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Thanks from BBC News

Peter Horrocks Peter Horrocks | 12:57 UK time, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

BBC News audiences helped us out with reporting the news in record numbers on Monday.

Over 35,000 people sent us stills and video of the heavy snow across much of the UK. This was a record both for the sheer number of pictures and almost certainly for the size of the audience response to a news event in the UK.

As well as sending us your pictures, audiences watched and read a lot of BBC News.

About 8.2 million unique users came to the BBC News website, of whom 5.1 million were from the UK - also a record. The BBC News channel, no doubt boosted by huge numbers of people taking an enforced day off work, had a peak audience of 557,000, compared with Sky's peak of 300,000. The BBC News channel's average share across the day was 1.82 per cent, compared with Sky's 0.90 per cent. And there were 195,000 plays of the BBC News channel live on the BBC website.

The BBC1 news programmes were also avidly watched. Breakfast's audience was 1.8 million, a share of 38%; the News at One scored a huge 5.1 million and a share of 44 per cent; the Six ranked even higher with 7.1 million (30 per cent share) and the Ten reached the heights of 7.4 million (32 per cent share).

Whenever there has been a big news story like this we assess it afterwards and see what we can learn from it. Do please let us know what you thought of the BBC's information service across news (national and regional) and weather.

Your pictures and video certainly made it clear that people were having a lot of fun out there.

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Lastly, I'd like to pay tribute to our reporters and TV crews who have been out in the cold and snow for hours on end.

Jenny Hill

Peter Horrocks is head of BBC Newsroom.


  • Comment number 1.

    That's if you think 'News' consists of people telling us the world is coming to a standstill while behind them people are carrying on with their lives and driving to the shops and on the school-run...

    Although to be fair you did give plenty of coverage of Boris telling people to 'get on your bike' and stop skiving...

  • Comment number 2.

    "Lastly, I'd like to pay tribute to our reporters and TV crews who have been out in the cold and snow for hours on end. "

    Er, for no readily apparent reason..

    What about the unsung heroes like Annie McKie and Martha Kearney who ensured that 'the show must go on' ?

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm sorry but I'm sick of BBC News making up news about snow.

    This wasn't anything like as big a story as you made it out to be. In most places there was at most a couple of inches of snow on the ground - I judge this from looking at the scene behind your reporters, and from what I've seen travelling around myself.

    At one point you showed an image of a section of backed up motorway and blamed it on the snow. Of course those of us who use the UK's motorways know that there are never jams like that unless it snows - no, I don't think so. It was most likely a prang like one that happens every day on our motorways. This is NOT news.

    The worst thing about all this is you (and the other media outlets) actually CAUSE big problems. People watch your reports, listen to what you say, and decide it's too dangerous to travel, when of course if they just drive carefully it'd most likely be fine to drive. Thousands of people don't go to work because they listen to your over-hyped reports.

    Of course the travel companies etc will say not to travel as they're just trying to make less work for themselves, and cover their backsides in case something does go wrong.

    I'm not saying don't report the snow, just give both sides of the story. You are supposed to provide un-biaised coverage, but not once did I hear anyone say, "What's the problem?"

  • Comment number 4.

    I don't agree with people saying the snow is a non-story.

    Massive disruption has occured. This once respected country has been made a laughing stock across world media - apparently European news is showing it as a joke item: Britain closed for business by a couple of inches of snow as Europeans continue as normal under feet of snow.

    I'd like to see a bit more focus on the issues behind the shut down.

    Just one example....

    Why is almost every school in the midlands closed, whilst just down the road all the shops are open?

    I don't mean schools up a mountain in Derbyshire, I mean schools in the middle of a big city.

    Nearly 1/3 of my colleagues are not at work today. NOT because of snow. The roads are virtually clear - no one at all phoned in because of blocked roads. They could not work because the schools are closed and they have to stay at home to look after their kids.

    How come Tesco is open for business and the school just down the road is shut, despite the massive disruption that causes to the community?

  • Comment number 5.

    Travel disruption is a story (especially on the radio) but the fact that snow falls in the winter is surely not the headline news that the BBC and other media outlets think it is.

    And publicly thanking reporters for doing a job that they are very well paid for doing is ridiculous. The weather conditions are not that bad, during the day the temp. is above freezing. So BBC give it a rest and go back to churning out the usual politically correct rubbish that you do for the rest of the year.

  • Comment number 6.

    On Saturday/Sunday we were told this cold weather was coming from "Europe". The BBC sill has correspondents in France, Brussels etc, so why couldn't they be used to show what was heading our way and how those communities were coping?

    The BBC's "don't talk about Europe" policy is so irritating especially when contrasted with the amount of coverage of US affairs.

  • Comment number 7.

    Peter Horrocks:

    -Thank you for your 'thanks' regarding how well everyone contributed to the coverage of the 'blizzard'

    -Thanks for the BBC Staff that covered the story across the United Kingdom...And, since, they had to worked outside in cold & snow for most of their reports....

