BNF

BBC News Fix

  • BBC News Presenter Count 2016: January – June: BBC News at One

    *I put my hand up like an eager student in the classroom.* “Ask me, Miss, I have a really good question, actually two…” Everyone gets chills from the fact that I, Tom Scudamore, am getting quizzical. They should release a song parodying Olivia Newton John’s Physical to that. Oh, and here’s a reveal: I asked an MP a two minute question once.

    Right: First of all, “Does anyone actually watch the Lunchtime News?” I used to, but that’s because mum always was going to watch the soap Neighbours that, yes, existed on BBC One in the Noughties. The days of Anna Jones fronting this bulletin, eh? I mean… that first question I ask has relevance. The BBC News at One has been an institution forever, but its quality and significance to the day’s events must feel a little underwhelming if you’re in it, right? One o’clock is a hot stop for us all, newsy or not, to check in with our cast of correspondents often at Westminster or Brussels. And you know why. BREXIT. Often the lunchtime show also reports a bunch of seriously bonkers court cases with some real scary stories tucked away from the law department in the BBC Newsroom. That’s probably what I find most interesting to hear from Reeta Chakrabarti every other day, if we’re going out on an all-honesty policy.

    My point? The format of the BBC News at One just doesn’t suit the significance of the day’s events as they have been unfolding the way they have since Brexit. People should be flocking to the lunchtime bulletin that gives the BBC NC producers a half-hour break to sort their agenda. Maybe people are flocking but… the insular, studio-prioritised run-down of stories lacks the bite and attention the Six with Georgy garners every night. Perhaps it’s the people. Which brings me onto question number deux:

    “How come, even though the stats are going to suggest otherwise, there isn’t a Huw or George on the News at One, who people recognise as The One on The One. Get it?!” This used to be Sophie Raworth’s gig. As you’re about to find out, it kinda still is. Yet this show has been in transition for years and I’m blaming Kate Silverton for disappearing. This is a show where anyone from the BBC could show up to host. Seriously, you may as well invite Alexander Armstrong to join the list below. It really is like Have I Got News for You, or more realistically Victoria Derbyshire, where Norman Smith of all people gets to lose the tie and ride for a swimming two hours of live action. Fun stuff but again, my point? Budget cuts. People. The News at One’s significance.

    In my laziness watching the show, this just isn’t the hot half-hour I want and for my tips you can read below. If the BBC are invested in this bulletin they’d make it even more exclusive than the random choice of presenter everyday which, more often than you think, is a reader borrowed from the News Channel’s afternoon shift. For formatting revolutionary policy: I just don’t know how they’re going to transform the lunchtime news into Ten territory, but I’d like them to. And after saying all this… here’s the Count.

    (1) Sophie Raworth – 46

    (2) Gavin Esler – 41

    (3) Reeta Chakrabarti – 40

    (4) Simon McCoy – 19

    (5) Jane Hill – 17

    (6) Ben Brown – 10

    (7) Kate Silverton – 8

    (8) Maxine Mawhinney – 4

    Christian Fraser – 4

    (9) Nicholas Owen – 2

    Annita McVeigh – 2

    Clive Myrie – 2

    Shaun Ley – 2

    (10) Rachel Schofield – 1

    Nicholas Witchell – 1

    Deep breath, count to… One. OK, it’s clear that going forward Sophie Raworth is the chosen one, but only by a snatch. Seriously, folks, Reeta’s fair game for this programme and my doubts in the past about her have been overridden – because she’s been given a chance. The fact that I could see Reeta and Sophie switching places cuts real deep to my issue: that One is almost becoming an audition pit for the BBC’s future Sophie Raworth, and Raworth just isn’t checking in as much as I’d like her to. Where are the days of her owning it?! I appreciate she deputises the Six but… McCoy, Hill, Brown on location, even Silverton (hooray): that’s teamwork, and the teamwork thing doesn’t make me feel any more confident about the future for this essential piece of television. In the hour of news from Westminster breaking and, yes, court case outcomes occurring, either Chakrabarti climbs to the dizzyingly-committed heights of Gavin Esler on his weekend version or the BBC lose all dignity for not making a switch even I am anticipating. It’s a weird way to look at things but seeing the Count forces this analysis: unless they return to the regular Monday/Tuesday-Friday gigs, the Count will remain as bizarre and all-over-the-place as it currently sits. Seriously, you could move McCoy into the One full-time and he’d have a higher count than Raworth’s 46 right now. Speaking of which, is that her age? Cos she’s, as ever, looking beautiful. Yes, another Scudamore newsreader crush.

