Fran Unsworth

Director, BBC World Service Group


Francesca is the Director of the BBC World News Service. She was formerly the Deputy Director of News and Current Affairs. From November 2012 until August 2013, she was Acting Director of News.
Prior to that, Francesca was appointed Head of BBC Newsgathering in January 2005.
BBC Newsgathering is one of the world’s largest broadcast Newsgathering operations with more than 40 international bureaux and seven in the UK and Ireland.
The department is the heart of BBC News, providing live coverage and reports to all radio and television and multimedia News outlets.
It employs around 800 people, most of whom are journalists, including the BBC’s range of specialist journalists in Social Affairs, Business and World Affairs.
Prior to this appointment, Francesca spent several years based at Westminster as Head of BBC Political Programmes.
The unit ran the political news coverage and TV and radio programmes such as Question Time, This Week and Today In Parliament.
Francesca has spent all of her journalistic career in the BBC, beginning in local radio in Bristol and Leicester, before becoming a producer on Radio 1’s Newsbeat.
Between 1990 and 1993 she was a senior producer of BBC Radio 4’s The World At One and PM.
In 1990, she travelled to Washington to work as a BBC network radio producer during the Gulf crisis and Gulf War.
She moved to Newsgathering and ran the BBC’s Home News coverage, including events such as the Paddington train crash, Stansted hijacking and award-winning coverage of Northern Ireland.
She completed stints during that time on BBC One’s One and Six O’Clock News as a producer and output editor.
Francesca Unsworth was born in 1957 and is from North Staffordshire. She was a pupil at St Dominic’s High School for Girls, Stoke-on-Trent, from 1969 to 1974, and studied drama at Manchester University from 1976 to 1979.