Naga Munchetty, 45, has often been described by fans of BBC Breakfast as the most “feisty” presenter on the show, but there’s a reason behind it. The host revealed that she strives for “accurate” and “impactful” news for their viewers, and sometimes that comes at a price.
There are lessons to be learnt
In an interview with Radio Times, Naga revealed that her work day usually begins at 5am, when she arrives at the studio to preview the morning’s scripts.
But before the show goes go on-air, she admitted she “tears up” the headlines, in an on-going, light-hearted row with Mark Grannell, assistant editor of the program.
“I do come in and tear apart the headlines. But we disagree agreeably — what we all want is for the news to be accurate but also impactful,” she explained to the publication.
“We’re not the Today programme on television,” Mark added.
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“Depending on what the main news is, we try and inject a bit of light into the shade. The interaction between the presenters is really important.”
That it is, and Naga has been hailed for her “banter” with not only her usual co-host Charlie Stayt, but Dan Walker, too.
Fans cheer when the two appear beside each other on the red sofa and eagerly anticipate their loveable teasing.
But with a more relaxed atmosphere comes risks of “crossing the line”, as she discovered last year.
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Naga became the centre of an Ofcom whirlwind for expressing her anger and disgust after controversial US president Donald Trump told four congresswomen to “go back home”.
Following many complaints, the broadcaster launched an investigation and deemed she had breached their code of conduct, a claim which was later thrown out by BBC director-general Tony Hall.
“There are lessons to be learnt,” she said of the situation.
“The Breakfast team was very supportive at the time and, since then, I’ve had regular conversations with Tony Hall and other BBC bosses. My whole strategy was to just keep my head down because I didn’t want to be the story.”
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Dan previously told Radio Times that he remains adamant he has “no regrets” about the way to pair handled the discussion on-air.
“Breakfast isn’t the 10 o’clock news, we are there to share a bit of ourselves, and maybe we shared a bit too much,” he admitted.
“At the time it felt a very natural conversation. We knew in that moment that it was different to the sort of things we usually talk about. But I don’t regret it, and I don’t think Naga does either.”
The Football Focus host revealed he hasn’t before broken his silence on the issue “out of respect” for Naga, after previously asking her if she wanted him to speak out.
“I felt I should have said something in support of her, but she didn’t want any more attention,” he said.
“The day the story came out, I wrote to Tony Hall, saying, ‘If Naga is guilty, then I’m guilty’. At the time I didn’t know I’d been mentioned in the original complaint.”
He insisted that the BBC should have given a “more robust defence” of their presenters, after admitting they both “sailed near the line”.
Despite her run in with the complaints unit, Naga remains “business as usual” on the infamous red sofa and continues to cheer fans up in the morning with her cheeky one-liners.
BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One.