Robert Peston issued a “big apology” last night after a social media experiment to broadcast his first show in a new midweek time slot on Twitter “didn’t work properly” due to technical problems.
Current affairs show Peston on Sunday has moved to Wednesday night and has been renamed Peston after its host and ITV News’ political editor.
The move came after the evening repeats of Peston on Sunday were regularly watched by twice as many people (around 600,000) as the live 10am show, leading to Peston suggesting “we should convert it into a proper night time show”.
The show now airs at 10.45pm after ITV News at Ten, but was broadcast live on Twitter and on the ITV News website at 8pm in a UK terrestrial TV first.
Peston averaged 508,000 viewers for its Wednesday night debut, with a 6.8 per cent share.
However for the first part of last night’s livestream, the audio and video were around 30 seconds out of sync, rendering it unwatchable for many viewers.
At around 8.15pm, the persisting technical problem meant only 200 people were still watching on Twitter, as seen by Press Gazette at the time. The broadcast has since been deleted from Twitter.
After recording finished, Peston apologised on Twitter for the technical problems and promised they would not be repeated next week when the show would again air on the social media platform.
He said: “So I owe all of you a big apology. The livestream of Peston here on Twitter at @itvpeston didn’t work properly for first 20 minutes. Very sorry.
“I am told the problem has been sorted and next week will be fine. Please forgive.”
Although Peston said the problem lasted 20 minutes, the official ITV Peston Twitter account said at 8.34pm that it was having “some teething issues” and added at 8.41pm: “We have lift-off just in time for Rose McGowan.”
An ITV spokesperson told Press Gazette: “This is a new system and was tested prior to transmission. The team has looked into it and it appears there was a technical problem.
“It led to some delays but the team worked to resolve the problem and it was back up and running before the end of the programme. We are working to make sure it will work next week.”
In another Twitter first, users tweeting with the hashtag #Peston triggered an emoji of the political editor’s head to show up in the tweet.
At the start of last night’s show, Peston said: “It’s a big Wednesday night wotcha – brand new show, same old political chaos.”
Peston was joined for the first show by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, shadow minister Barry Gardiner, and #MeToo activist Rose McGowan.
Alistair McGowan and Nadine Dorries appeared in “croissant corner” – so named for the shape of the desk and the offer of pastries to morning guests – and co-presenter and Guardian political editor Anushka Asthana returned to provide analysis and the latest polling data.
In a statement issued ahead of the new show, Peston said: “Rarely has there been such a need to hold our political leaders and our elected representatives to account.
“Which is why I am so excited by the launch on Wednesdays of Peston, which will continue the tradition of Peston on Sunday with agenda-setting interviews, a digital conversation with the audience, cutting-edge graphical analysis, informality and fun.
He added: “I could not be more pleased to be broadcasting after News at Ten on arguably the most important political day of the week.”