on Radio 1, a reporter on BBC One’s Breakfast News and as a general BBC correspondent.
Sally Magnuson will take turns with Bird presenting the show.
30 April 2013: The bees win, democracy loses and the SNP get the blame.
Good news for our bees with EU member states voting to suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides for two years. The required majority for the suspension wasn’t reached so the unelected EU Commission will have the deciding vote and is thought to be in favour of the suspension.
The UK voted against the ban despite a UK e petition with over 300,000 signatures urging Owen Paterson, the UK Environment Secretary, to bring in a ban. This highlights the lack of understanding in the UK of our subservience to the EU on most legislation.
The UK has no authority to ban pesticides as it’s an EU competence. If the UK had the authority they wouldn’t have banned neonicotinoids. Their policy would have been to ‘wait and see’ if the agents really were to blame. Wait and see until the bees are all dead maybe ?
Unsurprisingly BBC Scotland found an anti SNP angle to report on the ban and Jackie Bird said it was ‘a blow’ to Richard Lochhead the SNP Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment who also supported a ‘wait and see’ policy.
It wasn’t ‘a blow’ for Owen Paterson or the Conservative / Liberal coalition who actually voted against the ban of course. No, according to Jackie Bird of BBC Scotland, it was only ‘a blow’ to the SNP who had no vote on the matter.
1 July 2014: An Independent Secular Scotland
In an independent Scotland, our State Broadcaster will no longer be able to throw a switch at Broadcasting House at half-six so we can “see what’s happening in your region” as the UK split up like excited children so Jackie Bird can report with a rictus grin an egg-and-spoon race in Newton Mearns.
We’ll go our own way while England, Wales and its mad religious aunt in the attic can make their own news. I hope that if we do still find our news interrupted by patronising ‘Thought for the Days’ in a modern Scotland, it is offered on the grounds of merit and not simply because you are religious.
13 August 2014: Jackie Bird Interviews Alex Salmond
Bird’s pathetic attempts to wrong foot FM were dreadful to watch. she appeared totally out of her depth throughout. her rude, sneering, sarcastic, condescending tone making her look a complete & utter fool, dealing with a serious topic such as Scotland’s future is definitely not her forte. she came across as a fully paid up member of the “No” camp. only thing missing was the union flag dress.
9 September 2014: Jackie Bird and Alistair Darling agree the Vow means – Devo Max’
Those were the words of Jackie Bird on September 9th, a mere 9 days before the independence referendum.
One day earlier Gordon Brown had surprised everyone by promising even more powers than was previously on offer should Scots vote No. The former Labour leader described the prize as ‘Home Rule’ and announced a timetable within which legislation would be drawn up.
The Better Together campaign was in turmoil and that weekend had just witnessed a shock new poll which put Yes ahead by 2 points – 51% to 49%. Better Together’s own private polling, according to BBC reporter Laura Kuenssberg, had put Yes further ahead on 53%. The polling was enough to spook the No campaign, and a panicked Gordon Brown upped their offer.
When Jackie Bird then promoted the idea that Scots were now being offered Devo Max, Alistair Darling was only too happy to accept the Reporting Scotland presenter’s description of the new powers. Darling then went on to tell viewers to the early evening news programme that legislation would be in place by November.
A pledge made in panic has now become an albatross around the neck of the three Unionist parties. Alex Salmond was the first to signal the intention of the SNP to pursue Westminster over the Home Rule pledge.
The person widely expected to replace him as First Minister repeated the intent with language that left her opponents in no doubt that Scotland will not tolerate anything less than full honouring of the Brown/Darling pledge.
Yesterday, in her formal speech where she publicly announced her candidacy for the soon to be vacated role of leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Through Gordon Brown’s speaking we were told – with the authority of each of the parties in the Better Together campaign – The promise was clear and it was unmistakeable. This package would be ‘Home Rule’ and something near to federalism.
Well, let me say this to Westminster on behalf of Scotland – it had better be. If the UK parties move forward in that spirit, they will have, in me, a willing partner for progress. If not, they will pay a heavy political price – not because I say so but because the people of Scotland will make it so.”
Whether we call it, as Jackie Bird did, Devo Max or as Gordon Brown did Home Rule, one thing is now certain, the three Unionist parties are now suffering from one almighty post-indyref hangover and it will last until May next year when the UK general election takes place.
The SNP has been quick out of the traps and are already ensuring voters who voted No in the hope of more powers, do not forget what extra powers were pledged. These are the voters Labour is trying to win back in Scotland, having lost them to the Yes Alliance parties. But how will these voters react if, by the time of the UK general election, there is no sign of Home Rule or Devo Max?
9 September 2014: Alex Salmond and Jackie Bird – Scotland’s Referendum 2014 An interview conducted shortly after the Darling interview. Note the difference in attitude.
Protest at BBC HQ
14 September 2014: Amazing scenes outside BBC Scotland HQ as thousands protest at anti-indy bias
Reporting Scotland presenter Jackie Bird had told viewers that Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said a currency union would be “incompatible with an independent Scotland”. It subsequently transpired that Mr Carney had not in fact used the phrase “independent Scotland” but had in fact used the term “sovereignty” – a wholly different thing.
The BBC’s former Business Editor, Paul Mason, launched a stinging attack on the BBC over its coverage of the Scottish independence campaign. Mason, who worked for the BBC for 12 years before becoming Economics Editor at Channel 4 News in 2013, wrote on his Facebook page that “Not since Iraq have I seen BBC News working at propaganda strength like this. So glad I’m out of there.”