    Worthy mentions: Ley, Schofield and Witchell, having benefitted from the New Year rotas and royal occasions, respectively. And Myrie! A daring guy planting his name all over our house of numbers. I ain’t gonna even consider him for this gig, which he used to reside in much more than his count here shows. (See last year.)

    Tom’s tips: Either Raworth returns full-time or Chakrabarti gets the spot permanently. Silverton should be back on Mondays by now, I sincerely miss her presence during the day. What is her deal with the BBC having come back from maternity, eh? That reminds me: Silverton on Derbyshire – thoughts? Anyway, you get the jist. The other solution: when McCoy calls it a day on the afternoon shift which he is losing regularity on, this will be his reward.

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s nerdy question-asking weirdo

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  • BBC News Presenter Count 2016: January – June: Victoria Derbyshire

    Victoria Derbyshire is amazing. The person, that is. Ever since she joined BBC Radio 5 live, her journalism has been consistently exemplary. She is a stellar BBC female journalist, joining the once solo rank held by Lyse Doucet. Here we have a strong, independent, head-on interviewer and presenter whose values are truly relevant to what this country wants in testing times: a voice who takes no prisoners, someone who is grappling with authority figures and regular people and mining the very core of what they are trying to say. Derbyshire could give deaf Humphrys a run for his money any day on an interview-formatted University Challenge, a dream television show I still haven’t worked out the rules for. Yes, Scudamore’s life reveals are back, in the form of his television dreams. More on that in today’s later entries.

    The thing is, I just don’t like Victoria’s show televised. Her TV show is the BBC owning up to not having anything exciting to offer once the Breakfast sofa packs up for the day on BBC One. It was a daring move, to shake up a whole radio station schedule and say, in honest code: “We are moving a presenter to encounter the problems we are encountering with Sky News. Our format, which works, is, because we’re the BBC, clearly not working, and Victoria is going to do her radio stuff on TV.” Sadly, the show never really got off the ground at all, not after the billing of “breaking news, exclusive interviews, debates and some lovely, lovely films we hope you’ll want to share on social media.” Not on that cringy day one where it looked like a cross between Matthew Wight and Jeremy Kyle. It never got off the ground during or after the election. And it was never going to when Victoria got cancer.

    The show’s hope is – through its mixture of “breaking news, exclusive interviews and debates” – you’ll switch off Jeremy Kyle, whose parade of human cruelty and unhappiness is the main competition from ITV in this time slot. And, on a year’s worth of evidence, “Victoria Derbyshire” is aiming, like Kyle, to present extremities of human experience, although with sympathy rather than prurience: a folk-show rather than a freak-show. I don’t know, I think me reviewing the show on here, against a tirade of quite passionate viewers who are certainly engaged with the programme, may be a sensitive battle to fight. It’s not even what I’m meant to be doing in reviewing the Count – note the word Count, the statistics our warrior Jack Axford must have spent forever conjuring. And it’s only the halfway mark for the year.

    In short, before I review the very small tally Derbyshire’s show has, presenter wise, I just want to make clear that, for me, this show has been consistently bland and average if we are comparing it to what it was billed: earth-shattering, shakey morning television. The BBC News Channel’s choice to simulcast it every day is clearly compromised by recent events like the Nice attacks, making the original stories that made Derbyshire’s radio show such a worthy listen secondary to anyone’s agenda of concern for news. I’m glad Victoria has won her battle with cancer. I’m in sheer awe of her willing to share the journey with us. I watched it. It made for compelling, emotional viewing. But I would gladly see the things return to the way they were. Normal rolling news in the morning where Derbyshire could arguably shine behind a desk like Joanna Gosling or Annita McVeigh. If not, Derbyshire on the radio and, yes, BBC2 showing morning, educational shows for those kids who have sick days. And whatever happened to Top Cat in the summers?! Massive sigh from this critic as I peek over my glasses to read the Count. Boom.

