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Last edition of Working Lunch

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Fran Unsworth Fran Unsworth | 10:57 UK time, Friday, 30 July 2010

Today is the last edition of Working Lunch, a programme which has done invaluable service for viewers over the years in providing information on a range of topics on business and personal finance.

Working LunchBut the world has moved on in the past 16 years and whilst the programme was ground-breaking when it first went on air, there has since been an explosive growth of broadcast media and the launch of the internet.

It means that audiences now have a range of ways of accessing this sort of information.

Many people have written to us saying they have been saddened and in some cases infuriated by this decision. But the BBC, like other organisations, has to make tough decisions about how and where we spend our resources to ensure they provide maximum benefit to licence-fee payers.

The cancellation of Working Lunch will deliver cost-saving for BBC News, much of which will be recycled back into programme making.

It's always sad when a programme reaches the end of its life-cycle, but our business coverage has never been about one programme.

In the slot we will be bringing the news, current affairs and business programme, GMT with George Alagiah to BBC Two. The international edition is already a cornerstone of the BBC's international output. The programme showcases the best of BBC journalism from around the world and has a strong business focus.

In addition, the BBC will also be commissioning a new agenda setting business programme on the News Channel at the weekend and a new money and business programme on Radio 5 live.

We believe our new programme line up will serve BBC Two, Radio 5 live and News Channel audiences well.

Fran Unsworth is the head of Newsgathering.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I do not understand why you are cutting a useful, factual programme and yet wasting a large proportion of the licence fee on soaps and "comedy" programmes. I wait to see what the replacement programme will be like, but I get the impression it will have a more serious tone than Working Lunch (which I think is a bad thing).

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm confused though you offer some financial analysis in your regular TV news output however none of it is in the depth that working lunch has provided. Yet you are replacing it with a current affairs (and business) program of which you produce so many of on the TV.

    Rather than diversing it appears to me that you are replacing a valuable program with another carbon copy program. IN my opinion this is not an improvement of your services but a step backwards.

  • Comment number 3.

    Simple, poor decision without coherent explanation. Working lunch provides concise accurate advise to make people's lives simpler. Cannot see how this decision was made other than on a cost basis. In the context of the rest of daytime TV the BBC seems to have removed the only actual informative programme. SAD effort Beeb, could have done better

  • Comment number 4.

    I have watched Working Lunch for years and have found it to be most informative, with contributors using easy to understand language. I guarantee it will have helped thousands and thousands of viewers over the years. It's replacement sounds very high brow. There are hundreds, nay thousands of inferior programmes the BBC could axe to save money, not one that actually gives real, factual information to viewers, especially in these recessionary times.

  • Comment number 5.

    The decision to close Working Lunch is very disappointing. This is a great programme providing factual information at exactly the right time of day. I watch whenever I can.

    Very short sighted BBC.

  • Comment number 6.

    As ever one of the only good, intellectual and popular programms is being axed. All I hope is that in its replacement we dont see the relentless onslaught of repeates and antiques programms.

    A complete shame and dissapointment, the "dumming down" of the bbc is coming with full force

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    I wrote on several occaisions pointing out the failings of the 'new design' of Working Lunch. The abysmal graphics like the 'shed' the 'walk of shame' that guests had to do from their seat to the interview area. The lacklustre presenters. It is no surprise that it has now ended. The blame should rest full square on the shoulders of the person who ruined the show and 'jazzed' it up, a couple of years ago. They lost the plot. Ian from Birmingham

  • Comment number 9.

    Poor decision. I can't imagine that Working Lunch was such an expensive programme to make.

    There are other efficiencies BBC News could make which would have less impact on the viewer/license fee payer.

    Keep making decisions like this and you'll lose your viewers. Lose your viewers and lose the license fee.

  • Comment number 10.

    I am so sorry that this most useful programme has been axed! It has been a wonderful source of information for ordinary people like me.

  • Comment number 11.

    The reasons giving for axing the programme are as invalid as a politician's promise. I despair that the BBC will ever choose to understand common sense and its own Charter. The population needs a programme like Working Lunch - never more so than now - yet in a fit of blindness it is axed in favour of a weekly radio programme and bits of other programmes. No, BBC - another bad mistake.

  • Comment number 12.

    Not impressed with the trivial excuse for ending Working Lunch- there
    is nothing like it on tv. BRING IT BACK

  • Comment number 13.

    Love the phrase "tough decisions about how and where we spend our resources to ensure they provide maximum benefit to licence-fee payers".

    You mean the ratings were down and we have to compete against "Loose Women" or whatever rubbish is on ITV.

    I suspect a trendy new luvvie has decided that "Working Lunch" doesn't quite fit the brand values any more. Bit too Daily Telegraph for you.


  • Comment number 14.

    A disgrace that working lunch is being axed. The news show in its place will not in any way replace the expert analysis and advice given on subjects which in this day and age are relevant to many people i.e tax, benefits, savings , pensions etc. With an existing 24 hour news channel a further news item is totally unecessary and does not replace working lunch like for like. Once again the BBC has shown that it has no idea about the wants of ther viewing public. I am just amazed that yet another Animal Park repeat has not been put in its place!

  • Comment number 15.

    I am both saddened and infuriated by the decision to scrap what is a very popular programme.You've already deemed that sports events are a good enough reason to take it off the air for weeks at a time, now you have administered the final hors de combat.
    I've watched it regularly almost from inception. The information has been invaluable, and has influenced my share dealing and investment decisions over the years, mostly for the better.
    It's all very well saying that the information is available elsewhere. We don't all want to sit up well into the night, or sprawl in front of the TV at dawn, and not all of us have the facilities to watch. Anyway, the programmes I have been told about mean that everything is now fragmented, and would take a real effort to tune in to, instead of being able to eat lunch while watching my favourite programme. Very bad decision, BBC.
    So all I want to add is to wish the presenters, the regular guests and all the 'backroom' boys and girls the very best, and success in whatever they will being doing next.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm truly dissapointed and unhappy about the bbc taking this program off the air. I am a young businessman running my own limited company and I make sure I watch the show everyday without fail - if i do miss it then I make sure I catch up on the iPlayer - I would not have been doing this for years if I did not feel that the show offered truly helpful information to the likes of myself. Its quite ironic that the show is about clever 'money' and 'business' to us the viewers, and yet it seems that the bbc has axed this program due to 'money' and probably being seen as good 'business' for the bbc, by whoever has made the call. To me this is not clever and I feel let down. I'd like to say thank you to all the various staff and teams who have brought this show to air over the years, and I wish you all the very best with your futures.