16 July 2015: BBC Scotland’s coverage of Mhairi Black’s maiden speech was embarrassing
Electrifying, said the Daily Mirror. A viral hit, said The Guardian, featuring the smiling 20-something on its front page. Scots MP takes Westminster by storm single-handed, said Channel 4. Watch this 20-year-old legislator completely own the UK Parliament, said the heavyweight Time magazine. It’s not often you have an MP trending – but then Mhairi Black is no ordinary politician, said Radio One’s Newsbeat. One of the best maiden speeches of the 2015 intake, said the normally Nat-bashing Daily Mail. Amazing, said the Independent, whose veteran political columnist, Simon Kelner, added: “She has helped restore this jaded old cynic’s faith in politics.”
And what did Reporting Scotland make of the phenomenon that was the blockbusting Commons debut of Mhairi Black MP?
They talked over a 20-second clip of her speech, but allowed viewers to hear the deputy speaker tell SNP MPs not to clap at the end of it. Twice. How could any news outlet get that judgement call so very badly wrong? Within 24 hours of her speech an estimated 6.5 million people had watched the student’s blistering attack on the welfare policies of the Tory Government.
In short, the world and its aunty were paying tribute to this passionate yet bridge-building young woman, who came from nowhere to beat the shadow foreign secretary in his Paisley heartland two short months ago. And yet Auntie herself wasn’t interested.
A wee bit about Bob Bird Ex Husband of Jackie Bird
14 November 1991 – Bird and the Scottish Sun Switch support to SNP. At the beginning of the 1990’s “News International” introduced “The Sun” to Scotland. Operating out of Kinning Park the first months proved to be fruitful, the newspaper gained a following of the Scottish 20-30 age group who embraced the the “new” brash outgoing message of “The Sun”.
Bob Bird, recently transferred to Scotland to run the operation persuaded News International executives to support an editorial policy entailing backing the SNP in it’s political endeavours, leaving the “Daily Record” to support the labour party. There was some initial reluctance on the part of London management but Rupert Murdoch himself authorised the policy, always dependent upon “The Sun” circulation increasing. It did massively. Bird’s new policy enhanced his status within NI and he was soon promoted taking over the post of Editor of “The Scottish News of the World.”
Things went well in Scotland until “The Sheridan Affair” which attracted bad publicity to News International. The Sun changed it’s policy withdrawing support to the SNP voicing a more jaundiced view towards Scottish Independence. Murdoch closed “The News of the World” because of shenanigans in England and Bob Bird was out of a job. Bird had to finance his own defence in any further developments pertaining to Sheridan. “News International” management walked away. Editorial policy of The Scottish Sun was transferred to the jurisdiction of Wapping in London. Muzzled and neutered. Andrew Marr’s book “The Battle For Scotland”.
30 August 2012: Bob Bird Ex Husband of Jackie Bird and Ex News of the World Editor charged over Tommy Sheridan case
The former editor of the News of the World in Scotland said he was “sad and disappointed” to face criminal charges linked to his conduct at the time of Tommy Sheridan’s defamation action against his newspaper.
Bird was detained at his Glasgow home by officers from Strathclyde Police and later charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice in 2006, when Sheridan successfully sued the tabloid over a string of salacious stories about his sex life.
The allegations are the latest to emerge from Operation Rubicon – set up by Strathclyde Police in parallel to a wider inquiry into alleged criminality at the News of the World in London.
Bob Bird is from London and has split his 40-year career between his home city and Glasgow. He left school to join weekly paper “The Newham Recorder” as a junior reporter then moved to “The Sun” in 1982 as a sub-editor.
Bird climbed through the News International ranks and within eight years was appointed editor of “The Scottish Sun”. He stayed there for eight years at the height of the circulation war among Scottish tabloids.
During this time he met Jackie Bird, then a Sun reporter, and the couple later married and had two children. He was made deputy editor of “The News of the World” in London, but by 2001 was back in Glasgow after being appointed editor of the Scottish version of the paper. The couple are now divorced and Bird is married to Janice, a beautician.
Last July, at the height of the phone hacking scandal, Bird told staff in Glasgow the News of the World was to print its final edition. Since then, he has been involved in PR and media consultancy work.
7 June 2015: Last editor of the Scottish News of the World tells all on Sheridan, phone-hacking, and final days of the infamous tabloid
Bob Bird faced the prospect of a criminal trial for nearly three years, but the former editor of the Scottish News of the World only found out from social media that his case had been dropped. The 59 year old, charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to the Tommy Sheridan defamation trial in 2006, said his daughter broke the news to him last week: “She saw something on Twitter, rang me up about 10 o’clock and said ‘dad, I think the charges have been dropped against you’.”
The Crown Office put out a statement, but Bird says the prosecutors have still not written to him. “I’ve not heard anything officially. That’s the modern world for you,” he says, in his only newspaper interview. Sitting in a cafe in Clarkston, Bird, who edited the now-defunct tabloid for eleven years, says he feels relieved about the Crown’s decision: “I hope we have drawn a line under the whole thing now and I can move on with my life. I feel like it’s been on hold since I lost my job.” The last three years have been hell, he says:
The closure of the News of the World in 2011 left him without a job; and he was charged a year later. Both events left a dark cloud hanging over his life. His immediate priority is to pay his legal bills. Unlike Andy Coulson – who was also declared a free man last week after his perjury trial in Edinburgh collapsed –
Bird’s costs are not being borne by his previous employer. “He [Coulson] had a clause in his contract to say that anything that happened to him whilst he was editor, they would indemnify him for. I wrote personally to people in positions of authority in News International three or four years ago and received no reply. I guess I’m stuck. Morally, I think they should have supported me.”
Videos of interest