    (1) Victoria Derbyshire – 61

    (2) Joanna Gosling – 48

    (3) Norman Smith – 5

    (4) Jane Hill –1

    (5) Rebecca Jones – 1

    Here’s an extra piece of news: Gosling nearly tied with Derbyshire in the first quarter of the year. Either way, I’ve been impressed by how quickly Gosling acquitted herself with anchoring the show and, even this week, she continues to stun. Gosling, having sat behind a news desk with Ben Brown for so many years, is refreshing in solo form. Here’s to the graduation of a solo journalist who I doubted a decade ago. From here on, Derbyshire will most likely tot her count up over the 100 mark by the end of the year. Even on her radio show she took good doses of holiday leave, so it’ll be interesting to see whether that affects her for the next couple of years. And yes, I haven’t mentioned the cancer. I don’t want to. I’m glad Victoria is back presenting as the host of a show that has always had a proud banner to fly. And hey, this is a show which could have been deputised by Julian Worricker. Nope, this is the time of Norman Smith. He’s anchored some fascinating mornings and whether that is coincidental scheduling is up for debate. David Bowie’s death… it couldn’t have been reported or broke by anyone other than Norman Smith. That, my friends, is a bold claim I’m standing by.

    Tom’s tip for the future: More Jane Hill. I think she’s only been used on location this year, and I always enjoy her actually fronting the show in the studio. Let us not forget Hill fronted Madeline McCann’s disappearance in 2007, and she’s been impressive at Westminster these last few weeks. While Rebecca Jones only makes a mark newsreading while a debate occurred on Victoria’s show, it would be an interesting watch for her to present the gig, too, and why not an old guard presence like Julia Somerville? I know that would make our lovely new guy, Philip Martin, happy. Finally, while I considered suggesting Naga Munchetty, I think her Sunday Live gig is perhaps an overdose of broadcasting for her as much as I adore watching the Breakfast host. On that revealing note.

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s lover boy/harshest critic

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  • BBC News Presenter Count 2016: January – June: BBC Business Live

    There’s something inherently lazy about my attitude as a uni student in the offseason. I pledged to write these half-time counts at the beginning of July, and here we are a day away from tipping into August. Anyway, down to business – fitting, really, as the endless amount of writing I’m prepared to commit myself to this arvo begins with a close look at BBC Business Live. Sure, I still miss Simon McCoy in the mornings – there’s something deeply exciting about Breakfast handing over to the News Channel for proper news coverage at 8.30am, rather than Victoria Derbyshire at 9 where… well, the morning news is delivered in less bombastic, dramatic Sky-News fashion and more like afterthoughts you’d hear reported on Loose Women… Sorry, Annita McVeigh.

    Anyway, where were we? Ah yes. Business Live. This show has really made a name for itself, thanks to countless promos and the fact that we are living in a world where Brexit is code for The End of Days, Philip Hammond is Chancellor, markets are going Merckel minus the lovely American guy reassuring us from The Big Bank (I’ve been there! Know how to rob it!) and… well, Donald Trump is clearly grooming that hairdo of his for president. What does this all mean? Essentially this: being Ben Thompson and Sally Bundock must be fun, if not tiring. And Business Live is, yes, intense viewing. If only it were serialised and they left off with an inspired EastEnders doof-doof before the weather. On an entirely related note, here’s the count for the last six months:

    (1) Sally Bundock – 85

    (2) Ben Thompson – 73

    (3) Aaron Heslehurst – 24

    (4) Victoria Fritz – 21

    (5) Alice Baxter – 10

    (6) Maryam Moshiri – 5

    (7) Jamie Robertson – 3

    Rachel Horne – 3

    (8) Susannah Streeter – 2

    Ben Bland – 2

    OK, it’s impressive that Bundock and Thompson have matched their 2015 statistics before we even begin leg two of the 2016 run, and I’m not even naming that fact as the most significant to withdraw from this count. It’s clear that these two sealed the full-time gig, minus their other commitments, because they, like McCoy and Gracie as a news-reading companionship, formed a partnership that could tackle anything “live” and business-ey head-on. Under no means am I here to review the standards and presenting quality of all the shows on the BBC News Channel right now, but it’s clear that behind the scenes when you’ve got Sally and Benjamino in the house, that’s the pair you go with. Heslehurst’s count is high, if not a little too high, for the booming Aussie voice we are gifted with each Friday morn. Alas, with the charming, refreshingly professional Fritz by his side, it works and I’m always glad to see these two prime subs used as holiday cover. Fritz, especially, is even carving out a nice role on Breakfast as an anchor. The rest of the bench are expected names, nobody missing as far as my hazy eyes can see. I’d like more of Moshiri, who could bring enough spice with Thompson on the right day. Baxter, again, is strong, and I’m glad she’s sitting comfortably in fifth, but from these figures it appears the producers are set on that top four team being rotated quite easily around, meaning hopefuls like Streeter and Bland get lost in the shuffle. In a climate as hot as the economic one right now (or cold, whichever way you look at it), the pros that are making the show work as well as it is surely want to do their job and present to us the terrifying economic news at the top of every day’s business. It’s a hot slot, and there’s some hot people on the bench. Just it’s obvious the manager is clear on who he’s putting out on the field to do the day’s game, and that’s the stars who are making Business Live shine.

