Could BBC One in England finally be ready to switch properly to HD? There is speculation English regional variants of BBC One will finally go into HD on 21st October. They would replace the existing England-wide service.
It also means that BBC One HD would be able to move to slot 101 on satellite and cable. It is already in that position outside England where customised HD versions of BBC One are already established.
Of course, the move does not mean that regional programmes will necessarily be in HD – it’s about convenience to the public and ensuring the corporation’s flagship channel is always easily available in the best possible quality.
When ITV HD was stuck away on a higher number, many viewers continued to watch on 103 in SD.
The evidence so far comes from the BBC’s schedule database. There has been no public announcement and no sign of activity on satellite to suggest the launches are imminent.
The inevitable question is whether all English regions will go into HD at the same time on all platforms or whether the launch will be rolled out. We’ll find out soon enough.
Any launch on 21st October would come the day after an expected revamp of BBC One’s presentation package. Would this also be the natural point to introduce separate continuity for Northern England as planned?
Of course the big challenge for the BBC is to get BBC One back up to full strength quickly as Covid restrictions finally ease. The impact of the shortened episodes of EastEnders and Casualty can be felt.
We’ve been going on for some time about EastEnders relatively low overnight ratings which in turn mean its strategic importance to the channel is reduced.
Yesterday it was beaten by several peak time programmes on BBC One and ITV as well as Gogglebox on Channel 4.
The other effect of the shortened episodes is that a number programmes are starting at odd times – rather than on the half hour – and some junctions are excessively long.
You can tell The One Show is having to fill for a few minutes while the BBC News at Six is still slightly extended.
There is a reason why programmes normally start on the half hour – how many viewers switch over 5 minutes after something has started on another channel?
Excessive junctions can feel like commercial breaks to the public. And it’s never good for a programme to regularly pad out items and slow down the pace.
Hopefully this will all be resolved soon and wouldn’t it be great if it coincided with a positive rebrand?
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PICTURED: the red screen broadcast on BBC One HD during regional news slots. COPYRIGHT: BBC.