|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2011)|
|Presented by||Mary Rhodes
|Theme music composer||David Lowe|
|Country of origin||England, United Kingdom|
|Location(s)||The Mailbox, Birmingham
|Running time||30 minutes
(main 6:30pm programme)
|Production company(s)||BBC Midlands|
|Original channel||BBC One Midlands|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV 16:9)|
|Original release||28 September 1964– present|
|Related shows||BBC News,
East Midlands Today,
ITV News Central
Midlands Today is produced by BBC Midlands and broadcasts on BBC One seven days a week. The programme is produced and broadcast from the BBC studios in The Mailbox, Birmingham. Journalists are also based at newsrooms in Coventry, Shrewsbury, Stoke-on-Trent and Worcester.
The programme began on 28 September 1964, broadcasting from a small room in the Birmingham Register Office before moving to the custom-built Pebble Mill broadcasting centre in Edgbaston on 10 November 1971. It remained there until the studios closed on 22 October 2004 when the BBC Birmingham operations were switched to the current Home at The Mailbox.
Up until 1991, Midlands Today also served the East Midlands, which has since received its own BBC regional news service. The programme's editorial area consists of the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and northern parts of Gloucestershire.
Midlands Today is broadcast from the Sutton Coldfield transmitter in the West Midlands and can be watched in any part of the UK on Sky, Freesat and in the rest of Europe via Astra 2E at 28.2° East (10788V 22000 5/6). The latest edition is also available to view again on the Midlands Today website.
On weekdays, Midlands Today broadcasts five 3-minute opt-outs and one 1.5-minute opt-out during BBC Breakfast at around 25 and 55 minutes past each hour. A fifteen-minute lunchtime programme follows at 1:30pm before the main half-hour edition at 6:30pm. The late update is shown at 10:25pm, following the BBC News at Ten.
At weekends, there is a short bulletin on Saturday evening and two on Sundays - early evening and late night. Broadcast times for these bulletins vary.
Former presenters have included Tom Coyne, Kay Alexander (the programme's longest serving presenter), Alan Towers, David Stevens, Alastair Yates, Guy Thomas, Grant Mansfield, David Davies, Kathy Rochford (who transferred to the East Midlands), Sue Beardsmore, Stuart Linnell, Matt Smith, Julian Worricker, Ashley Blake (who was sacked in August 2009 after a criminal court case), Bernardette Kearney, Pauline Bushnell, Michael Buerk, Suzanne Virdee, Ben Rich, Jackie Kabler, Sarah Cruickshank, Peter Sissons and Katie Rowlett.
Senior presenter Alan Towers's on-air departure in July 1997 (after twenty five years) brought about one of the most controversial moments in the programme's history when he shared indignant views on BBC management, describing them as pygmies in grey suits wearing blindfolds.