Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 12:47 UK

BBC cancels What the Papers Say

Simon Hoggart
Journalist Simon Hoggart chaired the programme a number of times

The BBC has axed BBC Two newspaper review show What the Papers Say - the second longest running programme on British TV.

The BBC said it had decided not to recommission the series as the way audiences consumed the news had changed.

The weekly 10-minute review of the nation's papers has been on television screens since 1956. Only Panorama, launched in 1953, has had a longer run.

More than 100 journalists and media commentators have chaired the show.

Each December, the end of year review programme also included the results of the prestigious What The Papers Say Awards.

'Great run'

The final episode of the programme aired in March this year.

"After careful consideration we have decided not to take the option to commission the next series of What the Papers Say," read a statement from the BBC.

"It has had a great run with us but the media environment has changed dramatically.

That makes it the last programme on TV looking critically at the media
Journalist David Aaronovitch

"We already provide this service to our audience through many BBC outlets and will continue to explore new ways to do so," it said.

What the Papers Say was first shown on ITV before transferring to Channel 4 and then on to BBC Two in 1989.


The Times columnist David Aaronovitch, who presented the show a number of times, told BBC News he thought the decision was "staggering".

He said it had been "the last programme on TV looking critically at the media".

"In an incredibly media-intensive society the BBC has axed the last remaining thing that showed news media in Britain - it's staggering and predictable."

ITV productions, which makes the programme, said it hoped to find a new home for the show.

"What The Papers Say is a unique and iconic show which has been an important part of the British television landscape for over 50 years," an ITV spokeswoman said.

"We very much hope to find it a new home in which to continue its proud tradition."

The first programme was fronted by Brian Inglis, then deputy editor of The Spectator.

Others to follow in his footsteps included Bill Deedes, Janet Street-Porter, Clive James, Alastair Campbell, Ian Hislop, Auberon Waugh and Simon Hoggart.


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