This is it. The polls are open in the 2015 General Election and will close at 10pm, where the result of the exit poll, which has been jointly commissioned by the BBC, ITV and Sky, will be revealed.
All three networks, along with Channel 4, will provide Election results throughout the night and deep into Friday as Great Britain chooses its next parliament.
But who will govern the country will be anything but straight forward as the poll of polls suggest we are heading for a hung parliament. Deals and counter-deals are likely to dominate Friday’s news agenda.
So how will the networks present their results programme? There’ll be very little coverage of the election throughout Thursday as electioneering isn’t allowed on polling day, but come 9/10pm the networks will enter overdrive.
BBC One / BBC News Channel
The BBC’s main programme starts at 9.55pm on BBC One and BBC News Channel.
Live from Elstree studios, David Dimbleby will front the main programme and will be speaking to a range of guests and fielding live results from 220 counts.
BBC Political editor Nick Robinson will assess the impact this result will have in the days, weeks and years ahead.
Jeremy Vine will once again be using the swingometer, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, to measure the percentage of swing between the parties.
This year there will be four swingometers, designed to look like the four clock faces of the Elizabeth Tower, representing the swing between Conservative and Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem, and Labour and Lib Dem, and Labour and SNP (the Scottish National party features for the first time).
Andrew Neil will be interviewing politicians throughout the evening at the BBC Election Centre.
Emily Maitlis will illustrate and analyse the emerging picture behind the results with the help of a 2.5x6m touchscreen and Laura Kuenssberg will follow how the night is unfolding on social media.
Sophie Raworth will also be providing analysis at BBC New Broadcasting House on a giant map of the UK which shows each constituency result as they come in. The map makes each constituency the same size, giving a more accurate representation of the distribution of political power in the UK. Sophie will be joined by members of Generation 2015 – young voters from across the UK who will give their reaction as the results come in.
Reeta Chakrabarti will be giving audiences key updates every hour throughout the night from the BBC newsroom.
Away from the studio there will be BBC journalists at every count with Andrew Marr, Jon Sopel and Kamal Ahmed at the seats that are being fought for by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg.
Kirsty Wark will be in Glasgow as the picture unfolds in Scotland, Jo Coburn will be in Thanet – the seat Nigel Farage is hoping to win, Clive Myrie will be in Brighton to see if the Greens keep their seat there while Fiona Bruce will be in Sunderland (the fastest count) to see the first result declared.
BBC reporters including Hugh Pym, Samira Ahmed, Branwyn Jeffries, Naga Munchetty, Richard Bilton and Stephanie McGovern will be at key marginal seats across the UK.
From 9.55pm on ITV and ITV HD, Tom Bradby will be on air with the fastest results and the sharpest analysis from an expert panel including two of the country’s leading psephologists: Professor Colin Rallings, ITV News’ election analyst for more than 20 years; and Professor Jane Green, from Manchester University, one of the Directors of the British Election Study.
Tom will be joined by special guests throughout the night, including former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell and former Labour MPs David Blunkett and Lord Mandelson.
Julie Etchingham will be interrogating key data in the studio from how the crucial target seats are behaving to the maths of the new House of Commons.
She’ll be using ITV’s ‘Commons Calculator’ to work out if anyone can form a majority or secure enough support from other parties to run Britain for the next five years.
Nina Hossain will be joined by key commentators and analysts in ITV’s specially designed ‘Opinion Room’ – a working environment where the country’s top writers, bloggers and thinkers will watch the results come in and share their expert interpretation of the night.
Guests will include The Times political writers Daniel Finkelstein, Phillip Collins, Matthew Parris and Jenni Russell; Professor Vernon Bogdanor; Guardian columnist Owen Jones; The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson and Isabel Hardman; Contributing Editor, Newsweek, Miranda Green; author of ‘Revolt on the Right’, Matthew Goodwin; LBC’s Nick Ferrari; writer and biographer, David Torrance; political and social justice commentator, Sophia Cannon; Institute of Government’s Dr Catherine Haddon; Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, Katie Ghose; political strategist, Jag Singh; journalist and campaigner, Paris Lees; Founder of the Common Decency Campaign, Brian May; poet, Musa Okwonga; British Future’s Sunder Katwala and UCL Constitution Unit’s Robert Hazell; William Hill’s Graham Sharpe and Hjalmar Kvam and ComRes pollster Andrew Hawkins.
ITV News’ team of specialist journalists, from Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship to the dedicated target teams led by James Mates, Carl Dinnen, Emily Morgan and Rohit Kachroo, will be unpicking the most complex issues of election night for viewers and challenging the decision-makers at the heart of the government, supported by ITV’s political journalists at Westminster. Correspondents Martin Geissler and Romilly Weeks will be based in Scotland to report on one of the biggest angles of Election 2015.
