Children's shows to leave BBC One

Blue Peter presenters Helen Skelton and Barney Harwood with the show’s editor Tim Levell Blue Peter presenters Helen Skelton and Barney Harwood with the show’s editor Tim Levell (centre)

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Children's programmes will no longer be shown on BBC One and Two following the digital switchover, the BBC Trust has confirmed.

Award-winning shows such as Horrible Histories and Blue Peter will move permanently to CBBC and CBeebies.

No date has been set for the change, but the final analogue transmitters will be switched off in Northern Ireland between 10-24 October.

The confirmation came in a report approving the BBC's cost-cutting plans.

Spending on children's programmes will not be affected, and the move is unlikely to be detrimental to viewing figures.

In recent months, the number of young people watching children's programmes on the BBC's main terrestrial channels has occasionally dropped as low as 1,000.

Figures on digital have steadily increased since its introduction of CBBC and CBeebies in 2002.

Blue Peter, for example, is now seen by an average audience of 123,000 6-12 year olds when it is shown on CBBC.

BBC One repeats of the show are watched by an average of 30,000 children in the same age range.

A Trust spokesperson said: "Children's programmes are absolutely fundamental to the BBC and that is why we have protected investment in them in the light of cuts elsewhere.

"Only a very small percentage of children still solely watch these programmes on BBC One and BBC Two alone, so moving them to digital channels is merely following current viewing patterns and reflects the fact that CBeebies and CBBC will be universally available on digital TV from the end of this year."

Local radio cuts 'halved'

The BBC Trust document was its final report into cost-saving plans known internally as "Delivering Quality First".

David Reeves with Beryl and Betty Local radio changes were approved a day after Radio Humberside's Beryl and Betty won a Sony award

It confirmed that cuts to local radio and TV services would be halved - with savings now in the region of £8m, compared to the original proposal of £15m.

As a result, reductions in local news teams will be lower, and coverage of local sport will be "more protected", the Trust said.

A plan for local radio stations to share programmes in the afternoon will now be limited to a "very small number" of stations.

However, on weekday evenings between 19:00 and 22:00, all of the BBC's regional stations in England will join together for a new all-England programme, although stations will have the flexibility to opt for local sports coverage.

Across the BBC, some of the main points noted by the BBC Trust were:

  • BBC One and Two will "largely be protected from making significant cuts".
  • Repeats on BBC One will increase, but remain under 10% of all output (the current rate is 8.4%).
  • Expenditure on sports rights will be cut by 15%. This has largely been achieved already by sharing rights to Formula 1 coverage.
  • Regional music programmes on Radio 1 will be replaced with a single programme "that offers a UK-wide platform for undiscovered, unsigned" bands.
  • Radio 3 will have "25 per cent fewer live and specially recorded lunchtime concerts".
  • Plans to drop 5 live's weekly one hour current affairs programme have been dropped.
  • Asian Network will increase its music content, and cease to broadcast between midnight and 06:00.

The BBC Trust, which is the governing body of the BBC, drew up its report in consultation with listeners, viewers and other broadcasters.

BBC management responded to the report, saying: "We welcome the BBC Trust's full approval of our Delivering Quality First proposals.

"The coming years will involve a significant effort from people at every level of the BBC to deliver the savings while we continue to provide the quality programmes and services that audiences expect from us."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    "Delivering Quality First" i.e. cutting budgets, squeezing freelance workers, squeezing suppliers and moving production to Manchester, Cardiff & Glasgow from London. Only the BBC can come up with crass titles to disguise the political interference from both the Labour party and the Conservatives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    It is not the BBC's job to give people what they want. It is suppose to provide us with what we need. This is a operating decision and not a well thought out one. It has nothing to do with idealistic ideals and everything to do with some sort of OCD broadcasting trying to make it neat and sensible. This will divorce adults from children even more. Adults need to watch TV with their children.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Let's be honest, if one channel was brave enough to screen 24 hour "Aerobics Oz Style" all other TV channels would be redundant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Oh! Goodie, more space for cookery and home makeover programmes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Cost cutting from the BBC. About time too!

    They levy billions from a flat rate tax charged to virtually every household in the country whether you wish to watch their output or not.

    An anachronsitic funding mechanism for a TV and radio company that sees itself as a cut above the rest. I would abolish the licence fee tomorrow.

    If a company cannot self-fund it should go out of business.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Perhaps the beeb will replace the childrens shows with educational programs for adults, after all, there surely is no rating war at that time of day, or am I completely wrong?

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    This actually makes sense.

    Nobody is restricted to 5 channels anymore: everyone has needed a digital receiver (either a new set or separate box that plugs into an existing one), ever since analogue went off the air for good.

    Now if the BBC were to open a dedicated sports channel, then maybe sporting events would not get in the way of regular scheduled programmes .....

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Haven't watched the BBC for years apart from MoTD. Listen to the non-politicial shows on Radio 4 a bit, they are very interesting. The political shows are too biased in favour of the BBC's remit: left wing over right wing, global warming is definately happening, Israel bad, Palestine good, Islam is a peaceful religion with absolutely no potentially negative aspects whatsoever.... etc etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Good news indeed !!

    So there will now be more space for fantastic stuff like The Voice, Strictly, and The Apprentice.

    Erm, hang on......

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    8. knowyourrights
    What will be transmitted on the analogue system after October is yet a mystery...

    That part of the spectrum's being sold off to Mobile companies to offer 4G mobile internet connections

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    @ 4.Jon

    I entirely agree, I'm not sure what I would do without my regular dose of HH!

    Or of 'Ooglies' on BBC2 on Sunday about 11.30am.

    Am I going to have to grow up now and watch re-runs of cookery shows or go jogging like most folk? :(

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I think its right that all childrens programmes are on one channel. Makes it very easy for parents. I just hope the BBC replace them with some decent programmes and not the awful dribble that seems to be on daytime TV at the moment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    does this mean Doctor Who is finally getting taken off air since it is essentially a children's' show?

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Personally, I’ll be sad to cuts in Radio 3’s lunchtime concerts – but that’s Jeremy Hunt for you. If you are sorry about cuts, write to your MP and say that the BBC should not be required to PAY Rupert Murdoch to have Sky carry their programmes (as they do at present) but that Sky should be paying the BBC for their programme content.

    BBC channels are the best thing on Sky television.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    What will be transmitted on the analogue system after October is yet a mystery...

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    How will this cut costs? The time that these shows occupy will need to be filled, hopefully not with another repeat of Antiques under the hammer or Homes in the attic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    To make more room for strictly come sequines and what not no doubt...though what gets me is "cost cutting" which means these slots won't prolly be filled with new shows but instead reruns of the normal dribble they show...sigh

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I know we're moving into multi-channel television, but as an 80s child it's just not the same.

    You'll be telling me they've stopped showing Henry's cat next. :(

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Now that digital TV is standard across Britain (or at least I think it is) it makes sense to move these shows to specialist channels. It will be interesting to see what replaces them on BBC1/2 though because shows like Horrible Histories are, in my humble opinion, more entertaining and informative than the plethora of antiques shows which currently fill the daytime schedule.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    My kids won't let me near the telly anyway because of their addiction to Horrible Histories so I still won;t get a look in until after they have gone to bed. On the positive side, how many other 6 year olds can name every King and Queen of England in order since William the Conqueror?


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