BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Entertainment  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Thursday, 5 September, 2002, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Dacre's reign at ITV news
ITN 24-hour news channel
ITN now provides at 24-hour news channel
The editor of ITV's news programmes, Nigel Dacre, has announced that he is stepping down once the 11 September anniversary coverage is completed.

BBC News Online looks at the highs and lows of his reign.

Dacre, the 38-year-old deputy editor of ITN programmes, is promoted to Editor of ITV News after successfully revamping the channel's lunchtime, early evening and morning news. Dacre was a former BBC news trainee and brother of Daily Mail editor Paul.

He took the post during ITN's 40th anniversary - a time when the ITV news was seen as setting the standard in style and presentation. News at Ten was the most popular nightly new bulletin, and the channel's coverage had won a string of awards.

But there was uncertainty over whether its budget would be cut and whether ITN would lose its contact to Sky News broadcasters BSkyB.

Nigel Dacre
Dacre oversaw the News at Ten's moves
Dacre was lambasted by the Labour party for choosing to run a seven-minute interview with then-Prime Minister John Major on the News at Ten ahead of news about the crash of a TWA passenger jet.

A BSkyB bid for the ITV news was backed by several regional ITV companies.

ITV News swept the board at the Royal Television Society Awards in what was seen as a humiliation for the BBC.

Dacre moved to increase the visibility of his reporters, attracting the charge that he was promoting "personality journalism".

There were also reports that Scottish Television wanted to make its own Scottish news bulletins.

New plans were announced to move the News at Ten to an earlier slot to help ITV attract more viewers across the prime-time period.

Viewing figures for the bulletin had reportedly fallen from 10 million to 6 million a night and there were accusations that commercial pressures had resulted in a decline in quality.

But Dacre persuaded the bulletin's most respected newscaster, Trevor McDonald, to stay for another three years - reportedly after the anchor was offered a big-money deal by the BBC.

The News at Ten and ITV's daily 5:40pm bulletins were scrapped, replaced with shows at 6:30 and 11pm.

Viewing figures fell, but Dacre said: "ITV, with the pressures of a multi-channel environment, was absolutely right to take a radical look at the schedule."

McDonald was knighted and began to present his own prime-time current affairs show.

The Independent Television Commission ordered ITV to move its 11pm bulletin to an earlier time to make it reach more viewers.

ITV consequently restored the 10pm bulletin for at least three nights a week and kept the early evening news at 6:30pm.

But the BBC also decided to move its main 9pm bulletin to 10pm, prompting fears that a clash would mean fewer viewers would watch any news.

Dacre responded to other accusations that TV news was dumbing down by saying that they were responding to a wider social shift - rather than growing afraid to confront challenging issues.

ITN won the prestigious Gold Nymph award at the Television Festival of Monte Carlo for its coverage of the Kosovo conflict.

ITN retained the contract to provide ITV news until 2010, beating a consortium including BSkyB.

The rival bid forced ITN to cut its price and the news provider announced that 130 staff would lose their jobs.

But its acclaimed coverage of the 11 September attacks were also said to have persuaded the ITV licensees to stick with ITN.

Newsreader Kirsty Young announced that she was to return to Channel 5 after two years with ITV.

ITN denied reports that their big names including Dermot Murnaghan, Mary Nightingale and Katie Derham were unhappy at a plan to make them appear on the ITN 24-hour news channel as well as the ITV bulletins.

Murnaghan announces that he is leaving the ITV early evening news for the BBC's Breakfast.

Dacre announces he is to leave, saying: "Seven years is a long time in the job, which is why I have decided to move on now."

See also:

05 Sep 02 | Entertainment
16 Jul 02 | Entertainment
15 Jan 02 | Entertainment
13 Dec 01 | Entertainment
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |