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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 15:43 GMT
Design a set - part 2
The Newsnight studio

Our editor, Peter Barron, recently revealed that Newsnight is due for a makeover in the coming months.

Read Peter Barron's latest column

We're currently looking at new designs for the programme's set and title sequence, as we're due for a studio move later this year.

Newsnight asked what you think of our current set and titles. Did you agree with our Controller's view that our title sequence looks "too pinstripe"?

We also asked what you'd like to see in our new studio. Think colours, think sofas, think music, think lighting, think pictures, just think...

As Peter Barron says, "I know lots of you will say it's substance not style that counts, but later - when the deed is done - don't say we didn't ask".

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The e-mails published reflect the balance of opinion received.

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I can't agree with the stubborn defenders of the suit and tie; I couldn't care less what the presenter wears
Laurie
No sofas (please), no absence of desks (definitely), no perching on the corners of desks (perish the thought!) Newsnight is often described as the flagship of the BBC's (TV) political programming. Dumbing-down with commercial channel style touches would be the equivalent of dressing John Humphrys up in a pink fluffy jumper and making him talk using a helium balloon, and expecting Today guests to still take him seriously. Newsnight needs to retain a sombre air - dark, moody, serious - gloomy even. After all, we do have a Labour Government. On the other hand, it would be amusing to listen to John Humphrys' squeaky voice and think of him in a pink fluffy jumper...
David, Appleton

I would much prefer Newsnight to be presented from an old garden shed, and retain its brevity, impact and intelligence, than loose out to flashy graphics
B Jones
Please reinstate the previous set. Also, do away with the irritating and contrived "two-way" between presenter and correspondent; just have Paxman say, "And here's our political editor to explain it," or words to that effect, and give the correspondent a monologue. I can't agree with the stubborn defenders of the suit and tie; I couldn't care less what the presenter wears.
Laurie

Please try to remember what Newsnight is about: news. All too often, on most other news programmes, style is pushing aside substance. We have graphics popping in and out, "virtual news desks", correspondents appearing in all sorts of places; which all looks very modern, yet no-one can remember what was said. I would much prefer Newsnight to be presented from an old garden shed, and retain its brevity, impact and intelligence, than loose out to flashy graphics and airhead presentation. Come on BBC, given the dumbing down of your other news programmes, what is wrong with one that carries some weight?
B Jones, London

We really don't want to see sofas, mugs and jaunty camera angles on Newsnight
Matt
Don't copy the ITV news with their virtual set - I hate it! Keep it simple and serious.
Darren Matthews, Glasgow

Why change? Please, no softening with plush sofas, etc! Not only does this not reflect the nature of the programme, it's also a potential waste of licence payers' money. If you're trying to lure a different audience, tackle a few human interest stories rather than the set...
Kate Bailey, Saddleworth

Make politicians sit on beanbags - it's difficult to lie convincingly on a beanbag
Lee
We really don't want to see sofas, mugs and jaunty camera angles on Newsnight. There are plenty of good, light hearted factual programmes using that style. The darker colours, desks and orchestral music of Newsnight add an air of gravitas sadly missing in much of the BBC's news reporting. Who has suggested there is anything wrong with being "pinstripe"?
Matt, Southampton

Make politicians sit on beanbags. It's difficult to lie convincingly on a beanbag.
Lee, Birmingham

No to the sofa thing - just not good; and no to the walking-around thing - worse
Luke Collins
Keep the colours dark - they're good for the time of night and the seriousness of the content. If you're reconfiguring the studio, it would be good to get rid of the awkward physical relationship between the Review area and the news desk. I sometimes think of Kirsty stumbling across a darkened studio in a hurry while the Review credits roll - there's got to be a better way, hasn't there? And no to the sofa thing - just not good. And no to the walking-around thing - worse.
Luke Collins, London

