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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Grandstand axed in BBC facelift
Des Lynam
Grandstand has been a fixture on Saturday afternoons since 1958
BBC sports show Grandstand is to be phased out as part of the corporation's strategy to survive in the digital age.

The programme, which has been on air for 48 years, is the most high-profile casualty of plans to help the BBC keep pace with changing viewing habits.

That will also involve making fewer TV dramas - but focusing on the biggest and best - and more comedy hits.

The corporation's future is threatened by fragmenting audiences and new technology, it was warned.

It must remain relevant to all audiences, said director general Mark Thompson, who revealed the Creative Future strategy to staff on Tuesday.

Grandstand phased out by 2009
Fewer dramas to be higher quality and higher profile
More comedy pilots and talent to find hits
More consistent, braver Saturday night entertainment
Relaunch BBC website
New teen "brand" but not with its own channel
Broadband portals for topics such as sport, music, health
A quarter of all 16- to 24-year-olds now say they do not watch any BBC TV.

The BBC is also striving to ensure its services stand out when the whole UK has multi-channel TV and more people can watch and listen on demand over the internet.

This will mean focusing on fewer programmes and picking out landmark shows that will make a big impact, with longer runs, higher production values and more interactivity.

But programme-makers will still be encouraged to take risks, nurture new talent and make more pilot shows in an attempt to find ideas that get viewers hooked.

BBC programmes will be made available in more ways - on mobiles and the internet as well as TV and radio - while the public will be invited to create and communicate their own ideas.

By all means get some decent live sport, but don't destroy an iconic piece of programming
James, Northampton, UK

A new broadband sport portal will allow viewers to access all the BBC's latest coverage 24 hours a day.

Mark Thompson said viewers were no longer happy to wait until everything was collected once a week in a show like Grandstand.

Grandstand, which will be phased out by 2009, "no longer punches through in this multi-channel world", he said.

Similar broadband portals will also be introduced for areas such as music, health and science.

It was first screened on 11 October 1958
The show was the first time sport had been shown live every weekend
Past presenters include Frank Bough, David Coleman and Des Lynam
The theme tune was composed by Keith Mansfield
Events covered include the 1966 World Cup Final, FA Cup finals, Wimbledon finals and Grand Nationals
Other plans include a revamp of the BBC website to include more personalisation, richer audio-visual and user generated content.

The BBC's online on-demand TV service, which will allow users to access TV and radio programmes seven days after they have been broadcast, will be called iPlayer, it was announced.

Mr Thompson will tell the Royal Television Society's Fleming Memorial Lecture on Tuesday: "There's a big shock coming.

"The second wave of digital will be far more disruptive than the first and the foundations of traditional media will be swept away, taking us beyond broadcasting.

"The BBC needs a creative response to the amazing, bewildering, exciting and inspiring changes in both technology and expectations."

Cautious welcome for BBC strategy
25 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Why Grandstand is going
25 Apr 06 |  Grandstand
Grandstand through the ages
15 Aug 02 |  Grandstand
Grandstand photos
10 Oct 03 |  Photo Galleries
Ten top facts
15 Aug 02 |  Grandstand
The archive slot
11 Oct 05 |  Grandstand
45 and still going strong
10 Oct 03 |  Grandstand


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