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You are here > Science & Nature message boards > Deleted > WHY change the format?

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WHY change the format?

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Message 1 - posted by riverbank (U2851836) , Sep 22, 2009

Who decided to dismantle the format and ruin this wonderful show? The 8pm consecutive-weeknights slot was just right for families; 9pm's no use as lots of kids are in bed. And spread out over 8 weeks? It'll lose all momentum. Chris Packham doesn't want it moving! But they've ignored him and gone with the changes anyway.

This is what Chris Packham has to say: "For me, the family audience is absolutely core. And if we don't get them for the Saturday repeat, I'm going to be mortified." He's also concerned the feeling generated by stripped programming of nation-gripping event tv will be lost. "That, I think, is not good. I was very keen to champion a series of surveys - any form of public interaction that we could run over the course of the week. To do that we needed a television vehicle. And the obvious one was The One Show. But it didn't happen. I don't know why not. I don't know what happened politically."

So it looks as though the BBC didn't bother asking any of the public, and ignored the advice of one of its leading presenters.

I'm not opposed to change per se, but AW/SW was always a really special period, with the whole of our family gathered round the tv at the same time every night. The BBC have just destroyed that, for no reason I can see.

It does feel almost as though someone's deliberately sabotaging the programme. And it had such an important remit: drawing in the next generation of young ecologists. Nature programmes that are on CBBC or CBeebies just don't have the same impact as one watched by the whole family together, (not least for practical reasons, such as kids can't build a bird box without help, or drive themselves to their local nature reserve etc).

There are loads of nature programmes for adults too, but none quite like SW and AW, that brought everyone together to DO something for nature - to get involved, rather than just view from the sidelines.
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Message 2 - posted by riverbank (U2851836) , Sep 22, 2009

More comments here: www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...

I'm sorry to come in with something negative so early, but my family are really fed up. We feel as though the BBC has thumbed its nose at the viewer base it so carefully built on year on year.

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Message 3 - posted by Seacarrot (U3012141) , Sep 22, 2009

Hello riverbank, I didn't realise it was on a bit later this year, it does seem daft, I wonder if what they are intending to show after the watershed.

I found this snippet on the main website.."

(followed by Autumnwatch Unsprung 10-10.30pm on BBC TWO, plus
a repeat of the main show for family viewing on Saturday afternoons on BBC TWO)... "


smiley

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Message 4 - posted by riverbank (U2851836) , Sep 22, 2009

Yes, it is being repeated - and I could always video Friday's - but that scenario that used to happen in our house, of getting my little boys in their pyjamas and then hearing the theme tune and them running down the stairs to pile on the sofa like The Simpsons - it's just been wiped out. A real shame. It was a lovely evening programme to share, and the live sections gave a real sense of excitement.

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Message 5 - posted by Katherine Birkett (U8657689) , Sep 22, 2009

I actually prefer this format. It gives me more time to get out there and appreciate nature between programmes.

Additionally, it'll be a more incremental series in that each stage of wintering migration will be more comprehensively displayed.

However, I feel that they've missed the Autumn boat already. Autumnwatch should really have begun last Friday. Along the east coast of England where I live, the first-returning Pink-footed Geese, Brent Geese, Scaup, Redwings, Bramblings and Snow Buntings have already arrived. 143 Pink-footed Geese were seen at Holme Nature Reserve, Norfolk on September 20th.

Having said that, I am really looking forward to this new look, and can't wait to see Martin Hughes-Games again!

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Message 6 - posted by theSteB (U13982963) , Sep 22, 2009

Firstly, as long as the discussion is about the appeal of Autumnwatch/Springwatch to the maximum amount of the public - especially youngsters and families - I don't feel it is negative. The issue is not to blame anyone, but to focus on the important issue of the wide appeal this series has. I see these programmes as a bridge between the wider public who may have some interest in the natural world (especially in our native natural history) and the more serious minded naturalists. When I'm out and about taking natural history photographs I often meet up with people who like the natural world, but who don't know much about it, where to go, how to learn about it etc.

It is my own personal belief that if we want to protect the natural world we have to help people connect to it. Unfortunately, we live in a world where most people have become disconnected from the natural world. So it is vital that programmes like Autmumnwatch/Springwatch are presented in a way that has maximum appeal to the widest audience. Especially key sectors like families and youngsters. So it is vital that these programmes are on at a time when this key audience sector can watch, and presented in a way that builds up maximum interest.

I believe that there should be a weekly magazine programme for natural history similar to the ...watch type series, but one that is on throughout the year. Then there should be periodical event type programmes like Autumnwatch/Springwatch to build up momentum. After all the BBC finds no problem in having weekly magazine programmes for subjects from football to religion. Countryfile does not fulfill this remit because it is not natural history specific. No other type of programming so fulfills the BBC's remit as do the ...watch programmes. It is positive, family orientated, educational, entertaining, appeals to all ages and is free of the commercial rubbish and audience manipulation that now mars much programming. If the BBC cannot fund such a simple programme remit, then it should find this funding by cutting back on some of the other dross that now clogs up the schedules. Why does the BBC's management think that manipulative so called "reality" shows fulfill its remit more than programmes like Autumnwatch? They need to be persuaded though, not blamed.