    Tom’s tip for the future: Why not give Kamal Ahmed and Simon Jack some days to try out this show? That would be fascinating. Oh, and Tanya Beckett (Radio 4 Today’s genius) and Steph McGovern could be some inspired choices, too, especially McGovern…

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s weekend resident

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  • BBC News Presenter Count 2016: January – June: BBC Breakfast

    Crikey! Is it July already?! I type this drinking cider on a Friday night, feeling misty and in disbelief that Christmas seemed like only yesterday. Gee, OK. I’m on duty for posting these once more for, yes, it’s that time again to look at the all-important BNF half-time numbers for a new year and subject them to poetic evaluation. And what a year it has been. Regular readers will know that the editors’ main job is to keep archiving the BBC News Channel’s shifts and bulletins’ presenters and here, we begin with morning staple BBC Breakfast. The January to June 2016 count:

    (1) Naga Munchetty – 81

    (2) Louise Minchin – 78

    (3) Charlie Stayt – 40

    (4) Dan Walker – 40

    (5) Jon Kay – 35

    (6) Bill Turnbull – 15

    (7) Sally Nugent – 13

    (8) Roger Johnson – 11

    (9) Steph McGovern – 10

    (10) Ben Thompson – 9

    (11) Christian Fraser – 7

    (12) Sian Lloyd – 3

    (13) Katherine Downes – 1

    Nicky Campbell – 1

    David Dimbleby – 1

    So much to get through and already I’m light-headed enough to get dizzy by these numbers. In prime position to lead for the rest of the year, Munchetty sits comfortably with 81, a value that, if she keeps waking up for what seems like every other morning, could land her a good 160+ by December 31st, making it difficult for any female presenter to catch onto her tail. Viewers have complained over Naga’s dominance on TV screens right now – why, she’s presenting Sunday Morning Live, too! And Victoria Derbyshire in August, maybe?! – so I’m anticipating either a drop in work on the sofa or a steady sameness up till Christmastime. Minchin is trailing a little behind but, by my statistics, could overtake Munchetty anytime in the next month or so. Exciting stuff! Fun fact: Munchetty plays golf. I wouldn’t mind a game. Nor a drink.

    Notice that the “inner Breakfast circle” as I like to call it is smaller than the “anybody can present this show” schtick we had last year? Dare I jinx it, but I’m happy right now observing how across-the-board the males are scattered in this leaderboard. Stayt and Walker walk it off easy in their own respective positions, both amiable numbers to have considering Stayt’s two-month advantage over Walker. Kay trails behind the new guy by a mere 5 shows, a deficit I think will widen come the autumn, but bear in mind Kay is going to be the third-wheel on this ladder for a good few years into the future, and, on an unrelated note, he sparkles off Munchetty’s style when they share the sofa together (often). For now though, after this week’s shows, I can say that Kay and Walker are tied on 40, something worth noting since Walker’s sporting commitments at the Euros have meant he’s had to abandon his campaign to win this really important pride-rewarding trophy with his all-female co-starring team! Truly, though, I’ve been really impressed by the smoothness of the transition Walker has achieved in landing the Mon-Wed slot at Breakfast. He’s a hit with fans and viewers alike, and he’ll be comfortable on the programme for many years if I’m to be believed correctly…

    As for the rest: Nugent’s doing alright in seventh – I’d be happy for her to have more weekend shifts later in the season, rather than filling in for Minchin solely. Johnson’s making his mark on 11, McGovern wanting more, I feel, not just the Sunday rota-shift she’s consistently being assigned. A welcome surprise in tenth is Ben Thompson, the very likeable, swish host who knows his business and who I wouldn’t be surprised could tether into being the Jon Kay figure in the lineup if Stayt were to ever move onto newer pastures. Finally, I don’t feel Fraser, Lloyd or Downes are fitting into the lineup, sadly, but their mere digits are greeted for the diversity they bring to the mix.

    Nicky Campbell. David Dimbleby. It’s been an honour, I’ve loved having you both offer a referendum presence in your respective debate-moderatingness and election-nightness when it was necessary. Now… go back to where you belong. See you in the fall, Dimbleby, for the rise of Donald Trump.

