The final dedicated nightly newspaper review programme on the BBC News channel has aired as the broadcaster prepares to merge its TV news output.
The Papers, which airs for 15 minutes after BBC News at Ten on the 24-hour news channel, was produced for the final time on Monday night (2 January).
The BBC announced earlier this year it planned to merge its UK-focused BBC News channel and the BBC World News channel to create one single 24-hour TV news channel.
It said in a statement ahead of the closure of The Papers: “As part of these changes there will be some scheduling changes and some items may move, or be provided in different ways across the BBC channels.”
Some 70 jobs are at risk as part of the merger and the i reported this week that presenters on the news channel are being asked to undertake a 40-minute screen test if they want to be considered for the roles that will remain. According to the i, about 14 presenting roles will be cut with five to remain at New Broadcasting House in London.
The Papers, billed as a “lively and informed conversation about the next day’s headlines”, saw a presenter and two guests examine national newspaper front page stories from the Financial Times to The Sun and discuss and explain them.
Presenter David Eades told viewers on Monday night it had been the final edition, adding: “All I can say now is thanks for watching.”
The BBC said it would continue to instigate discussions about newspaper stories and invite editors and journalists to join across its output.
It said that from Tuesday 3 January The Papers “will no longer run as a regular segment on BBC News, and instead we will continue to feature paper reviews and stories throughout BBC programmes including:
- BBC Breakfast
- The Today Programme
- Politics Live
- Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg
- BBC News Online.”
The statement continued: “We think it is important to feature newspapers and will also continue to invite editors and journalists from across the industry to discuss the news and important issues of the day across the BBC channels.”
BBC News presenter Clive Myrie was among the journalists mourning the loss on Twitter, writing ahead of the final programme: “End of an era tonight as the last edition of The Papers goes out on the BBC News Channel. At one stage this programme had more viewers than Newsnight and was regularly the most watched show on the channel by a country mile!”
He later added: “It was sort of about the papers, but I always saw it as a late night chat with the smartest people around, chewing the fat on the big issues.”
The Fleet Street Fox columnist Susie Boniface described it as “an enormous shame – and also denies people worldwide a breakdown and analysis of what’s in the news by people other than BBC employees.”
The nightly newspapers review show continues on Sky News at 10.30pm each night with a presenter joined by two guests to discuss the next day’s papers.
GB News runs a nightly newspaper review show called Headliners at 11pm hosted by Simon Evans, Mark Dolan and Andrew Doyle. And TalkTV’s Tom Newton Dunn hosts First Edition at 10pm every weeknight which looks at the next day’s news “through the lens of the newspaper first editions and TalkTV’s own agenda-setting journalism”.
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