Strong personality? Tick. Works well on camera? Tick. Regional accent? Double tick

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Somewhere in deepest, darkest Manchester there is a senior BBC executive with an enormous smile on their face.

Because after the corporation’s much trumpeted move ‘oop north’ to their swanky new Salford home, they have finally found a TV presenter with a regional accent – and you can bet a sufficient sum of money you’ll be hearing a lot more of her.

Steph McGovern isn’t merely Welsh, Irish or Scottish – which the BBC has long tried to ensure had a tick in the relevant box – but from Tyneside. A proper, no questions asked, regional accent. Close your eyes and engage your very best patronising approach, and us southern softies could almost imagine she’s a proper working class girl.

The BBC will have practically wept tears of joy at her emergence.

In fact, if you wake up to BBC Breakfast on TV in the morning and have got in the habit of an evening commute with Radio 5 Live, you’ll already be familiar with her work. Never let it be said the BBC don’t know a good thing when they see one.

Not that Radio 5 is an accent-free zone. It has long since put a warm arm around all corners of the UK and hugged it close to its warm sporting bosom. But in front of the cameras it is not such a smorgasbord of voices.

In truth, McGovern is far more than just a useful regional twang in an environment traditionally dominated by the clear cut accent of middle England.

She is sharp, witty and versatile (as the business expert she also made headlines by carrying the excruciating sports reporter Mike Bushell on her back in a reversal of tradition at the recent ‘carrying your wife’ race. Had she dropped him on his head, she may well have earned extra kudos).

Make no mistake, she thoroughly deserves her prominence.

But you can also be sure that her accent will ensure she stands head and shoulders above many rivals.

Just a few years ago, the then-director general made it clear he wanted more regional accents and lo, it has come to pass. Well, at least one has.

If you’re not familiar with Steph McGovern, it’s a fair bet to say you soon will be.


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