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The BBC's Greg Wood
"It's bold but is it wise"
 real 56k

Tony Hall, Chief Executive BBC News
"It's something we've been talking about for a long time"
 real 28k

Culture secretary Chris Smith
"They also need to look at quality"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 3 October, 2000, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
BBC news move to go ahead
Nine O'Clock News
The move ends a 30-year tradition
The BBC has confirmed it is to move its flagship Nine O'Clock news bulletin to 10pm from 16 October - much sooner than expected and despite some political opposition.

Panorama will move from Monday nights to Sundays, and there will be a new 2200 Sunday bulletin.

When Director General Greg Dyke outlined the plans to move the 2100 bulletin at the Edinburgh Television Festival in August it was expected the changes would take effect in October 2001.


It's in the best interests of viewers...it's a better time for news

Sir Christopher Bland
But since then ITV - which had rescheduled its News At Ten to a later slot - has bowed to pressure from television regulators to restore a bulletin at that hour.

Culture Secretary Chris Smith had urged the BBC to rethink its decision, saying a clash would not benefit viewers.

'Contrast with ITV'

But BBC governors agreed unanimously to continue with the changes.

Making the announcement, BBC Chairman Sir Christopher Bland said it was "in the best interests of viewers...it's a better time for news."

Sir Christopher continued: "It contrasts quite sharply with ITV's proposals, we offer absolute clarity in the scheduling of our news, six days a week."

He said the proposal was central to the BBC's ambition to strengthen BBC One - an objective set by the government when it agreed the new level of licence fee funding.

It would allow a more effective scheduling of drama, entertainment and factual programming in accordance with audience needs, he said.

"The broadcasting landscape changes and the BBC needs to change with it."

In a statement ITV said: "This is clearly a betrayal of BBC One's public service values.

"It cannot be in the interest of licence payers to have the two main news bulletins head to head. BBC One is being driven by competition with its commerical rivals rather than by its public service obligations and that is bad news for licence payers."

'Opportunism' accusation

Panorama will follow a 15-minute bulletin on Sundays and will last for 40 minutes, giving nearly an hour of news and current affairs on BBC One.

The local news for the English regions and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will double in length to six and a half minutes.

Sir Paul Fox, former managing director of BBC television and former member of the ITN board, accused the corporation of "opportunism".

"I could understand the news being moved in a year's time or after the election to 10 o'clock. That is not a major issue," Sir Paul told BBC Radio 4's World at One.

"What is an issue at the moment is doing it in this sudden way purely to play games with ITV and that is not the way the BBC should behave with the news."

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01 Aug 00 | UK
ITN joins all-news battle
20 Jul 00 | UK
ITV ordered to move news
08 Mar 99 | Entertainment
ITV launches news at six-thirty
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