Plans to introduce changes to BBC Breakfast and lunchtime news bulletins are said to be at an advanced stage. Plans include moving the BBC News at One out of London.
BBC bosses are plotting to move the lunchtime news programme to Media City UK at Salford, where it could be ‘paired’ with BBC Breakfast.
According to The Times, the plans include extending the News at One to an hour-long programme. Meanwhile, BBC Breakfast would be extended beyond its current 06:00-09:15 weekday timeslot.
The BBC News at One has only just moved studios within London. In May, the programme transferred to Studio B, already the home of the 6 and 10pm news bulletins.
Unlike its evening counterparts, the lunchtime news was traditionally produced by the News Channel. This has caused resourcing issues after the News Channel team was cut as part of the merger of the UK and International services. The Times quotes insiders saying the News at One ‘has been running on fumes’, rehashing reports from BBC Breakfast and local news. Pairing production with BBC Breakfast in Salford would help ‘reinvigorate’ the show, according to reports.
Meanwhile, BBC Breakfast is poised to move to a newly refurbished studio space at Salford. The new home of Breakfast was previously used for BBC Sport bulletins. It will be first major change for the programme since it moved to Salford in 2012. The new studio set could be used by other programmes during the day, providing a potential home for News at One.
BBC News upheaval
BBC News has been in a state of upheaval following the combination of UK and international news channels. Viewing figures for the service have dropped, and the BBC has attempted to bring more UK news into the mix. However, recent global coverage of the This Morning scandal was widely criticised on social media. And some extended coverage of international stories has not gone down well with some UK viewers. Moving the News at One would create more upheaval with presenters having to choose between moving north or face an uncertain future in London.
Regarding the daytime news plans, a BBC spokesperson said no decisions have been made.
- Currently, the BBC News Channel opts out of Breakfast at 08:59 on weekdays, to simulcast Nicky Campbell’s 5 Live show. At this stage, there’s no suggestion that the extended Breakfast would also be simulcast on BBC News in the UK. However, reaction to the 5 Live phone-in on the News Channel has been lukewarm.
- The News at One is followed on the News Channel by an edition of Sportsday. It’s followed by a 15 minute filler from the team responsible for UK breaking news opt-outs on the News Channel. This takes viewers up to the 14:00 junction, when BBC News in the UK returns to the combined UK/World schedule. Extending the News at One would remove the need to fill time. However, it would create a number of knock-on changes to BBC One’s current afternoon schedule.
[Image: Ben Brown presenting Friday’s edition of BBC News at One, screenshot]