A round-up of the week’s stories and observations.
- MON 2ND JAN (6.30PM)
RTÉ TV reverts to standard presentation
- MON 2ND JAN (10.45PM)
Upcoming BBC satellite changes
- MON 2ND JAN (11.55PM)
The final edition of The Papers has been broadcast on BBC News
- TUE 3RD JAN (11.55PM)
Late editions of Sportsday another casualty of BBC News cuts
- WED 4TH JAN (9.40AM)
Unplanned repeat of BBC News at Ten on the BBC News Channel
- WED 4TH JAN (12.10PM)
Government abandons Channel 4 privatisation plans
- THU 5TH JAN (11.25AM)
BBC Two Northern Ireland HD now live on Freesat and Sky
- THU 5TH JAN (11.30AM)
Channel 4 statement regarding scrapping of privatisation plan
- THU 5TH JAN (7PM)
BBC One Nightlight test transmissions begin
- THU 5TH JAN (11.40PM)
E4 now available on Freeview on Welsh transmitters
- FRI 6TH JAN (10PM)
W reviews sponsorship stings for Making Babies after viewer complaint
- SAT 7TH JAN (5PM)
More small signs of the BBC News Channel ebbing away
- SAT 7TH JAN (11PM)
The Papers still showing up on BBC News Channel EPG
- SUN 8TH JAN (12AM)
More camera fun at the top of the hour on BBC News
- SUN 8TH JAN (11AM)
Unfortunate termination of simulcast on BBC News Channel
- SUN 8TH JAN (8PM)
Channel 4 News presenter dives back into book at end of programme
- SUN 8TH JAN (8.30PM)
No messing about at the end of this evening’s ITV News Central
Monday 2nd January
6.30pm RTÉ TV reverts to standard presentation
Christmas presentation on RTÉ TV ended in the small hours of this morning.
And anyone who might’ve thought that there was a good chance that new RTÉ One idents would air this morning will have been left disappointed.
Launched in November 2006, the idents designed by Red Bee Creative are back on air again. They’ve clocked up just over sixteen years now.
Standard presentation has also returned on RTÉ 2 today.
Not sure we’ve mentioned it on the site before but every morning at 6am, the overnight simulcast of Euronews on RTÉ One and RTÉ 2 is interrupted briefly by a caption reading “RTE MCR DUBLIN”.
Apparently, this is the point at which the new broadcasting day kicks in on the playout system.
10.45pm Upcoming BBC satellite changes
Some BBC satellite updates coming up this month and next.
Astra 2E, transponder 48 (10818V) will be cleared on 24th January. That affects:
- BBC One South SD
- BBC One South West SD
- BBC One Oxford SD
- BBC News Channel SD
- BBC One Northern Ireland SD
- BBC Two Northern Ireland SD
The transponder will then be updated to DVB-S2 and from 13th February will carry the following channels (and others):
- BBC One London HD
- CBeebies HD
- BBC Four HD
Ahead of those changes, testing of BBC One South HD continues. BBC One Oxford SD is now a relay of BBC One South, following the closure of the Oxford TV news operation last month.
BBC One South West HD follows soon.
BBC Two Northern Ireland HD formally launches on satellite this Thursday (testing has been ongoing for months).
11.55pm The final edition of The Papers has been broadcast on BBC News
The final edition of The Papers aired a short time ago on the BBC News Channel.
The BBC confirmed last Friday that the programme would make its final appearance in the schedule this week.
Oddly, The Papers is still listed on various EPGs – and the schedules on the BBC website – for the remainder of this week and into next week.
Tuesday 3rd January
11.55pm Late editions of Sportsday another casualty of BBC News cuts
The BBC News Channel EPG data was finally updated earlier, revealing the new late-evening schedule, after the axing of The Papers.
A UK-focussed, live bulletin at 8.30pm has now been replaced by a pre-recorded programme – this evening it was an edition of BBC Wales Investigates.
Pre-recorded programmes are also filling the slots previously occupied by The Papers and Sportsday.
So that leaves no News Channel-specific, UK-focussed live news from 6pm on weekdays.
Next week’s EPG data still has The Papers at 10.30pm and 11.30pm.
Wednesday 4th January
9.40am Unplanned repeat of BBC News at Ten on the BBC News Channel
We’re led to believe that the 12am GMT edition of Newsday was aborted after a few minutes last night.