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 8.

    It would have been nice if Aunty Beeb had responded to the lousy weather forecast with some advice about driving in the snow/coping with it, rather than a weedy little whisper of second-hand AA telling everyone to carry a coat in case you break down. Maybe tips from a respected rally driver, a police driving instructor, someone qualified (NOT silly tips from some townie Beeb twerp with an underpowered PC toy motor)? Naah - just a lot of cheap reporting of the obvious, sensation before service, reporter exposure rather than viewer empathy. Wake UP, BBC, you've lost the plot! You're a public service broadcaster - get back to servicing the public!

  • Comment number 9.

    Wow. "And the audience grew and grew and grew until nobody watched anything other than the BBC.... " What are you people on?

    As #8 suggests there were so many things that could have been usefully done on air instead of the banal "..and Steve from Bleaksville has sent us a beautiful picture of a snowman - pity you cannot see it on the radio, maybe I'll put it on my blog....blah, blah, bl**dy blah etc etc" or Nicky Campbell's "lets produce Xmas cards...."

    You are, first and foremost, a public service and it would have been great to have some coordination about the messages being given to the public instead of the diametrically opposed "go to work/stay at home" mixed bag that actually fell out of your mouths.

    But the BBC doesn't care about quality does it? Just how many people watch your rubbish - that is all you ne'er do wells are interested in. Refund our license fees and go commercial and see how long you will last....

  • Comment number 10.

    More self promoting nonsense from this crowd of numpties. The BBC news is mostly about itself or its own employees - e.g Ross, Brand, Thatcher, DEC, Strictly Come Dancing etc. Now its own viewing figures are the story. I support the MP's bill to scrap the poll tax that is the license fee. I object to paying for this utter tosh from the BBC thought police. Yes its OK to abuse a pensioner over the phone but make a private joke and you can't work for them again. Yes be pro Israeli and thats OK too. Rip off the public with trassy phone ins. Yep that's really quality public broadcasting worth every penny. And yes how many of their employees are paid over £100,000 whilst the rest are being laid off?

  • Comment number 11.

    My impression is that there are some rather important things going on in the world, but watching BBC News fails to confirm it.

    Is News run by Eskimos (or as the PC-obsessed numpties would doubtless have it, Inuit)? The fascination with snow is obsessive. The first 12 minutes of Ten O'Clock News (TV) last night were devoted exclusively to it. OK, there was disruption - tell us that and get on with the real stuff. Grow up, FFS.

    Meanwhile, Iran - dedicated to the obliteration of Israel - launches an ICBM in the guise of putting up a satellite. We could be looking at the start of WW3, yet it's relegated down the order.

    And the fact that an incompetent government is set on ruining the country wasn't even mentioned. Well, it might have been, but I switched over when you gave space to the idiotic and unjust treatment of Carol Thatcher. It's important to her, and to those whose primary activity is taking offence on behalf of others, but is it serious NEWS?

    I really, really resent paying for this rubbish. Your distinguished predecessors must be revolving in their graves.

  • Comment number 12.


  • Comment number 13.


    Sorry jumped the gun before. 'Unbiased coverage' of the snow? Yeah that would have been great. For each winter scene they could at least have shown us a non wintery scene of someone playing in the mud.

  • Comment number 14.

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

  • Comment number 15.

    The whole world is laughing at you.

    a few inches of snow, an entire country dissolves into chaos and the BBC congratulates everybody for doing a good job.

    Spike Milligan could have written this.

  • Comment number 16.

    My comment was censored by sensitive BBC types. In effect I criticised the BBC for this self congratulatory tripe. In addition I commented that the BBC's reputation is now in tatters a la DEC, Peston, Thatcher, Ross/ Brand and dubious phone ins. Can anyone at this monilith funded by a compulsory poll tax explain why? I thought the function of the BBC was to report the news and not make the news and congratulate itself. Can we have a little balance on these bogs please - ie the BBC is not wonderful a lot of people resent having to pay for the tripe that it churns out.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    Watching the BBC News Channel this morning, one reporter described what was going on as "Round Two".

    I started thinking about that film where Tommy Lee Jones was battling a volcano which erupted in the middle of Los Angeles!

  • Comment number 19.

    Interesting that nowhere is the BBC allowing comments on Thatcher other than this - I would encourage more people to complain about their appalling behaviour. Incidentally whilst passing the garden of DG Mark Thompson's house I thought I heard him say something disparaging about the Tory MP who is putting the private members bill forward to rid us of the Beeb poll tax - did anyone else hear this too? Perhaps he should get sacked for this? no thats right the rule of Ross applies to him and not the rule of Thatcher. What a bunch of unbelievable hypcrites funded by the mugs that we are.

  • Comment number 20.

    I really do think there must be more to the News, and News presentation, than pictures of snowmen.

    Why not a proper investigation into why schools are closed, or the London Transport system failed to work.

    Was it really that bad - after all, your staff must have got to work OK, otherwise we wouldn't have all these super pictures of "snow" and the tedious repetitive requests to send them in.

