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Monday, 26 March, 2001, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
ITV under fire from watchdog
Trisha Goddard
"Trisha" content "similar" to other daytime shows
The Independent Television Commission (ITC) has expressed concern about ITV's "narrowing range" of subject matter in factual programmes.

The criticism came in ITV's Annual Report for 2000 - its yearly appraisal of the UK's commercial broadcasting industry which was published on Monday.

While the ITC praised ITV's news for its "high quality and full coverage", it said that there had been "little evidence of improvement" in ITV's features, documentaries and daytime programming.

Jonathan Dimbleby
Jonathan Dimbleby's Kosovo journey was singled out for praise
It is the second year running that ITV has received such censure.

The report says the main daytime shows - Trisha, This Morning and Live Talk - "shared similar editorial interests".

Only two documentaries, Paying The Price - about the killing of the children of Iraq - and Jonathan Dimbleby's Kosovo Journey, could be considered "substantial documentary treatment of current international issue".

The report also criticised other documentary topics as being focused on "misbehaviour of one kind or another, crime being a central preoccupation".

The ITC also said it had expressed concerns to ITV during 2000 about the "quality and range" of the educational sections of This Morning.

ITV's main news programme Tonight with Trevor MacDonald was praised for its UK current affairs but the report noted that it was "much lighter" on international stories.

But ITV is not particularly perturbed by the criticisms.

A spokeswoman said that such a review was necessarily subjective.

Trevor MacDonald
MacDonald's Tonight has potential for more "strong and original" journalism
"In general terms we strive to maintain the range and diversity of our programme schedule in the fact of fierce competition," the spokeswoman said.

"While we note the concerns, this is only a review and as such is a matter of opinion."

Last year the ITC forced ITV to return its nightly news to a 2200 slot.

ITV's relaunched News at Ten has been a ratings success.

The network has been criticised in the past for its lack of commitment to current affairs as evidenced by axing programmes like World in Action and First Tuesday.

See also:

20 Jul 00 | UK
ITV ordered to move news
23 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Sweeney 'offered ITV show'
22 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
ITV's big break
27 Feb 01 | Entertainment
ITV attracts 'wealthy audience'
19 Feb 01 | Entertainment
First month laurels to ITV
11 Dec 00 | Scotland
ITV's Blair show attacked
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