Ben Brown appeared briefly, apparently, before a recording of the BBC News at Ten was played out.
11.55pm Government abandons Channel 4 privatisation plans
A leaked letter to the Prime Minister, from Culture Secretary, Michelle Donelan, says that a review by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) of the proposed policy to privatise Channel 4 has concluded that selling off the broadcaster was no longer the “right decision”.
The review suggests there are more effective ways to protect Channel 4’s future.
Channel 4 will have the freedom to make and sell more of its own programmes as well as commissioning shows from independent producers.
The letter says Channel 4 must double the number of jobs it moves to outside London from 300 to 600 – a requirement which may necessitate the sale of its £100m HQ in Victoria.
Thursday 5th January
11.25am BBC Two Northern Ireland HD now live on Freesat and Sky
In the last hour, BBC Two Northern Ireland HD has been added to the Sky EPG.
Northern Ireland viewers with HD receiving equipment should see BBC Two Northern Ireland HD on channel 102. The SD version of the channel is available on channel 802 in Northern Ireland.
Sky viewers in the rest of the UK can view BBC Two Northern Ireland HD on channel 970, with the SD version on channel 972.
In the Republic of Ireland, BBC Two Northern Ireland HD is on channel 142, whilst the SD version can be found on channel 842.
On Freesat, NI viewers can find BBC Two Northern Ireland HD on channel 102. It’s on channel 969 for the rest of the UK.
11.30pm Channel 4 statement regarding scrapping of privatisation plan
Following this morning’s confirmation by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport that the government is scrapping its plan to privatise Channel 4, the broadcaster has issued the following statement:
“We welcome the Government’s decision that Channel 4 will remain in public ownership. This decision provides a firm basis on which to establish the sustainable direction of Channel 4, safely in the hands of the British people.
“DCMS having thoroughly examined the business case concluded that the privatisation of Channel 4 is not the best way to ensure its long term sustainability. Furthermore, its decision allows us to do even more to support creative jobs and skills across the UK, to inspire and develop the UK’s world-leading creative industries, and to continue opening up the sector for those aspiring to a career in TV and film.
“For over 40 years Channel 4 has been a keystone of Britain’s universal, free, public service broadcasting architecture. We have spoken up for diverse and young audiences across the UK, nurtured new talent and held power to account. But standing still has never been an option for Channel 4 throughout our history. Indeed, our next stage of evolution is already well under way.
“In more recent years we have extended a digital embrace to Britain’s young people. We have invested more in creative production companies in their own communities, the length and breadth of the UK. We have put record amounts into TV and film content, consistently showing original, relevant and challenging television.
“In the future we will double our investment in 4Skills, training a new cohort of TV professionals from all places and all backgrounds. We are determined to make it true that neither where you live nor what your parents do are barriers to a career in our extraordinary industry.
“The Government has declared its intention to legislate to remove the publisher-broadcaster requirement that currently applies to Channel 4. We welcome the Government’s commitment to engage closely with the independent production sector about the potential impact of this proposal, and we await further detail. We will contribute constructively to these discussions.
“Channel 4 is grateful to all those who have contributed to the debate about how best not just to preserve, but also to magnify our contribution to the industry, to local communities and to wider culture in Britain and abroad.
“Distinctly British content for British audiences, and honest and impartial news, have never been more vital. The depth of our relationships with our production partners, and our unrivalled ability to discover new voices, gives Channel 4 a precious link to the British public. To this, we remain committed. We look forward to delighting audiences and supporting British creativity for the next four decades and beyond.”Channel 4
Channel 4 chief executive, Alex Mahon also issued a statement about the removal of the threat of privatisation:
“The principle of public ownership for Channel 4 is now set for the foreseeable future, a decision which allows us to be even more of a power in the digital world.
“Channel 4 is innovative, editorially brilliant and loved by audiences that others don’t reach, most of all the young and underrepresented. In the analogue world, we did this spectacularly. Now, in the digital era, we are doing it again. Working with the world-leading TV and film producers of the UK, we continue to give birth to ideas that thrill audiences and change perspectives globally.
“Five years ago, we committed to representing the whole of the UK on screen and to growing our impact across the Nations and Regions. Most recently, we took on the job of removing obstacles for young people who thought a career in this industry was somehow not for them.
