Regional politics slots to get higher profile on BBC1

Jeremy Vine presents new show

A new political programme is being piloted by the BBC as part of a bid to shift regional coverage to a more high-profile slot on BBC1.

The 20-minute opt-out will air in all 13 BBC regions during a new programme that will replace On the Record and be presented by Jeremy Vine.

The BBC announced it was axeing the programme John Humphrys has presented since 1993 when it announced the outcome of its year-long political review last week.

Pilots are being worked on for the new hour-long show and the regional slots that will replace existing half-hour political programmes currently broadcast on BBC2.

Despite the 10-minute cut in regional programmes, the BBC’s regional political correspondents are said to be delighted with the higher profile slot.

The switch from BBC2 to BBC1 mirrors that of current affairs programmes, which have adopted a new format, called Inside Out, across the board.

The changes have partly been made in readiness for the digital switch-over as opt-outs will only be possible on BBC1 once it goes ahead.

But the move to BBC1 has already boosted ratings: the new half-hour slots have attracted a combined weekly audience of around four million since they began earlier this month.

Nigel Kay, the BBC’s head of journalism development, is working with regional editors on ideas for the new strand to replace programmes such as London Metropol and Midlands Viewpoint early next year.

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will also gain an extra 20 minutes on top of their weekly programmes.


By Julie Tomlin

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