Former BBC presenter Anna Ford has become the first female newsreader to join Independent Television News.
The former Tomorrow’s World reporter will be ITV’s answer to the BBC news presenter Angela Rippon.
The appointment comes after a turbulent week in which Miss Ford has been faced with legal action by her former employers at the BBC.
When ITN confirmed that the 34-year-old would be joining them, the BBC opposed the move on the grounds that she would be in breach of her contract.
But they eventually released Miss Ford from her one-year agreement, which still has 10 months to run, following a legal battle behind the scenes.
A BBC spokesman said: “We are sorry to lose her, but we will do nothing to stop her.”
Miss Ford is expected to receive an annual starting salary of £14,000 from ITN, compared with her £10,000 contract at the BBC.
She will make her debut on ITN’s News at One programme on 9 March.
Miss Ford joined Tomorrow’s World from the BBC documentary series Man Alive last autumn after working as a researcher for Granada Television.
Before her career in television, she was a staff tutor in social studies at the Open University in Northern Ireland.
Miss Ford, who is a niece of Lord Winstanley, studied at Manchester University, where she attained a BA honours degree in economics.
ITN newsreader Reginald Bosanquet welcomed her appointment.
“I have never been averse to working with ladies,” he said.
“But I judge all my colleagues on professionalism. I do not know Anna but I have heard that she is a very competent and professional lady.”
Miss Ford will be in direct competition with the presenter of BBC Nine O’Clock News Angela Rippon.
Miss Rippon has had a high public profile since she became the first female newsreader on TV in 1975.
ITV bosses are now hoping Miss Ford can fill a similar role in their news schedule.
Courtesy BBC News
Within two months of joining ITN, Anna Ford went on to present their flagship programme, News At Ten, with Alastair Burnet.
She also turned down an invitation to appear on the Morecambe and Wise Christmas show in the same year despite the fact Angela Rippon joined the pair for a famous dance routine in an earlier festive show in 1976.
Miss Ford continued to work for ITN until 1981 when she moved over to ITV’s breakfast programme TV-AM.
She returned to the BBC in 1986 and went on to present the Six O’Clock News in 1989.
Miss Ford then became the presenter of the BBC’s One O’Clock News when it re-launched in May 1999.
In July 2003 she received a doctorate from Queen’s University in Belfast for her services to journalism and in 2004 she was presented with the royal charter by the Queen for the formal establishment of the University of Manchester.
She retired from newsreading in 2006.