    And please stop asking Fiona Bruce to satnd up for the 10 pm News - she just looks so unconfortable and embarrassed next to your powerpoint screen.

  • Comment number 21.

    Most people are just getting on with their lives in this weather, we all know its bad and make allowances, allow extra time for getting to work and understand the councils and highways departments are doing their best but BBC television news just keep going on and on and on about how bad things are, its like an episode of Eastenders, is this to take our minds off the thought police now running the BBC and failing in their attempts to brainwash us into their 'politically correct' way of thinking.

    I work with people from countries far and wide, Nepal, Afghanistan, Ghana, Philippines, France, Germany, South Africa, India all over and we all get on extremely well, can joke and banter with each other, be un-politically correct, be honest with each other about race, creed and religion in a world totally at odds with the world of the BBC.

    The BBC has lost the plot and it about time someone came in and gave you all a great big kick up the arse, you are totally out of touch with reality and all your attempts to convert the Great British public into your weird world view have failed causing us to hold you in absolute contempt.

    Your television news coverage when compared to other providers is terrible, whereas once you could be relied upon to report world events in detail and in believed impartiality you now concentrate almost exclusively on home events, offer a suspect view of external events and manipulate stories that are in anyway critical of the BBC i.e. Ross, Brand and Thatcher.

    I use to think the BBC was one of this countries greatest institutions and the greatest gift this country had given the world, I now wish for it to be broken up and sold off, it could not be any worse and in fact it would probably be better as you would have to take into account the thoughts, feelings, beliefs of normal, not honest or perfect, sometimes racist and dishonest average human beings called British people., the people you are supposed to serve.

  • Comment number 22.

    How do BBC executives sleep whilst so chock full of bias, cheap output, glossy previews for formula rubbish, fraudulent telephone voting, contradictory disciplinary standards, and plainly ridiculous in depth political correctness?

    It couldn't be their grossly inflated salaries and their self congratulatory egos that are kidding them could it?

    There are perfectly decent human beings out there who work hard to meet your inflated license fee just to watch TV, any TV. They seldom get a mention in your broadcasts but of course you do portray them in true BBC style in Eastenders etc. To all your silly executives they are not a reality just a fiction that you dish up as soap. Everything about the BBC is protectionist, defensive, and, on too many occasions, downright dishonest.

    You have failed to live up to the values of the mighty institution the BBC once was and all of you should be ashamed of the role you have played. I would not care if only a handful of people watched you as long as you were true to the real values of the BBC's Charter. Start talking to real people for a change.

  • Comment number 23.

    It may thank us but there is no doubt that the BBC is becoming as censorious as it ever was one only has to see the remarks made by Carol Thatcher to see that. You may thank us for our twee input, but basically that's a mere brainwashing exercise. As far as I am concerned the BBC has no more cred.

  • Comment number 24.

    This is the first time that I have ever used this type of format. I am so fed up with just moaning at my other half about the state of things. I have just turn on the news to hear that the RBS is still paying out the bonuses to the team that has lead the bank to this preasent state, I govermamt won't listen so I am going to take action in the morning I after 28years of being with this bank will with draw my assets and find a new bank. My be if one or two other peolpe did this the bank or may be the goverment would see how strongly we feel about the way the banks are treating the tax payers who now own most to the banks. I am only one person who has never taken part in mass revolt before, who does think anything French is good except their way or drawing people together to change this may be one or two other people may join me. I of course will in form the bank manager why I am closing my account, I don't think this will do any good. This is the wolverhamopn branch so watch this space. Just going now to hassle my other half to see if he will do the same. So it could be 2 people.
    Thanks to anyone that reads this.

  • Comment number 25.

    This Blog invites comments Mr Horrocks, so how about explaining why we have two numpty blogs on weather, one concerning a web-page that is still not in place, and yet nothing on Carol Thatcher, nothing on the Italian embargo of British workers, nothing on ID cards, for starters.

    You may shrug off criticism of the BBC as being expected after all you work for them. But the level of dissatisfaction and disagreement with performance must make your fondness for stating audience figures a little irrelevant. I am sure that you will continue to appease the Government as fondly as you would like to hang on to your job but woe betide what may happen when your cronies get hassled from office.

    You may care to read the comments on here sometime and at least show that you have read them by acknowledging what they say in a follow up item on an issue that has been suggested.

  • Comment number 26.

    STOP MOANING ABOUT BBC NEWS and the 'thanks from BBC news too!
    Just remember that whatever you think of the BBC in all it's strength and weakness, it provides web forums for all our moans and groans.
    I have yet to find such helpful websites on any commercial television channel!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    You're welcome.

  • Comment number 28.

    Mr Horrocks

    Given your thirst for figures I just wondered what the plans are for dealing with the BBC Trust's report on the decline in Newsround audiences (40% down).

    Do you know why this is?

  • Comment number 29.


    So you haven't been looking very hard I take it.....


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