Laura Kuenssberg: Sunday politics show ratings are not down since Andrew Marr

Laura Kuenssberg with the then Conservative Party leader candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak in September 2022 (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)
Laura Kuenssberg with the then Conservative Party leader candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak in September 2022 (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

Laura Kuenssberg has defended her audience viewing figures since taking over the BBC’s flagship Sunday politics programme from Andrew Marr.

The 47-year-old former BBC political editor had her first episode of Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg in September last year shortly before Liz Truss was revealed as Boris Johnson’s successor as Prime Minister.

Marr had presented The Andrew Marr Show in the Sunday slot for 16 years before leaving the corporation at the end of 2021.

In a recent interview, Kuenssberg told the Telegraph that her show is in “great shape” and “up in terms of audience” following reports that TV ratings were down.

Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg
Comedian Joe Lycett arriving at BBC Broadcasting House in London last year for Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg (James Manning/PA)

She said: “The average viewing figures for Andrew Marr were 1.45 million in 2019, 1.36 million in 2018 and 1.5 million in 2017.

“The average since I took over is 1.5 million, which in a time of fracturing audience figures is bucking the trend.”

Kuenssberg also talked about the “whole ecosystem” of her reach which includes a weekend edition of Newscast with BBC Radio 4’s Paddy O’Connell along with her social media.

She said: “We’re reaching a broader, more female demographic. I’m happy with where we are at but I am not going to relax.”

Since Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg launched, she has changed the format from Marr’s days to include a panel – which has featured comedians, journalists, actors and experts – that reacts to the week’s news.

This has generated headline moments such as when comedian Joe Lycett appeared to sarcastically praise Ms Truss and jokingly claimed he was “very right-wing” during the first instalment of the programme.

Comedian Ben Elton also criticised Rishi Sunak during an appearance on the show in June after listening to the Prime Minister being interviewed.

Kuenssberg also ruled out a Strictly Come Dancing appearance, saying “you’ll never catch me wearing sparkly pants” and said she steers clear of the personal in her job.

“Other people in your life don’t choose your work so why should they be the subject of anyone else’s attention?” she said. “I made that rule years ago and I’m not going to break it now.”

She is set to head a BBC documentary, Laura Kuenssberg: State Of Chaos, which will look back at the Brexit referendum to the end of the leadership of Ms Truss.

Ahead of the first episode airing on Monday, Kuenssberg previously said: “The referendum result triggered years of turbulence in our politics – chaos inside the Conservative Party and Parliament, with prime ministers coming and going in quick succession.

“I want to take viewers behind the scenes to show them what really happened, and ask whether after all the craziness, politics will ever be the same again?”