    Thanks, Reece Turvill

  • Comment number 17.

    When Working Lunch started with Adrian Chiles it was a serious, informative and helpful programme. Then the BBC tried to jazz it up with the Tech Shed and so on. As usual the revamp was worse than the original so I'm not surprised it is being axed.
    The original format could not have been vastly expensive with a simple set, no gimmicks and factual presentation.
    The audience for this sort of programme doesn't want dumbed down attempts to 'attract a younger audience'. So let's have a replacement like the original to inform and help people who are not necessarily adept at hopping around the other channels and the internet at odd times but who really appreciate a fixed slot with a no frills presentation addressing day to day topics and concerns about financial affairs and help with things like pensions, investments, scams and best advice. No chatty approach or Tweedledum and Tweedledee pairs of presenters pretending to have fun - just down to earth information and help in one regular place.

  • Comment number 18.

    I am very disapointed that BBC TV, for which we pay a licence fee, has cut the only personal finance focussed programme. Everyone of your viewers is, to some extent or another, affected by finance and now the BBC has cut it to save money so that it can make other types of programme. When I see some of the frivalous daytime programmes that the BBC could have axed instead then I am staggered that the only finace programme that can really help thousands of viewers has gone. One only has to see the type of workload that organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau has to realise the financial issues facing a large proportion of the population. Now our national TV broadcaster is dropping its only service that meets that need.
    It is a very sad reflection of where BBC TV sets its priorities.

  • Comment number 19.

    Why change it if its not broke, Working Lunch still works its simple format is easy to follow and understand. But now I have to search all over the BBC to find what was one of the most significant programs especially now at a time when it really is needed. What a stupid dissision get your priorities right,this is all about cost cutting nothing else.

  • Comment number 20.

    Is it really a cost cutting exercise, or a political move? What will George Alagiah's salary be, compared with Declan and Naga? I see this programme is being replaced by yet another promoting big international business at the expense of one providing invaluable information to consumers and very small businesses. Clearly the BBC has learnt how to deal with consumer pressure after getting its fingers burnt over scrapping other popular programmes- sneak it out while everybody is on holiday.
    I have always been a fervent supporter of the BBC because, even these days, there was sometimes a spark of anti-establishment in its programmes. Seems I was wrong!

  • Comment number 21.

    Hi Fran,
    Working Lunch was excellent and never failed to inform on issues affecting viewers like myself ( small buisness owner ). I would like to commend the current presenters as the best the programme has produced, superb with a good chemistry.
    If you were to incorporate a slot in the one show advising people on some of the topics dealt with on working lunch esp tax advice then I would be a very happy customer.
    Failing that then in your search for presenters for the One Show why not give Declan Curry and Naga Munchetty a go - you will pull in the 200,000 lunch viewers and save another programme that is dying the death of a thousand cuts with embarrassment when it comes to guest interviews.


    Steve Leyland

  • Comment number 22.

    Like many other people I am devastated that Working Lunch is being chopped. It was particularly brilliant in the days of Adam Shaw and Adrian Chiles. It's a very useful and informative programme at that time of day and I do watch it as I have my lunch.

    You say that the world has moved on since it first started 16 years ago and that now information is available in many different places. That may be so but you still need journalists and presenters to investigate and bring the stories to you. We don't all want to do our own research on the internet. They were very good with hints and tips for dealing with money. Gillian and Simon are excellent and the visiting experts like Malcolm (Pensions) and Christine Ross are as well.

    None of the other supposed alternatives is at the right time or frequency. It's a vital programme and I think you should reconsider the decision to axe it.

  • Comment number 23.

    - If it aint broke don't fix it!
    - You're dumbing down everything!
    - Why do you do these things on a whim and without any consultation??
    - I demand you release all data about costs under the freedom of information act!
    - Put it back the way it was!
    - People should be fired over this!

    Did I miss anything?

    Personally, I kinda liked working lunch, but I always wondered who watched it. The only time I could watch it was when I wasn't working.

  • Comment number 24.

    Don't often watch the Working Lunch, so I can't comment on it in particular, and I'm sure there are good reasons for changing it. (unlike many viewers, I don't consider every decision that I don't fully support "a disgrace!", as I understand there are other factors and views.)

    However, it does seem like business skills and vocational training is something that is pretty important in today's global economy, and that the BBC could provide an important service by helping provide useful skills and business training to the UK population. However they best decide to go about it...

  • Comment number 25.

    I am very, very dissapointed and feel that the logic behind your decision to axe working lunch does not stand up to scrutiny.
    This was arguably the most useful programmes on day time television and will probably cost viewers a lot more than the licence payers are saving.

  • Comment number 26.

    Well here we are entering the most uncertain UK fiscal period in living memory and the BBC are dropping the singularly most useful financial programme on television, Working Lunch.
    Obviously the savings made from the extremely high quality sets and the A-listed celebrities appearing on the show can go towards low-budget factual programmes like 'Over the Rainbow', 'Eastenders' and whatever 'Ross on Friday' is being replace with.
    The timing of the programme was perfect as the markets were open as the show went on the air.
    Options are to listen to the radio at 05h30 or watch the BBC News Channel on a Saturday. It may come as a bit of a shock but the markets ain't open at these times!!!
    Podcasts are marvellous but, by their nature, they're obsolete.
    Someone at the BBC should listen to the likes of Stephan Fry when he remarked on the lack of 'adult' programmes on the BBC. Another one bites the dust.

