Fiona Bruce has been confirmed as the new presenter of the BBC's Question Time.

The news presenter and Antiques Roadshow host, 54, will take up her role on the BBC One show when the new series returns on January 10 next year.

She landed the job, replacing veteran presenter David Dimbleby, after candidates hosted a pilot episode of the political programme, with panellists and a live audience.

READ MORE: Question Time: Ian Blackford wins over English voters on Brexit

The BBC News At Six and News At Ten host said: "It is an honour to be asked to take on one of the great political programmes of the BBC. Particularly at a time of such historic change for the UK and tumult at Westminster.

The National:

"For many years Question Time has been presented by one of my television heroes so I am thrilled and not a little daunted to be stepping into his shoes.

"But it is a programme I have watched for as long as I can remember and have long wanted to be part of. I can't wait to get started."

Bruce will become the first female presenter of the BBC One current affairs panel show.

Dimbleby announced in June that he would be leaving the role in December, after 25 years in the presenter's chair.

Names tipped among his possible successors had included Kirsty Wark, Emily Maitlis, Victoria Derbyshire, Nick Robinson, Jeremy Paxman, John Humphrys and Huw Edwards.

Dimbleby first presented Question Time on January 14 1994 and is the longest serving presenter of the show.

He beat rival Jeremy Paxman after each had to endure a gruelling audition for the role.

The debate programme was previously hosted by Peter Sissons and its first host Sir Robin Day.

Director of BBC News and Current Affairs Fran Unsworth said: "Question Time is one of our flagship political programmes, giving people across Britain the chance to hold the powerful to account.

"David Dimbleby has done an extraordinary job as chair over the last 25 years.

"David is a tough act to follow, but Fiona impressed us all - with her authority, warmth, and ability to connect with the audience and champion their concerns. We're delighted to have her at the helm."

Director of BBC Content Charlotte Moore said: "The role of Question Time host has a unique place in British political life, bringing together the public and politicians every week in front of millions of viewers on BBC One.

"David has been a wonderful host for many years. Fiona's huge experience and long established relationship with audiences make her the ideal person to follow in his footsteps."

Bruce, who used to present Crimewatch, will continue to present the main news bulletins regularly and will still present Antiques Roadshow and Fake Or Fortune.

The journalist joined the BBC as a researcher on Panorama in 1989 and over the next 14 years rose to become the first female newsreader on the BBC's flagship News At Ten.

Born to an English mother and Scottish father living as expats in Singapore, Bruce was educated between the UK and Italy, first at Gayton Primary School on the Wirral and then at the International School of Milan.

She returned to the UK at 14 to study at Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College in New Cross, south-east London, picking up a lucrative sideline modelling for the now defunct girls' magazine Jackie.

Studying at the University of Oxford, Bruce went punk, dyeing her hair blue for a week, joining a band and becoming involved in activism.

After a brief stint working as a management consultant, Bruce joined the BBC, eventually becoming secondary presenter on the Six O'Clock News.

In 2003, as part of a major BBC reshuffle, Bruce was offered the job of presenting the Ten O'Clock News. She accepted, becoming the first female presenter on the flagship bulletin.

Bruce has also presented some of the BBC's best-loved light entertainment programmes, such as Antiques Roadshow and Fake Or Fortune? and has become one of the BBC's best-paid stars, earning more than £350,000 a year.

In 1994, she married Nigel Sharrocks, a media chairman, in a ceremony in Islington, north London. They have two children, a 20-year-old son, Sam, and daughter Mia, born in November 2001.

Bruce has been vocal in her support for feminism and said in 2014 that she does not use social media because of the abuse and trolling directed at women in the public eye.

Her less serious side has been seen during the BBC's Children In Need telethons. In 2007 she emerged from behind a news desk for a song and dance segment.

Her rendition that night of All That Jazz from the musical Chicago so impressed the team behind its West End revival that they invited her on stage during its 10th anniversary special.

Bruce will first be seen on screen in her Question Time role on January 10.