“What am I supposed to tell the Panorama audience?”

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 by

Hooray - Panorama is going back to peak-time. I’m not celebrating due to any great love of the programme, to be honest, but because I was heartily sick of the endless complaints about its previous slot and the fact the BBC couldn’t be bothered doing anything about it.

Inevitably there are already moans that the programme’s running time is now 30, rather than 40 minutes, but that’s a non-argument. No other programme is 40 minutes long, and the only reason Panorama was is because that’s how long it used to be. Most of the recent episodes I’ve seen have suffered from relentless padding anyway. Note also, in that article, the disingenuous comment from the Head of Current Affairs of Channel 4 complaining that it’s now oppositeDispatches, despite the fact the same is also true of Tonight With Trevor McDonald. And indeed until last year,Dispatches was on a Thursday.

The other great news is that the programme now runs 48 weeks a year. This is fantastic as currently the series has been on for 10 weeks or so, off for another six, and so on, and you can’t have a flagship news analysis programme that isn’t on half the time. Add to this the fact that it’ll now be between two programmes people actually want to watch – the old slot after 10o’clock on Sunday was the worst possible option, not just because it was at the end of the evening so nobody would stumble across it, but also because on a Sunday night nobody wants to think about the news; they all want to put the real world off as long as possible with Monday morning looming.

So this is probably the best idea the Beeb have had for ages. In fact, it’s only a shame they didn’t go the whole hog and change the name as well – who under the age of 40 even knows what a Panorama is?


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