  • Comment number 27.

    I am totally amazed at Fran Unsworth's comments about Working Lunch. Whist I was a great fan of the original team, Naga and Declan carried on the tradition of supplying an informative and entertaining show at the time of day when us 'crumblies' are 'Home Alone'. As I still work in IT, I find her comments on people getting all their finacial advice from the Internet and other info-media spurious.

    In terms of reducing costs, I'm sure that an episode of Working Lunch probably cost less that 5 minutes production cost of an Eastenders episode. I think that most Working Lunch viewers would sooner see Working Lunch retained and Eastenders trimmed to provide the neccessary savings.

    To me, something seems to be going wrong with the BBC's priorities as public service broadcaster lately.

  • Comment number 28.

    Sorry Fran, your 'excuse' for axing Working Lunch is poor as this is just the type of programme that is useful in these difficult financial times. There is nothing else like it on the BBC and it is a very poor decision to axe it when there are so many alternative targets. (What use is Top Gear to anyone?).

  • Comment number 29.

    The cancellation of Working Lunch is a further indication of the bankruptcy of BBC programme planning. At a time when the Government are telling us that enterprise and the private sector are crucial to our country, our national broadcaster cancels its flagship business programme

    We really don't need any more programmes about antiques, moving house, cooking or police car crime. If you want to get in touch with the audience you are currently failing to represent how about a good business programme on a mainstream channel ( not hidden away on BBC 87) at the 8.00PM slot - Funny - wasn't the excellent "Money Programme" just like that?

  • Comment number 30.

    Like so many others I cannot understand the axing of Working Lunch.
    In tough economic times, I would have thought the advice proffered would be welcome.The presenters were of the highest calibre and very professional- not like they used to be on The One Show. Now there's a show that could have been axed!

  • Comment number 31.

    I cannot understand why you should be axing Working Lunch now when it is more relevent than ever. If money needs to be saved why not start with the endless antique, house make-over drivel that fill the schedules. Then you could trim back on the over priced 'celebs' and executives. BBC shooting itself in the foot yet again.

  • Comment number 32.

    I, like many people I would imagine, never liked the ill thought-out Tech Shed and the embarrassingly poor 'graphics' or the uncomfortable way guests were treated by being made to sit at an equally uncomfortable cafe table like naughty children until 'called for'. All that aside, the program did give many, many ordinary people the chance to access knowledge that, given some may not even have/want the internet, would be difficult otherwise to obtain. The reasons given for the withdrawal of the program simply highlights my point. To remove funding from Working Lunch to what will probably become yet more 'celebrity focused' trivia would be a sad day. It seems that the right staff could have been found to uplift the program and bring it up to date but the will wasn't there. No doubt some 'young thing' will think of doing this in the distant future and will receive plaudits for being inventive and forward thinking, it all goes full circle. But for now sorry BBC, yet another silly, avoidable mistake.

  • Comment number 33.

    I don't understand the second paragraph - of course news programmes move on - every day in fact - there's always something new to report - and so it is with finance and business. Perhaps the answer lies in the third paragraph with the implied reference to the website. The BBC are forever plugging the website so I can imagine that eventually there will be no original live TV - what a thought even more adult/juvenile comedies? with rehashed one-liners.

  • Comment number 34.

    Why oh why are you finishing with working lunch, one of the best BBC shows for money help and advice. Come on, it's only thirty minutes of civil viewing instead of the hours of dribble that you do and can broadcast. How do the people that make these dreadful mistakes get their managerial posts with the BBC.

  • Comment number 35.

    There's no doubt Working Lunch suffered from its relaunch and was much better in the 'shark' days, looking at the jobs the presenters moved on to shows how good it was. Gillian Lacey-Solymar was also excellent. John Whiting was another excellent contributor whose skills have now rightly been recognised by the new Government.

    The decision to end what must have been a very low budget programme when the BBC are rightly criticised for the millions spent on "talent" such as Jonathan Ross is in my view a very poor one which does not reflect credit on the BBC. When the licence fee is debated in future I will no longer feel able to support it as this decision shows the BBC are not putting the viewer's best interests first. Lord Reith would be dismayed.

  • Comment number 36.

  • Comment number 37.

    I thought the BBC's remit was to 'inform, educate and entertain' - so why axe one of the few programmes on the schedule that does this?
    You would have thought that in this difficult financial climate the BBC would want to be the leading channel in providing an easy to watch, informative and user friendly programme (such as Working Lunch was) on personal and business finance issues.
    How ironic then, that the Working Lunch programme was axed for 'cost-cutting' purposes! It looks like the BBC newsgathering budget has already been spent this year, on things like the overkill coverage of the election, so loyal Working Lunch viewers will have to suffer the loss of their favourite programme as a result. Very short-sighted, BBC!
    I rather suspect that one of the reasons for the cancellation of Working Lunch is that the programme was live (or semi-live), topical and couldn't easily be repeated (ad infinitem, as on BBC News) or sold on to other channels for repeat showings, thus the BBC wouldn't make any money on it.
    The other business/finance programmes offered to us by the BBC instead are a poor subsitute - not even showing at lunchtime or even primetime - but on at times not very convenient to most viewers, and not everyone likes to use the BBCi Player to have 'catch up' on programming that should be on when the viewers want it, not when it suits the BBC Scheduling team.
    I, for one, will not be watching the 'replacement' programme (no offence to George Alagiah) - if I wanted to watch a news programme at lunch I would change to a proper news channel, and this is very unlikely because I already watch the BBC 1 lunchtime news slot.
    I like, many, many others, am extremely saddened and infuriated by this crazy decision and hope that Fran and her colleagues will have a change of heart and reinstate Working Lunch this Autumn!
    In the meantime, I wish all the Working Lunch team (past and present) good luck in their future.

  • Comment number 38.

    I can see your reasons. Will give the new regime a try but will get back with comments if the new approach does not replace an enjoyable program.

  • Comment number 39.

