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The BBC's Greg Wood
"Few people expected to see News At Ten broadcast once more"
 real 56k

Steve Perkins of the ITC
"This is the best arrangement for viewers"
 real 28k

Gerald Kaufman, Culture, Media and Sport committee
"An unhappy episode that has ended in an unhappy way"
 real 28k

Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
ITV News At Ten returns
Sir Trevor McDonald
The demise of News At Ten sparked controversy
The ITV network has bowed to pressure and is restoring ITN's 10pm news bulletin for at least three nights a week.

It will form part of a package of measures to be introduced in the New Year.

The late regional news will stay at 11.20pm, and the 10pm ITV Nightly News will be extended from 20 to 30 minutes during the general election. The 6.30pm bulletin is unchanged.

In a sense the News At Ten has come back home

Stewart Purvis
ITN chief executive
But the BBC has said it has no intention of changing its plans, announced in August, to move the Nine O'Clock news to 10pm in light of ITV's announcement.

ITV dropped its 10pm bulletin in March 1999. But ITN chief executive Stewart Purvis said the latest changes represented a good settlement.

"It gives ITV the flexibility it requires, but it gets back its 10 o'clock slot. The challenge now is to the BBC, as to what they are going to do next.

"In a sense the News At Ten has come back home. It means more people are going to see the work you produce and I'm sure everyone is in favour of that."

'No long term solution'

He added: "We recognise that ITV has got to have the flexibility which it needs in the very commercial environment it's working in."

But the BBC said it was difficult to believe the move was a serious long term solution.

"There's hardly a channel in the world that doesn't have its main evening news at a fixed time, five days a week," a spokesman said in a statement.

ITV's commitment to news is clear, the 20 minute nightly news will be scheduled at 10pm - except on the two nights it's not.

BBC statement
"Under this proposal, ITV's commitment to news is clear, the 20 minute nightly news will be scheduled at 10pm - except on the two nights it's not. This will confuse everyone, especially the viewers."

It also pointed out that ITV's new proposal would mean the regional news might not be broadcast until after midnight if ITV decided to play a movie at 10.20pm.

"That's hardly the commitment to regionalism that the ITC claims," the spokesman said.

The new arrangement has been attacked by Labour MP Gerald Kaufman, chairman of the Commons Culture Committee.

He said: "It is deplorable that we are getting back News At Ten when it may not be News At Ten at all and when it will only be 20 minutes."

TV regulator the Independent Television Commission (ITC) had ordered ITV to move its 11pm news forward an hour because of low ratings.

I think this is an unhappy end to an unhappy episode

Gerald Kaufman MP
The row over ITV's news programmes was sparked when the broadcaster dropped its popular News At Ten bulletin.

The ratings of ITV news have dropped by one million, 14% of the audience, since News at Ten was scrapped.

ITV was due to go to court next week for a judicial review of the order that it should move its late evening news programme.

The independent network initially refused to move the news slot but was then ordered to do so by the ITC.

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