    That swiftly rounds off my analysis of Breakfast’s intermission figures. For anyone interested, at this stage in the game, here’s my bet for the future: Munchetty has years ahead of her and she’ll take Minchin’s spot maybe in the next two years. Thompson and, after last Sunday, Fritz, could waltz this gig anytime in the next decade.

    Coming soon: the 2016 half-time counts for BBC Business Live and Victoria Derbyshire.

    Tom Scudamore,

    BNF’s weekend resident

    PS Still missing you, Bill Turnbull… and Mishal Husain…

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  • BBC announces coverage for the EU Referendum later this month.

    On the 23rd June, the British public head to the polls to vote on the UK's membership of the European Union.

    The BBC will broadcast results and the aftermath of voting after polls close on Thursday 23rd.

    David Dimbleby will be joined by Emily Maitlis, Kamal Ahmed, Laura Kuenssburg and Jeremy Vine to present overnight coverage of counting results. Coverage begins 9:55pm on 23rd June on BBC One and all through the night to 9am. BBC Breakfast is cancelled for Friday morning 24th.

    Afterwards from 9am also on BBC One, on Friday, Sophie Raworth is joined by Victoria Derbyshire and Andrew Neil through to the One O'clock news.

    Coverage moves over to BBC Two afterwards, starting after the News at One finishes at 1:45pm. Huw Edwards presents until 3pm on BBC Two and 6pm on the BBC News channel.

    Then after the News at Six a BBC News special begins from 6:45pm to the News at Ten on the BBC News Channel where the presenters are yet to be confirmed.

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  • Bill Turnbull leaves Breakfast after 15 years

    Everybody’s favourite Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull has made his final appearance on the programme marking an end to his 15 years on the show. Turnbull, 60, joined the show back in 2001 as a weekend presenter before becoming the weekday presenter in 2008.

    Over this past week, Bill has taken us to some of the places that mean that most to him. We’ve seen how he started in journalism career in Glasgow as well as taking us to Wickham Wanderers, Lockerbie and the Peak District before returning to the studio on Friday to join Louise and the rest of the team to say goodbye to us and the 3:34 alarm.

    Tributes were paid to Bill by viewers and co-presenters including Susanna Reid from the Good Morning Britain studios and Sian Williams. How could we forget Bill and Sian’s on screen partnership lasting over a decade? Celebrities including, James Corden, Miranda Hart, the cast of EastEnders also paid tribute alongside the Prime Minister.

    There are many things that we will miss about Bill. His grumpiness, his rubbish jokes, his throwovers to Carol and of course his love for good grammar. But perhaps what we will miss the most is the fact that he is truly a fantastic journalist whose knowledge and wealth of experience cannot be matched.

    As Friday’s programme ended Bill said, “I've always believed it's a privilege to broadcast anywhere on the airwaves; to present this programme though has been a special honour.

    “I've had a wonderful time with my colleagues who've had a lot to put up with over the years. Above all though, thank you for letting me into your home in the morning, whether it's in the kitchen, or the living room, or, as I'm often told, the bedroom.

    “Whether you've been with us for the past 15 years or just this morning, I hope you've found it worthwhile. It certainly has been for me.”

    Although Bill’s departure might seem like the end of the world, one of Breakfast’s best attributes is that the show is not about the presenters but about the content. It’s main aim every day is to provide us with the news and topical stories of the day. It does not bombarde us with personalities like Good Morning Britain does on the other side. The show will continue to outshine its rival.

    Bill’s replacement from Monday is Dan Walker, the presenter of Football Focus and the Afternoon Edition on 5 Live. He would not have been my first choice but Dan is still a very talented broadcaster and performed fairly well when he did a guest stint in the first week of January. I’m sure, in time, he will be a fitting replacement.

    Jack Axford

    Co-editor, BNF

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  • Dan Walker to become the new face of BBC Breakfast – but he won't work on Sundays

    Sports presenter Dan Walker has been announced as the new co-presenter of BBC Breakfast.

    He will replace Bill Turnbull who announced in September that, after 15 years, he was leaving the programme.

    The 38-year-old, who is the son of a Baptist preacher, has reportedly planned his career around his commitments as a Christian – including not working on Sundays.

    When he was younger, Walker dreamed of being a professional footballer, but turned down invitations from youth teams of major clubs because they played their matches on Sundays.