    I believe there is no better time to have an advice programme about money matters with experts talking about the real issues, such as savings, pensions and mortgages. Hopefully this comment will change the mind of those short sighted people who have decided to pull this programme. If you need an example of a programme that has run its course look no further than Top Gear. The idea of this programme was to highlight new motoring issues and cars. What we have now is 3 men/boys trying to blow up caravans while seeing who can drive which car fastest round a circuit . Very safe,and setting a good example not!

  • Comment number 40.

    Working lunch programme is the BBC televisions "Citizens Advice Bureau" for financial problems and education. Very necessary particularly in todays climate. It deserves a regular peak time slot with some improvements, as mentioned in other comments. This is the one programme that most justifies the licence fee. Please reconsider.

  • Comment number 41.

    It is strangely reassuring to see that this executive decision has been made partly due to the fact that information of this type can be obtained elsewhere, surely channels compete hour by hour with soap opera offerings, can we look towards a time when the BBC will be soap free? Obviously not, however allow me to respectfully point out that the unique service that Working lunch provided was to open up the topics in digestable bites which then could be tracked and explored elsewhere. Surely someone is missing the very purpose of this program. This particular executives decision will stand or fall as to whether an independant channel picks up the torch and gives viewers the chance to watch something similar. My personal view is the program could easily find a further audience being repeated in the evening against some of the BBC drier offerings such as the much rehearsed and stage managed Question time. Time will tell.

  • Comment number 42.

    In the waste-land that is daytime TV, and which I normally emphatically avoid, this programme has been an oasis of good information delivered in an entertaining way.

    I do not understand the decision of the BBC to remove the programme. At this critical time when we need to be encouraging savings and individual investments, we need more good advice, not less of it. There is no other programme on TV which covers the material in the way W.L. hase done - so the BBC is ignoring a huge segment of its potential market, people like myself. Replacing W.L. by yet another news progamme is an insult to us Licence Payers. Please reconsider.

  • Comment number 43.

    I have been a devotee of "Working Lunch" since its inception. It is an excellent program, highly informative and pitched at a level that most of us can understand. I am amazed that the BBC management sees fit to remove this program to replace it with yet another news program. In these difficult financial times ordinary people need all the help they can get with their finances. The decision to axe "Working Lunch" is a indication of how far out of touch the BBC management is with licence payers needs.

    Your expanation for axing the program contains 9 errors of grammar and punctuation. On several occasions you start sentences with conjunctions such as "but". This is incorrect English and not to be expected of an organisation such as the BBC.

  • Comment number 44.

    I am saddenned that working lunch has been axed. I have watched it for years and have found it very informative. It was on at a very convenient time and was something different from the usual property cooking and talent shows that constantly fill our screens. I find that as time goes on there is less and less on the TV that is worth watching.

  • Comment number 45.

    I have enjoyed Working Lunch for many years now and have always found the information and the way it was presented, was always easy to understand. Why you have axed this informative program, I do not know!!!
    When golf is on we get 11 hours of golf a day, whether we want it or not. Everything then has to take a back seat.
    Please put Working Lunch back, it can't cost as much as all the time you spend on golf, tennis and anything else the people in charge want to watch.

  • Comment number 46.

    The world has moved on in 16 years says Fran but there are still many who are not computer savvy and need help and advice and it is the BBC's responsibility to assist everybody. Even the savvy ones are not necessarily knowledgeable on everything but the format of working lunch enabled the viewers to pick up on issues some small and some large and as a format is gave a roundness to finance in general. My wife who is not a financial person but who watched and learned just bluntly said it is a stupid decision and I agree. Give me the axe and I will save you money enough to restore working lunch.

  • Comment number 47.

    This programme was informative and gave unbiased advice from experts in their fields. There was no other programme like it on TV.It highlighted problems,and became a voice for many.
    The BBC says it has to provide maximum benefit for the licence fee payers.It is a great shame that they do not listen too them!
    Who wants yet another current affairs, business news programme, not the consumer!
    Savings can be made in many other areas,i.e.hospitality and perks; or even 50% reduction of election coverage.
    Perhaps this programme was too succesful for the consumer.

  • Comment number 48.

    Why just a simple why? I recored and watched daily. In my view BBC has far to much news stuffed into every channel tv/radio now another news program ? Losing Johnathan Ross, very good well done losing Working Lunch bad who ever made this decision should be let go.

  • Comment number 49.

    A shame that a high quality money program such this has been axed. It isn't just the quality of the content but the style of presentation which was excellent. Often using levity to present and underscore serious points, Adrian Chiles and Adam Shaw were excellant at sparking off each other.
    A sad loss

  • Comment number 50.

    Well noone knows that Working Lunch is on. Sack the BBC Advertising apartment. Looks like this will have to so from now on:

  • Comment number 51.

    BULL!!!! Saving money is now a good excuse to remove one of the few decent programs on the BBC. The whole thing makes me angry with this action because when sport comes up "Working Lunch" is taken off. PUT ALL sport on BBC 3 or 4. Bring back "Working Lunch"

  • Comment number 52.

    I really despair at what is happening with the BBC. This programme was one of a kind - it gave good information at the right time of day and was a really enjoyable programme. Now there is no single source of the kind of information given - I don't want to watch or listen at 5.30 in the morning or late at night. The reasons given for axing the programme are pathetic in the extreme. No doubt we will end up with yet more daft soaps, antiques, cooking programmes etc. or more news programmes as if we don't have enough already. The BBC has lost its way. I rarely find any programme really worth watching - if it's not a repeat it is yet another one on a subject that has been done to death over and over. A massive mistake to axe Working Lunch!!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    You have just axed one of the best informative programmes on television, a programme which is worth the licence fee. I looked forward to watching Working Lunch every day and I am saddened to see it go.

    I just hope you realise your mistake and bring back a programme which is just as interesting and informative.

  • Comment number 54.

    Axing Working Lunch is unforgivable. The alternative programmes you are suggesting will not offer the ability to listen to the Experts and enjoy being able to see them give their much appreciated advice and guidance. They and the programme as a whole has been great and will be very very sadley missed.

