On this day in 1972, Newsround made its debut on television screens. It was one of the world’s first television news magazines aimed specifically at children.
Originally known as John Craven’s Newsround, it was mostly presented by John Craven between 4 April 1972 and 22 June 1989.
The programme gradually developed its own presentation team, including Roger Finn and Helen Rollason, with Craven in the dual role of chief presenter and programme editor. For most of its first two decades, Newsround drew upon the BBC’s network of national and international correspondents such as John Humphrys, Michael Buerk and Martin Bell. The programme gradually developed its own small reporting team, including Lucy Mathen, Paul McDowell and long-serving space editor Reg Turnill.
Shortly before Craven’s departure, the show was renamed Newsround, and was then presented by a rotating team including Juliet Morris, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Julie Etchingham, Chris Rogers, Kate Sanderson, Matthew Price and Becky Jago. Regular reporters on the programme, who have also presented it, included Paul Welsh, Lizo Mzimba and Terry Baddoo.
The distinctive opening theme used for the first fifteen years of the programme was not composed especially for it, but is instead the opening eight bars of a 1968 cover of “Johnny One Note” by Ted Heath and his Music. The closing sting used the last couple of bars of “New Worlds” by John Baker, recorded by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
Newsround was the first British television programme to break the news of the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger on 28 January 1986. This edition was presented by Roger Finn, who had only recently joined the programme.
The programme was also first in Britain to report an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in Vatican City in 1981 and provided the first reports from the Windsor Castle fire of November 1992.