    And when he became a TV presenter, fronting various sporting events and hosting BBC1’s Football Focus, he struck a deal with bosses that he would never have to work on the Sabbath.

    He said in 2010: “I was convinced that it was the right thing to honour God and follow his commandments. Observing the Lord’s Day is a great privilege and brings with it loads of blessings.”

    Walker, who grew up in Crawley, West Sussex, became devout when he was 12 and he says his refusal to work on Sundays has made his job as a football presenter difficult.

    He said some interviewers thought he was stupid and others felt sorry for him.

    Now the married father of three will take a seat on the BBC Breakfast red sofa alongside Louise Minchin for three days a week – Monday to Wednesday.

    The show has an average of six million viewers each morning.

    He told the Daily Mail he was thrilled to be joining the team.

    “I have watched the show avidly over the years and am even looking forward to setting my alarm clock and doing what I can to make it even more successful,” said Walker.

    “It is an honour to be given this opportunity and to follow in the footsteps of someone like Bill Turnbull. The man has significant shoes to fill, so I hope I can do as good a job as he did waking up the nation.”

    Walker will continue presenting Football Focus but will give up his four-days-a-week Afternoon Edition show on Radio 5 Live.

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  • BBC makes further changes to News Channel programming

    The BBC has announced fresh changes to weekday programming on the News Channel this week in order to make efficiency savings. The changes include:

    1) An extended Victoria Derbyshire programme starting instead at 9am.

    2) A new programme between 11am and 1pm called Newsroom Live.

    3) A new nations and regions programme at 7pm instead of live breaking news.

    4) An hour of news between 8pm and 9pm - an extra half hour with HARDtalk moving to another time.

    5) A repeat of Newsnight on the news channel from 11:15pm instead on regular news programming to appeal to younger viewers. This is likely to cause changes to The Papers.

    We can see from this just how much the BBC News Channel is dumbing down or perhaps even winding down. Reports last year suggested that the news channel may be closed as a part of the BBC’s cost cutting exercise but Director-General Tony Hall, who was responsible Director of News and Current Affairs when the News 24 was first launched in 1997, appears to want to keep the channel on air. There is a strong case for preserving the news channel. Without it, Sky News would be the only main UK based news channel which we all know would be an absolute disaster not to mention a rather depressing thought.

    An extended Victoria Derbyshire is not the worst decision in the world. I was hoping that the show would be axed in favour standard news bulletins but this announcement tells us that the show is here to stay. Derbyshire is a great journalist but the content of the show is not appropriate for a news channel. If there could be a few more general news items and a regular business section then the show could be salvageable.

    Newsroom Live: sounds a bit gimmicky to me. It will most likely be very similar to standard bulletins but just jazzed up a little bit just to annoy to us all. Annita McVeigh and Joanna Gosling might present it as they do work at that time of day at the moment.

    As for this new programme at 7pm showcasing the best reports from regional newsteams, I really don’t know what the BBC are thinking. The programme will still require a lot of planning and preparation and I cannot see many savings. From a content point of view - does someone in the south-west really care about a local news story in the north-east. I barely find my local news interesting let alone news from another region. There used to be a similar show to this on the channel which was scrapped. Doesn’t that tell us something? Also, will it still be possible to break away to report breaking news?

    The decision to repeat Newsnight on the channel is probably the most bizarre. The show is already in decline and may not even exist in the future if its popularity continues to dwindle. Surely it would make more sense to broadcast the show live on the news channel. The BBC defends the decision by saying the later time slot will appeal to younger viewers - a view which rather contradicts the Beebs decision to shut down BBC Three. Again, what will happen if there is major breaking news?

    The changes the BBC News Channel will experience in the coming months will probably reduce the quality of the channel as a whole. Gone are the days of standard BBC News bulletins from 8:30am in the morning to 01:00 the following morning. After these changes are introduced, the only time of the day that will be unchanged will be the afternoon slot and I’m sure we can always rely on Simon and Jane to provide some stability and order to the day. Not all of the changes to the channel have been bad. The introduction of Business Live has been great and I have warmed somewhat to Outside Source but overall these changes are arguably a step too far and may get in the way of what viewers of a news channel really want: a summary of the news at any time of the day and the latest breaking news. However, there is a real need for cost cuttings and for the BBC to become more efficient in its practices. If these changes are necessary and a part of bigger programme of changes to ensure the BBC’s long-term future then so be it.

    Jack Axford

    Co-editor, BNF

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