  • Comment number 55.

    What a load of guff! You are saving money- at the expense of ME the licence fee payer! When will you EVER listen to us? This programe is needed more than ever today and you glibly tell us we will get the same somewhere else on the radio! Rubbish -hang your head in shame BBC and those who are responsible for losing this wonderful valuble programe.

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    I am really disgusted that you have decided to axe Working Lunch.
    I have watched on and off for the past 16years. It is informative and interesting, besides the Politics Show, they are the only interesting
    programmes on during the day. If this is cost cutting, then you should have found some other programme to cut. If you can save a radio station,
    that plays a load of rubbish, then you can save Working Lunch. I think there must be someone higher than you we can appeal to.

  • Comment number 58.

    Another trendy journalist change for change sake. When will the BBC learn that we the license payer dont want the latest journalist fad but value the high quality elements of the BBC output like working lunch.

    If you want to cut, cut 101 ways to leave a game show and similar dross that panders to the lowest common denominator that does nothing to distinguish itself from the output hosted by your commercial rivla.s

    Oh and whilst your at it, reverse the poor quality ill thought out "revamp" to this news website and give us back our clean well built best in class news portal. The drivers of easier content management and inclusion of paid advertisements for the US market is simply not good enough when weighed against the needs of us your paying public.

  • Comment number 59.


    Hear Hear, it makes me incredibly angry that the BBC seem to feel they have the right to regularly tear up the BBC2 schedule to show mediocre minority interest sport competitions.

    The current obsession with the european athletics is a case in point. Even the athletes freely admit that the event is little more than a staging post as part of the olumpic preparations. Has it really be worthwhile destroying a whole week of schedules ?

    I as a non atheletic watching license payer have effectively been robbed of a week or servicem. Surely there is some obscure digital channel you could dump this stuff on and leave the flagship BBC1/2 schedules in fact.

    or indeed in the interweb age at least the originally planned content could be streamed direct to iplayer so we regular viewers dont miss out ?

  • Comment number 60.

    I have never complained to the BBC about any of it's decisions to change the programme schedules before, but this is the limit. Working Lunch is one of the few daytime programmes I ever watch and now you have spoilt that. If you hadn't messed with the original format it would probably been more successful and therefore still viable.

    Why replace it with a news and current affairs programme? Surely the News Channel already offers this....EVERY thirty minutes, 24 hours a day.

  • Comment number 61.

    I cannot believe that the BBC has once again decided to end a programme which I always looked forward to which I found to be most informative on financial matters. It disgusts me that the BBC has chosen to axe this one remaining financial tv programme in order to save money.
    If the BBC is serious about saving money they should start in the boardroom by cutting the sky high salaries paid to it`s management. It already wasted £18 million on Jonathan Ross and most programmes made today are rubbish. I for one find it harder to find any programmes on the BBC tv channels which are of interest to me and with the loss of Working Lunch I have given up. I wish there was a way I could opt out of being forced to buy a TV Licence, as I for one could now live without BBC TV Channels. Why does the BBC need to save money these days when most of the TV air time is now taken up with REPEATS, surely they cost nothing. When the BBC is forced to be more accountable and liaise with viewers to find out what is popular, then I will take you serious.

  • Comment number 62.

    This was one of the few intelligent TV programmes broadcast these days. It is the only one I have watched daily since it began. It kept viewers informed on all financial matters and warned of scams and other pitfalls. No other form of communication has the coverage of TV. Taking 'Working Lunch' from our screens is the biggest blunder the BBC has made in memory! It would appear to be part of the 'dumbing down' of TV. So much other 'rubbish' could have been removed and saved far more money. Could this be a political 'gagging' decision to keep the public in the dark as we are about to be hit with huge government cuts so that we are unaware and uninformed and therefore unable to protest about these changes?

  • Comment number 63.

    I had no idea Working Lunch was ending today. I am devastated. It was something to look forward to every day I was at home. Informative and entertaining.

    I am completely baffled why the BBC axed this programme right in the middle of the current financial crisis, when we all need as much help as possible..

  • Comment number 64.

    The decision to axe Working Lunch in my opinion reflects very poorly on the BBC's obligation as a public service broadcaster. Whilst a great deal of BBC's output can be classified as garbage, working Lunch is different.

    It is the only regular television programme that provides up to date information on financial matters, such as savings, benefits, pensions and tax. It has become essential viewing for a very large number of viewers who either watch it live or as I do courtesy of the BBC iPlayer.

    Axing Working Lunch is a crass decision and in my opinion the services of those responsible should be dispensed with forthwith, as this would have the benefit of saving money, which I understand to be the reason why this excellent programme has been killed off and simultaneously improving the quality of the Corporation's management.

    Badly done 'Auntie', badly done indeed.

  • Comment number 65.

    Working lunch was one of the few really interesting and sensible programmes on the BBC. It gave good advice and I have learned so much from it.You have made a mistake, there are already so many "bits and pieces" programmes on,Working lunch covered the things WE THE VIEWERS, just ordinary people needed to know. Shame on you, as for the licence fee,thats is a poor excuse,and the alternatives you suggest are really scheduled on the radio so inconveniently.Sad day, but its always the rubbish that stays. Just more dumbing down.

  • Comment number 66.

    I think that Working Lunch has always had a raw deal. It was taken off air at the slightest provocation to make room for some other programme. Instead of being broadcast at the same time every day (12 30pm) it was broadcast at 1 30pm on Wednesday making it inconvenient for those of us who programmed our VCRs to enable us to watch it later in the day. I sometimes wondered if it was used as a training ground for television engineers, producers and the like - there were always glitches and hiccups.

  • Comment number 67.

    Dear Ms Unsworth,
    You are telling us that Working Lunch is being taken off-the-air because "the world has moved on in the past 16 years ... there has since been an explosive growth of broadcast media and the launch of the internet ... audiences now have a range of ways of accessing this sort of information."
    Well, what a poor excuse. On the basis of your reasoning, most of the BBC could be taken off-the-air because "audiences now have a range of ways of accessing" just about everything that is on the BBC, including, no doubt, the contents of the programme that will replace Working Lunch.
    But then, you know all this don't you, so how about telling us the truth now?