ITV News will be live in more than 60 locations across the UK, while 300 lenses will be capturing events on the road across the UK. ITV regional news will have more than 120 reporters at counts across the UK who will support the network programme throughout the night, contributing to rolling news coverage online.
Jeremy Paxman and David Mitchell will preside over Channel 4’s Alternative Election evening and will be joined by a host of guests in the studio and around the country with their take on the unfolding story.
Richard Osman will be on hand to provide his interpretation of events, with Gary Gibbon and Cathy Newman providing hard-edged commentary on the political story.
The Channel 4 News reporting team will be on the ground in key electoral battlegrounds, reporting right through the night and bringing the latest news and results.
The show will also include special election-themed episodes of Gogglebox and The Last Leg.
9.00pm: The Alternative Election
9.30pm: The Last Leg Election Special
10.00pm: Gogglebox Election Special
11.00pm: Paxman & Mitchell: Alternative Election
12.00am: Alternative Election – The Results
6.00am – Normal programming resumes
Sky News will be live from over 270 declarations. Partnering with Live U, this is the most ambitious and wide ranging results service available and will ensure viewers have the most up to date information as it happens.
Sky’s main election coverage kicks off at 9pm in a new specially created studio at Osterley. Adam Boulton will front the programme with Faisal Islam and polling expert Michael Thrasher, interpreting the results as they are announced giving viewers at home the latest on what this means for the future leadership of the UK.
The Sky News team will broadcast from key constituencies across the UK including Kay Burley from Witney, David Cameron’s seat, Anna Botting from Sheffield Hallam, Nick Clegg’s constituency, Andrew Wilson from Margate where Nigel Farage will be hoping to gain the Thanet South seat, Jeremy Thompson from Ed Miliband’s constituency in Doncaster, and Eamonn Holmes will be in Sunderland where the first result of the night is expected to be announced.
Sky News will also be teaming up with Sky Arts this evening for a special broadcast, Election Newsroom Live. From 10pm to 8am fixed rig cameras within the Sky News studios will offer viewers a glimpse behind the scenes on election night at Sky News in real time.
Mark Longhurst will give running commentary of what is happening and Martin Stanford will use a mini camera to present live during the evening.
Friday 8th May
BBC One / BBC News
At 7am, Huw Edwards takes the helm from David and will continue to lead the coverage from Elstree until 6pm. Coverage will switch to BBC Two for a hour at 2.30pm to allow BBC One to broadcast the VE Day commemoration at The Cenotaph.
Andrew Neil will be at the House of Commons as politicians head back to Westminster to take part in the formation of a new government.
Emily Maitlis, Jeremy Vine and Sophie Raworth will continue to bring in key results and explain how votes might be translating into a new government.
BBC teams will also be reporting at all the party headquarters and in Downing Street.
From 6am, Good Morning Britain will bring viewers the results, reactions and analysis of the most closely contested general election in recent history, the morning after polling day. Presenters Susanna Reid and Tom Bradby will present the programme from the Good Morning Britain studio while Ben Shephard will report from a Thames riverside location, where he will be speaking to key pundits and opinion formers.
John Stapleton will be live from Abingdon Green, the heart of Westminster, interviewing leading political figures for their response to the election results and Lorraine Kelly will be live in Glasgow, overlooking the Clyde in Govan. She will be talking to the key Scottish political figures who could play a major role in the next government. Good Morning Britain’s Political Editor Sue Jameson will be sharing insight on the power struggles going on behind the closed doors of Westminster.
A team of Good Morning Britain correspondents and ITV News national and regional journalists will support the key presenters and there will be informed analysis from Britain’s top experts. This includes commentary from the country’s best-loved political sparring partners, Edwina Currie and Oona King and three former spin doctors. There will also be further insight from political pundits Andrew Pierce and Kevin Maguire.
From 9.25am, ITV News will be back on air, throughout day two, with a special extended programme presented by Alastair Stewart. He’ll be joined by leading politicians and key reporters from across the country – alongside experts including Colin Rallings from Plymouth University and Constitutional Historian Vernon Bogdanor.
ITV’s top journalists will analyse how the nation has voted and who will be the next occupant of Number Ten.
At 2.30pm, ITV will will broadcast the VE Day commemoration at The Cenotaph, and will return to Election coverage at 3.30pm.
At 6pm there’ll be comprehensive coverage and election round-ups from the ITV regions.
Alastair Stewart and Mary Nightingale will be bringing the ITV News at 6.30pm live from Downing Street and Westminster, while later, Mark Austin and Julie Etchingham will host an extended ITV News at Ten with analysis from Political Editor Tom Bradby.
Sky News Presenter Dermot Murnaghan will take the baton from 5am broadcasting live from Westminster where Sky News’ coverage will remain until a government is formed.
The nominations for the 2019 RTS Television Journalism Awards have been announced. The awards, for both news and current affairs, seek to recognise creative and excellent journalism by organisations whose broadcasts are transmitted on a UK based platform or who create online video content from…