“I am personally delighted that we will be able to do more, making positive change for the people that others don’t fight for. We will move faster, invest more, take more risks, break down barriers and push boundaries; getting up to do that every day is an utter privilege for those of us lucky enough to work at Channel 4.”Alex Mahon, chief executive, Channel 4
7pm BBC One Nightlight test transmissions begin
Test transmissions for the new nationwide SD version of BBC One have now commenced on satellite. The channel is codenamed ‘Nightlight’.
BBC One Nightlight will go live the week beginning 23rd January.
The BBC plans to close down the SD regional/national variations of BBC One and BBC Two on satellite and replace them with a single, national SD version of each channel until next year, when BBC SD transmissions on satellite will cease.
BBC channels will continue on satellite but in HD only.
Details of where to find the test transmission of BBC One Nightlight:
Symbol Rate: 27500
11.40pm E4 now available on Freeview on Welsh transmitters
E4 is now available on every transmitter in Wales.
The D3&4 (PSB2) mux has been compressed to squeeze in one more channel than elsewhere in the UK. In Wales, this mux also includes S4C,
Wales previously had the odd situation where E4+1 was available everywhere, but not E4, which was confined to the SDN multiplex (not carried on relays).
Friday 6th January
10pm W reviews sponsorship stings for Making Babies after viewer complaint
A viewer of last night’s edition of Alex Jones: Making Babies on W took to Twitter to complain about “insensitive” sponsorship content during ad breaks:
“It was refreshing to see a documentary about IVF, following the journey of others. However, I found the advertising during the commercial breaks and the sponsorship centred on pregnancy very insensitive to people like myself who are currently undergoing IVF.”@Lisa48333950, Twitter user
W responded to Lisa, confirming the sponsorship stings would be reviewed:
“Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention and we apologise for any distress caused.
“Alex Jones: Making Babies is about the journey to motherhood and we appreciate that while many positive stories are followed throughout the series, there are also scenes that can be upsetting and difficult to watch.
“We always consider our sponsorship partners carefully, however, we acknowledge that the creative for some of the My Expert Midwife sponsorship bumpers might be considered insensitive by some viewers.
“We are therefore reviewing these sponsorship bumpers and making adjustments to the creative output which will be reflected on air as soon as possible.”W via Twitter
Saturday 7th January
5pm More small signs of the BBC News Channel ebbing away
Joint BBC World News/BBC News Channel news programmes have become a familiar sight since the start of the Covid pandemic.
A phrase viewers to the News Channel have become accustomed to on these programmes: “Welcome if you’re watching in the UK or around the world.”
This afternoon though, the greeting changed to “Welcome to BBC World News”.
An error or a conscious decision – part of the repositioning of the BBC News Channel?
11pm The Papers still showing up on BBC News Channel EPG
Curiously, The Papers is still listed on the EPG for the BBC News Channel, for today and tomorrow.
The final edition of the programme aired last Monday.
Sunday 8th January
12am More camera fun at the top of the hour on BBC News
Yes, that old chestnut again. The cameras are set up to start the top of the hour from the desk position on BBC News, but the presenter is on the catwalk.
Thanks to Mark for flagging.
11am Unfortunate termination of simulcast on BBC News Channel
Simulcasts of BBC One programmes have been a regular occurrence on the BBC News Channel for many years now.
Sunday with Laura Kuennsberg is a relatively new addition to the list of simulcasts.
Ordinarily, simulcasts involve the BBC One programme being shown in full on the News Channel or the News Channel exiting the programme cleanly, at an agreed point (e.g., the 8.59am end to BBC Breakfast on the NC).
This morning’s edition of Sunday with Laura Kuennsberg was scheduled to run until 10.05am on BBC One. However, it seems the News Channel wasn’t planning to stick with the programme past 10am.
The result: the News Channel abruptly cut away from the BBC One programme, just before 10am. This was to allow the NC to join BBC World News at the top of the hour for a live news programme.
8pm Channel 4 News presenter dives back into book at end of programme
At the close of this evening’s edition of Channel 4 News, presenter Fatima Manji signed off as usual and threw her script on the desk.
She then turned round on her chair to pick up a book and began reading the book.
What could this book possibly be?
Well, perhaps this tweet from the Channel 4 News Twitter account sheds some light on things:
8.30pm No messing about at the end of this evening’s ITV News Central
No time for any adlibbing/waffle at the end of tonight’s ITV News Central.
Thanks to Evan Davis for flagging.
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PICTURED: RTÉ One ident. COPYRIGHT: RTÉ.