Refreshing TV

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 by

Nobody else would have seen it, because nobody ever had, but BBC3 News ended on Friday with a demented final instalment.

After a cursory run-through the day’s news, the final twenty minutes were nothing but shameless reminiscence, Paddy and Sevi joined by regular contributors – including Eddie Mair and Tazeen Ahmad – to jabber about the show. It’s not often you hear the links in a news programme – “The news was invented because the government told the BBC to do it! Now it’s ending because the government said it was a waste of money!” – being greeted with gales of laughter.

The clip packages were entertaining, with daft stunts high up in the mix – including Paddy doing a report in the nude, and various capers when the new weather map came in (“Tomorrow’s weather – khaki!”) – as well as illustrating what amusing and likeable hosts Paddy O’Connell and Eddie Mair were. Then the final five minutes were nothing less than a post-mortem, Tazeen saying it was partly the fault of the Beeb it had no viewers as it was in a crap slot (“I don’t think you can say that, can you?” “Who cares!”) and Eddie, in jest, suggesting “If you had been a bit more serious, you might not be getting axed!”. There were also vox pops asking members of the public their opinions on the programme, every single one saying they’d never heard of it.

Of course, the fact I only really bothered to watch the programme when it was being axed emphasises the failings – it was a perfectly good programme, but it was the news, and it was the first thing on BBC3 so you had to specifically hunt it out. I wish I’d watched it more but, well, I couldn’t be bothered. And nor could anyone else. It was one of those shows you were glad was there but never watched.

Meanwhile BBC3 News bowed out with the promise of “nearly new current affairs” in that slot, and suggesting other things you could watch at seven o’clock (“There’s Emmerdale with melodramatic delivery of improbable stories – so not that much different”). This really should be the format for the Six O’Clock News.


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