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Message 7 - posted by bubblinmanxman (U6468792) , Sep 22, 2009

well i dont think it will work this new format.i think there will alot of complates about it.it is on for 8 fridays.also people who watch it wont be happy as this is the one night a week thay go out.so to put it on just 1 night a week is scandilas.sorry about the spelling not to well at the moment.

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Message 8 - posted by riverbank (U2851836) , Sep 22, 2009

Hope you're better soon.

Excellent post, SteB. I was nodding all the way through the first two paragraphs especially.

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Message 9 - posted by Seacarrot (U3012141) , Sep 22, 2009

I would rather Autumn Watch on 1 day a week than not at all.

It will be an interesting watch.


peacedove

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Message 10 - posted by riverbank (U2851836) , Sep 22, 2009

I really feel there's been a total lack of understanding of family audiences here. Or, indeed, a wish to understand them.

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Message 11 - posted by valiantredone (U14147147) , Sep 22, 2009

Do not see a problem with the new format or time, coverage over a longer period I think is agreat idea, most people have some kind of recorder, it can be watched at any time over and over again. I think with Chris, Simon, Kate and other contributions the BBC are on to another winner.
Thats not to say I do not miss Bill, one day It would be great to have all four for Spring and Autumn watch, role on October and best wishes to bill and good luck to the team.
Come on Riverbank give it a go, you know we will love it.

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Message 12 - posted by riverbank (U2851836) , Sep 22, 2009

Yes, I know I can video it, but it's not the same as us all watching the live programme together. It was a lovely family time.

And it's SO important we draw in this next generation of nature-lovers. If A/W S/W begins only to cater for adults, a whole generation of up-and-coming ecologists could miss out. (I don't believe I'm over-estimating the programme's importance - I know the buzz at my sons' school when it's on.)

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Message 13 - posted by riverbank (U2851836) , Sep 22, 2009

Not that there'll be that buzz this year, obviously. sadface

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Message 14 - posted by theSteB (U13982963) , Sep 22, 2009

I don't see any problem with some of Autumnwatch being spread over a longer period. It's just that I'm greedy and would like to see this alongside the event type format. So you'd have a weekly programme spread over a longer time period and a more intense daily sort of event type programme over a short period.

Also, whilst it's true that most have some form of recorder now, I still think the early evening peak viewing time is essential to draw in the family audience. 8.00pm is a very different time slot than 9.00pm. There are too many alternatives and distractions on Saturday nights. In my experience it is much rarer that everyone sits down together to watch a recorded programme, than it is for people to sit down together to watch one that is on air. I bet with most of the very popular TV shows that bring in the big audiences - that the majority of the audience watch it when it is on air.

None of what I say is to suit me and my sole interest in what I suggest is to see more of the public - especially families - drawn into watching Autumnwatch. I really do hope the current format is successful and I don't want to be negative about the programme.

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Message 15 - posted by Val (U4437960) , Sep 22, 2009

I think it's absolutely stupid to change the time & format of AW. steam
Friday is a very silly day to have the programme, as others have said, a lot of people do go out Friday nights. OK there are DVD players & all the other gadgets to record it on, but it really won't be the same not being live, the presentation of the programme anyway.
Total madness, I say grr

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Message 16 - posted by BBC Springwatch Web Team (U4079033) , Sep 22, 2009

Hi all, not sure if you were aware of this but here's what Tim Scoones, the Springwatch/Autumnwatch executive producer has to say on the new format: www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/...

Jeremy

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Message 17 - posted by close2nature (U10285001) , Sep 22, 2009

There maybe a postive in all this they might be running live webcams for the 8 weeks rather than just 2 weeks and if the cams are anything like SW they will be fantastic

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Message 18 - posted by Chumpy Chumpy (U14032671) , Sep 22, 2009

Well, I'm sure I'll watch the new AW - at least, at first - and I really hope I'm wrong, but I suspect the schedule change will not work - and viewers will drift away long before the end - especially the family audiences mentioned in messages above.

But it is Message 6 which mentions what for me is the main issue here - that the identity of AW (and SW) is as an "event" show - and a remarkably successful one. Take away that "event" scheduling and I don't think you have the same show. The new weekly AW may have great stories, great films and great infotainment - yea, even more of such content than would be possible in a 2-week burst. I just fear that some essential "magic" will be lost with this new format - indeed, it won't be Autumnwatch.

Like I say, I hope I'm wrong about all this and perhaps I will have to post again in November, my views converted...

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Message 19 - posted by close2nature (U10285001) , Sep 22, 2009

i must admit i will miss the old format as i used to look forward to coming home from work each night in the dark and then tuning into watch AW live i loved it and looked forward to it every year curled up on the sofa tuning in.

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Message 20 - posted by BBC Springwatch Web Team (U4079033) , Sep 22, 2009

close2nature, we are working very hard to bring you some webcams for Autumnwatch but I'm sorry they definitely won't be on for the full eight weeks. The cost is just too great. Hope to bring you some news on exactly what we're doing very soon.

Jeremy

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