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    I cannot object to most comments as I agree
    The Working Lunch revamp was the writing on the wall but the subsequent format generally -still worked for me.
    Working Lunch was a week-daily program that could respond quickly to breaking financial news. It addressed issues for SMEs, private investors/savers and the general public with expert advisors on tax, benefits, savings & investments etc. A wide niche audience.
    The switchover to digital freeview will not be conplete until 2012+ thus depriving many analog viewers access to alternative channels.
    In these times of austerity there is need of a daily factual, financial magazine program on mainstream TV with internet backup.
    Where do I find Radio5live?

  • Comment number 70.

    I regret the withdrawl of working lunch as an easy to follow insight into financial problems and topical items - surely if the BBC is looking for means of economy perhaps more than a little thought ought to be applied to the "Bill and Ben" effect of newscasters - particularly on BBC midlands. To require 2 people to say six or seven words and look at each other to communicate an item of news seems pathetic.

  • Comment number 71.

    Working Lunch was a factual programme that allowed the masses an insight into the malpractices of the Financial Industry. Programmes like this have been a god send for the poor and rich alike helping us meer mortals understand the complexity of shares,stock market,pensions,mortgages etc.
    It has also been a champion of cause to right wrongs done to Joe Public.
    As it is Joe Public that finances the BBC surely we should have a say in what programmes it should keep or get rid of??? I can think of plenty of shows I would put in front of this show.
    RIP Working Lunch let's hope one of your competitors picks up this type of show and show you you were wrong to drop this show.

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    What a shame.I guess viewing figures were poor.
    However did anyone give thought to how those who did watch regularly may now be completely isolated from simple,informative monetary information (and boy,does the country not need some education on this matter).Not everyone has access to the internet.A sizable minority do not even possess a computer.Many are technophobes.
    So another section of society is abandoned by the BBC. Another nail in the coffin for the license fee.
    What's next? The Daily Politics.

  • Comment number 74.

    I am an avid user of the internet, but it can never replace "Working Lunch"; a program that one could rely upon to pick up on issues of concern within the finance and business world. Some of these issues that were highlighted may otherwise have been overlooked; and the might of the BBC was invaluable in resolving some of these issues. When I previously expressed my concern to the BBC about the pending demise of the program, I did assume that a similar successor was in mind. Since Declan took over the program is even better than before when it could sometimes have been accused of being a little frivolous. I know of many people who feel the same way about this BBC mistake and I hope that they will express their opinion. Ironically, this type of issue is exactly the sort of thing that "Working Lunch" would have driven forward.

  • Comment number 75.

    If the real reason for dropping Working Lunch is financial, I can understand although I think even then it would be the wrong decision given that it was a public interest programme and that is what the licence fee should support. I will no longer be a strong defender of the licence fee!

    If the BBC Management really believes the actual reasons given for dropping Working Lunch, it is sadly deluded. Working Lunch was a unique gem of great worth amid a sea of nondescript daytime programmes. It survived for so long despite changes which were not always for the better because it still alerted ordinary people to so many financial issues which they could then examine in more detail elsewhere if they felt the need. Now many of us will miss important information that we need as we will be unaware of it. The people providing financial services love ignorance and the BBC has just given them a helping hand.

  • Comment number 76.

    I just cannot believe that the BBC can get rid of a program of such high quality as this, which is informative and educational.
    And at such a crucial moment in time regarding, the sweeping cuts to Benefits, CGT, Taxation, VAT, Council Tax etc.
    No disrespect to the cast, but it's not as though you are employing Jonathan Ross to lead the program.
    As for a cost cutting exercise it's the equivalent of Margaret Thatcher taking away the milk.

  • Comment number 77.

    From the original article:- "But the world has moved on in the past 16 years and whilst the programme was ground-breaking when it first went on air, there has since been an explosive growth of broadcast media and the launch of the internet. It means that audiences now have a range of ways of accessing this sort of information."

    Using that argument ALL of the BBC's News Programmes could be axed because of the widespread availability of news related internet sites.

    But it completely misses the main points:
    1) Not everybody has access to the internet.
    2) Woking Lunch acted as a focal point, directing the audience to additional in depth sources if the viewer requires additional information.

    No this decision to axe Working Lunch simply demonstrates that the BBC has completely lost its way and needs an immediate overhaul and severe 'prunning' back of its senior managers and replace them with people that appreciate what the audience actually wants.

  • Comment number 78.

    For the information of greyscorpio entry 57 above.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Richard Primmett
    To: Working Lunch
    Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 6:04 PM
    Subject: Concerning the End of the Working Lunch Programme
    Please forward this email to:
    Helen Boaden, Director, BBC News.
    Mark Thompson, Director-General, BBC.
    Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman, BBC Trust.
    Dear Working Lunch,
    It would seem that the sort of information that is currently provided by the Working Lunch Programme will not be available on BBC Television when the Working Lunch Programme is closed-down on the day after tomorrow.
    The raison d'etre for the BBC has always been to inform, educate, and entertain. Working Lunch seems to tick all three boxes and I don't suppose there are that many BBC programmes that do the same.
    To take Working Lunch, with the kind of financial, small-business and work related, and consumer affairs information that it provides, off-the-air, when the country is trying to crawl out of recession, when people are losing their jobs, when unemployment is high, and when consumers are being squeezed financially and need all the consumer affairs guidance and advice that they can get, is obviously very stupid. As the reason given for taking Working Lunch off-the-air is "money", clearly, there are many other programmes that should come off-the-air before Working Lunch does and, in fact, I would think that Working Lunch should be one of the last programmes to go and one of those remaining to turn-off the BBC lights.
    The BBC, because of it's reason for existence, to inform, educate, and entertain (and please note the order of those words), is shooting itself in the foot by taking Working Lunch off-the-air while continuing to fund much of the stuff that will still be on our screens.
    This is not the end of the matter for me so please remember to forward this email to those listed at the top of the email.
    It would be very nice if you were to confirm that this email has been forwarded as requested.
    Thank you.
    Very sincerely,
    Richard Primmett.

