BBC considering axing overnight programming

NewsnightThe BBC is reportedly considering axing its overnight programming in a bid to cut costs. The move would mean BBC channels could stop broadcasting content after 10.35pm meaning shows such as Newsnight, The Graham Norton Show and Mrs Brown’s Boys would be moved elsewhere in the schedule.

Over the past few weeks several controversial proposals associated with cutting costs at the BBC have been revealed. Firstly it emerged the BBC was considering axing BBC Two’s daytime schedules and replacing them with the BBC News Channel before 7pm (reportedly saving £20 million). The plans to cut back the corporation’s local radio stations and replacing them with BBC Radio 5 Live (putting at risk 700 jobs). The BBC’s sports coverage was next on the list of proposed cut-backs with suggestions the corporation might not showing Formula One or even Wimbledon (now that would be controversial).

Now it has emerged the corporation is also considering axing its late-night/overnight programming for BBC One and Two with both channels “closing down” at 10.35pm. This would mean popular shows such as The Graham Norton Show and Mrs Brown’s Boys (just re-commissioned for a second series) would have to be moved elsewhere in the schedules. The current/topical affairs and news review programme Newsnight would also have to be moved as would political panel show Question Time.

At the moment all the above are just proposals and are likely to change as they are debated and the public objects to certain elements. The proposals to cut BBC Two’s daytime schedules and the corporation’s local radio content has already met with strong opposition as is likely the possibility of ending the BBC’s association with Wimbledon. The prospect of more repeats in prime-time, also a proposal, is also likely to met with opposition especially if the BBC does decide to “close-down” at 10.35pm.

It is only in recent times that broadcasters started to transmit 24 hours a day or near enough. Not so long ago channels would “close down” at certain times and in the 1960s/early 1970s channels would be off the air during daytime. It was only when broadcasting hours were extended during the day that BBC One and ITV started to air in those hours which lead to a range of programmes such as Crown Court and Emmerdale Farm being commissioned.  Now in light of much needed cuts at the BBC it seems as though the prospect of daytime schedules disappearing (on BBC Two) and programming ceasing at 10.35pm will echo those ‘early’ days of television.