The title music has to stay - if anything it should become more dramatic to reflect the serious content of the programme itself. Bright colours and glaring lights such as the News 24 set should be avoided at all costs. Newsnight is a serious news programme and the style of the programme's presentation and opening sequence should reflect that. Jackets and ties are a definite winner - no "dumbing down".
Chris, Newcastle upon Tyne

Newsnight is like the lion's den for politicians and should remain so
James Thompson
The digital backdrop should display real time opinion from Newsnight message boards. So, if a politician is not giving a straight answer, it will come up behind them.
Richard Pope, London

Please keep the music as is. Don't copy the BBC News/News 24 overly luminescent style or the gimmick of presenters standing in front of graphics - it adds nothing.
Tim Forde, Dublin

A smart presenter behind a desk please - I don't want to get chummy with them
James
You need to keep it fairly dark. There are plenty of political shows like This Week, for example, that are light hearted and have a set to match. Newsnight is like the lion's den for politicians and should remain so.
James Thompson, London

The dark colours are very depressing. Something a bit lighter and softer (not bright/bold) would be a vast improvement. Also, the music is ok but the same theme played by an orchestra would be better.
Iain Palmer, London

Keep it simple and serious - slightly subdued lighting, chairs instead of sofas, no screensavers on the plasma screens, no walking presenters, no "subjective" camera angles. Put the money into the content, not the set.
Em, Leicester

I do like the darker look studio and that should be retained. I watch the news to get a feel from what has happened today; I watch Newsnight to get the details. A smart presenter behind a desk please - I don't want to get chummy with them.
James, London

Don't feel that the presenters have to wander around, standing up and sitting down all the time to try to appeal to an impatient 21st century audience
Steve Nealon
I have always liked the dark blues and purples involved in the setup instead of the bright colours that one often sees. What might be an idea is to have different walls of the set with the different colours of the political parties but in dark reds, blues and yellows. Whenever a particular party is being talked about, perhaps any images would come up on that particular wall with the presenter standing next to it and talking to the audience. The set might need to be modernised but I hope it does not become too snazzy!
James Paul, Tadworth

The music is great, and the orchestral arrangement gives it gravitas, but perhaps the opening sequence could be longer. The spinning globe should, I think, be given greater prominence. Please don't do with it what's happened with the Sunday AM show: that looks tacky and horrible!
Robin, Oxford

I think the show could stand to be a little less dark and sombre, with a slightly friendlier backdrop - does the Blue Peter garden still exist?
Daniel Owen
Don't feel that, like ITV, the presenters have to wander around, standing up and sitting down all the time to try to appeal to an impatient 21st century audience. Just sit back and keep giving us those nice, feisty interviews.
Steve Nealon, London

Keep it a bit more formal and make the politicians sweat!
Alison
I agree with most of these comments: keep the music, no distracting background video walls and no sofas. However, I think the show could stand to be a little less dark and sombre, with a slightly friendlier backdrop. Does the Blue Peter garden still exist? That would be nice.
Daniel Owen, London

The current layout works very well, I think, including the sofa area and the link to Newsnight Review and dark/moody is definitely the right tone. The graphics are a little too abstract for me, though - I really liked the opening titles from two incarnations ago, the realistic globe and the time lapse from day to night. How about taking inspiration from this but using the latest technology? The music should not be replaced, however I like the idea of a full orchestra version and Newsnight Review's music should definitely go!
Dave, London

How about the backdrop being a live lie detector output when politicians are speaking?
Wayne
Please bring back the old (longer) version of the opening theme tune. It was a real shame when it was shortened back in the late 90s.
Ben, Cardiff

I think the current format isn't bad, and the title music is perfect - please don't change it! Perhaps a wee bit brighter, but no sofas. Keep it a bit more formal and make the politicians sweat! (Perhaps use the Mastermind chair...!)
Alison, Glasgow

How about the backdrop being a live lie detector output when politicians are speaking? It could be coloured green when they are telling the truth, amber when they are evading the truth, and red when Tony Blair is on.
Wayne, Pontypridd

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