  • Comment number 79.

    To say that I was disappointed that Working Lunch has been axed is an understatement. To read the reason for it being axed was infuriating and worthy of the spin normally produced by politicians.
    Yes, we can look and hear other programmes about how the business world is doing but Working Lunch was much, much more. It was much more than just "news". It brought that personal feel about the everyday issues that the man in the street has, with those issues being discussed by the expert guests.
    To say that it had run its course is to say that the likes of "The Archers" and "East Enders" are old hat. I'm afraid this is another of those executive decisions from what used to be fondly regarded as Auntie Beeb that have not taken into account the strength of feeling for the programme as can be seen by the comments to date.
    It is a pity that taking the programme off the air has not drawn the kind of media publicity that was afforded the proposed removal of some radio programmes recently.
    I can only hope that the BBC will reconsider this undoubtedly unpopular decision and return the programme to the airwaves, complete with the weekly hour-long version that was unceremoniously dropped some time ago.

  • Comment number 80.

    A very very Poor decision has been made by the BBC in cancelling, and ending the Programme BBC2 Weekday Programme - Working Lunch.

    The decision given is that there is a wealth of alternative Web - Sites giving out the same information.
    While therefore, this may or may not be true we are completely missing the Point for showing Working Lunce in the First - Place, for lets consider this view that there is too much information available elsewhere, for this view-point can also be Cross-Applied to the Number of Daily News-Paper titles upon the shelf each and every Day, since are we going to say that we need to close down News-Papers until their is only one View-Point left.

    The BBC is funded by the Tax-Payer, so why is there going to be left with the closing of the Working - Lunch Programme NOWHERE whereby the Public can obtain a direct imput to what they consider to be most important to them in the many topics across the board, from Pensions to State Benefits etc:

    There also leaves a gap in the Programme thinking because there are still many People that find using a Computer,[ if they can at all ], to find the advice they need without ALL the Jargon that they quite simply don't understand.

    We can only therefore assume that the decision to close Working - Lunch was carried out by some Brainless Rising Star of a know nothing within some Hi-Tec Department of the BBC mad-house, whom would be better off being Fired.

    The BBC is renouned for making Bad decisions, and this must rank as one of their worse of all times.
    So to those of you whom use to wait for this Programme to come on each Week-Day, I am sure you will now be wondering how to get a Licence Tax Fee Rebate to off-set the the lost of this very necessary Programme.

  • Comment number 81.

    The BBC is a Public Service Broadcaster funded by Licence Payers and "Working Lunch" is exactly the type off programme it should be making. Covering matters that affect millions of us everyday. The BBC has a duty to cover these issues in a way that is easily understood by the public.

    I'm extremely disappointed that the only BBC daytime show that I watch/ed has been axed. We don't all watch home & antique shows and ancient US shows. If the audience was falling why not support the programme by telling people when it's on and what it does. I've never seen a trailer for Working Lunch.

    To be honest changing the format and the presenters a couple of years ago was a serious mistake. It used to have an element of fun. Naga is a good presenter, but Declan is a pain in the ****. I continued to watch for the useful info. & advice, but I didn't enjoy it like I used to.

    I'm copying this to my MP, Gisela Stewart, and anyone else I can think of in an effort to get this this programme back on air with it's old format.

    Yours faithfully
    Anita Turner

  • Comment number 82.

    I am dismayed that a winning formula programme is cut, particularly in these difficult financial times. Working Lunch provided invaluable information to a total cross section of the population and was one of the better public service programmes
    Presumably it will be replaced by a current affairs programme that is nothing more than an advertising promotion programme for pop singers, authors, film stars and minor celebrities.
    At least the replacement it isn't a cooking/property programme.

  • Comment number 83.

    I have already sent a message via your complaint system, but like many others I am mortified at the decision to axe working lunch as it is one of the few programmes it is worth paying the licence fee for. I am afraid that the BBC seem to have their priorities on cost-cutting very wrong.

  • Comment number 84.

    Note for VALEGG item 83 above.
    Dear Valegg,
    I have to tell you that, from experience, I have learned that BBC Complaints is not much more than a sop for the public. The BBC is very secretive and gives us very little information or feedback for the average of 19,000 complaints that it answers every month. The BBC publishes only the total number of complaints answered for the month and refuses (I know because I have asked) to give a breakdown of the complaints into categories, such as how many are received concerning the cancellation of Working Lunch.
    I think that writing on this blog is useful because we can see the number of posts and read each others views.
    I see that the posts on this blog are unanimous.
    Best wishes to all.

  • Comment number 85.

    The removal of working lunch from the daily TV is yet another sign of the BBC dumbing down. Why put on a quality programme when a cheap soap from Australia or the USA can be aired!!!! Perhaps instead of paying inflated salaries to the likes of Ross or Brand the money could be better spent of producing quality programmes, such as Working Lunch. It will be a gap in the schedule that will be hard to fill. Thanks to all those involved, over the 16 years, for all the good advice that has been given!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 86.

    "The BBC publishes only the total number of complaints answered for the month and refuses (I know because I have asked) to give a breakdown of the complaints into categories, such as how many are received concerning the cancellation of Working Lunch."

    Try making a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act.

    Be specific e.g.
    1) How many complaints have been received concerning the axing of Working Lunch
    2) Request copies of ALL emails between BBC staff concerning the axing of working lunch

    As a public body the BBC must comply to all reasonable requests or be in breach of the act. See -


  • Comment number 87.

    You might like to look at Newsnest Scotland for accurate and interesting topics. I would love to hear posters thoughts?

  • Comment number 88.

    Yes, the world certainly has moved on over the last 16 years. Isn't it tragic the BBC appears to be heading off in the opposite direction?

    I recorded every Working Lunch and watched it in the evening after work.

  • Comment number 89.

