IT has been 24 years since she fronted an evening news bulletin on BBC1, but this weekend saw Julia Somerville return to prime time TV – at the age of 63.

The BBC has responded to accusations of ageism by recruiting the veteran anchor to join its team of Saturday evening presenters on the Weekend News at 10.20pm.

Mum-of-two ­Somerville, who beat a brain tumour in 1993, first hosted the Nine O’Clock News on BBC1 in 1983.

Four years later she moved to ITN, before joining ITV’s News at Ten – where she stayed until 1999.

Last year Somerville was hired by the BBC, along with Fiona Armstrong, 54, Zeinab Badawi, 51, and 50-year-old Carole Walker, to front the ­broadcaster’s News Channel.

The move to bring in more mature female faces followed Arlene Phillips’ axing from Strictly Come Dancing at the age of 66.

Since then Moira Stuart, 61, has also been rehired as a ­newsreader on BBC Radio 2.

Earlier this month Countryfile’s Miriam O’Reilly, 53, won a case for age discrimination against the BBC after she was dropped from the rural affairs show.