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South Bank Show to finish in 2010

6 May 09 13:50 GMT

Flagship arts programme The South Bank Show will come to an end in 2010 when veteran presenter Melvyn Bragg leaves next summer, ITV has announced.

The 69-year-old will also step down from his post as series editor and controller of arts for ITV Studios.

"I have had the luck and privilege to work with fine programme makers and with hundreds of the best artists of the last half century," he said.

Bragg has hosted The South Bank Show since its launch in January 1978.

Over the years the programme has featured a wide variety of subjects, among them Germaine Greer, Gerald Scarfe, Sir Harold Pinter and Sir Paul McCartney.

'Benchmark'

Michael Grade, ITV's outgoing chief executive, originally commissioned The South Bank Show more than 30 years ago.

He said he was "immensely proud" that it had become "the benchmark for popular arts programming and has consistently won the admiration of audiences and critics".

"None of this would have happened without Melvyn, who has remained the driving force behind the show and has been a great champion of the programme and of ITV."

ITV said Bragg is discussing other potential projects with the commercial channel, which is also exploring new opportunities for arts programming.

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