    For goodness sake, the BBC only have two non-trivial day time programmes ... Working Lunch and Daily Politics (notice I don't include the news, Newsnight is the only news output worth watching)

    And as there is a lack of financial education in the UK shouldn't the BBC have a responsibility to help address this. I did watch the recent Moneywatch programmes but they seemed to be aimed at a primary school level (so not sure why they were on so late at night).

    Is the idea that you help ITV anaesthetize the masses with trivial pap so they don't notice the country's decline?

  • Comment number 90.

    Ms. Unsworth writes -"The cancellation of Working Lunch will deliver cost-saving for BBC News, much of which will be re-cycled back into programme making."

    However, with a little bit of research on the Internet I found this astonishing piece in the Times On-Line:

    The top ten BBC expenses claimants (November 12, 2009)

    1. Erik Huggers, Director of Future Media & Technology
    Pay £274,000
    Expenses £10,075.99

    2. Alan Yentob, BBC Creative Designer
    Pay £183,300
    Expenses £7,041.54

    3. Fran Unsworth, Head of Newsgathering
    Pay £172,800
    Expenses £6,907.95

    4. Menna Richards, Director of BBC Wales
    Pay £192,800
    Expenses £6,879.21

    5. Ken MacQuarrie, Director of BBC Scotland
    Pay £192,800
    Expenses £6,826.46

    6. Peter Johnston, Director of BBC Northern Ireland
    Pay £143,300
    Expenses £6758.3

    7. Pat Loughrey, Director of Nations and Regions
    Pay £311,580
    Expenses £6617.7

    8. Stephen Mitchell, Deputy Director of News and Head of Programmes
    Pay £201,300
    Expenses £5135.45

    9. Caroline Thomson, Chief Operating Officer
    Pay £413,000
    Expenses £4655.19

    10. Peter Horrocks, Director of BBC World Service
    Pay £207,800
    Expenses £4293.48

    Now bearing in mind that the Prime Minister David Cameron is paid a salary of £142,500!

    One must ask, is the Licence Fee Payer getting best value for money. And if there is a need to undertake "cost savings" then rather than axing one of the BBC best programmes like Working Lunch, the BBC should have a serious look at how such excessive salary packages can be justified in this era of austerity.


  • Comment number 91.

    Just finished catching up with last weeks final programmes on the i Player. I had been aware of the planned demise of Working Lunch since its original announcement and am bitterly disappointed. The viewing figures may have been relatively low, but these would have been higher if it was given the number of trailers that many soaps and "entertainment" programme get. Furthermore, those who did watch clearly valued it very highly - is that not what public service broadcasting is about? The alternative options for business & money news are very fragmented. I will now have to rely much more on those Money supplements in the weekend papers that always feature irritating pictures of rich families on the front cover that head articles about how best they can invest their fortunes. That's the issue here - Working Lunch catered for a broad audience who liked its accessible format and who also had an interest in general business issues.

    Not only was it better than any other BBC daytime output, it was better than most of the evening programmes too, hence I watched it on iplayer in the evening. I found the revised format of the last few years along with presenters Declan and Naga to be superb and indeed it was this that helped attract me back as a regular viewer after finding the old format to be getting stale.

    The best possible option would have been to retain Working Lunch but adapt it for radio on 5 Live, alongside a revival of the Midday news. Fingers crossed Working Lunch will eventually be revived, but until then best wishes to everyone involved with a programme that will be missed.

    Kevin Matthews

  • Comment number 92.

    Please, Fran, would you get the Ceefax editor to delete BBC Two Ceefac page 227 in its entirity?

  • Comment number 93.

    I am very upset that working lunch is to end, and I would be interested to know how you can justify the closure on a save money basis, it is one of two lunchtime programmes (the politics show being the other) that provides an intelligent hour or so, after a morning on Channel 1 of repeats and repeats. Radio 5 Live will be no alternative, I am a Radio 4 listener.

  • Comment number 94.

    Like many people I am appalled by the axing of Working Lunch, the whole point of the programme was that it provided information on a wide variety of topics - some of which I would never have considered before seeing the programme but which have proved useful since. Bad decision.

  • Comment number 95.


    I am absolutely appalled at the BBC cutting "Working Lunch".
    It is by far the best "Money" programme on the television.

    Is it due to people becoming more financially astute due to "Working Lunch" ?

    I agree with some of the previous posters, if you are looking for cost cutting measures, I suggest a cut in your own salary would be cheaper to implement.

    Retaining "Working Lunch" would certainly be a popular decision with those looking to improve their financial education.



  • Comment number 96.

    I just wanted to add my voice to the mass condemnation of this decision. Working Lunch was a unique programme with the perfect blend of entertainment and information. Sadly missed. Hang your heads in shame.

  • Comment number 97.

    I am very disappointed the BBC are canceling Working Lunch. I have been a keen view over the last 10 years and find it an invaluable resource in financial matters. I believe that the BBC should have a commitment to financial programs in order to help and support viewers with money issues.

  • Comment number 98.

    There is still a need for a daily personal finance / business TV programme broadcast to an established audience at lunchtime.

    The general 'Working Lunch' format met this need, although at times it did appear that the personalities of the 'presenters' were more important than the basic programme content. For example, Adam Shaw's pantomime type items, or the 'Bill and Ben' style of delivery of Naga and Declan, ( one sentence by one followed by the next sentence from the other and then back to the first presenter again).

    The suggestion to listen to 'Wake Up to Money' on radio 5Live at 5.30 am as a replacement, is plainly ridiculous.

    There is no 'special need' for an extra 'World News' broadcast at lunchtime. The BBC has a dedicated 24-hour news channel for this at Freeview 80, as well as the usual One o'clock news on BBC1 TV, plus six radio channels! Why is it necessary to take the 'Working Lunch' BBC2 slot?

  • Comment number 99.

    As my previous comment failed to get posted perhaps a simple comment that this is simply another example of the bbc dumbing down!!!!!

  • Comment number 100.

    could a facebook campaign to get working lunch reinstated???


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