The Newsroom

Evolution of BBC World News

The changing schedules of the BBC's news channels

DT
DTV Meridian (South) South Today
The other day I started trying to visualise in Excel how BBC's World News's schedule has changed in recent years and it sort of got out hand. I ended up making it back as far as the BBC's website and the Wayback archive would allow me - 2007 for BBC World and 2003 (except 2005) for BBC News 24 (which is unsurprisingly much less interesting).

I thought that I'd upload the results here, as I'm sure some will find it useful and/or interesting and also because I wondered if anybody had any information about earlier periods.

The way I've done it is by taking the 'generic weekday schedule' (usually Tuesday/Wednesday) from the mid-point in every month. For BBC World News this, therefore, includes the March America shift but not the autumn America shift. I've just listed pre-recorded programmes (other than HARDtalk) as 'pre-record' as it seemed unnecessary to get bogged down in that.

Anyway, here it is.

I'm not sure how we'll do alterations. Perhaps somebody could convert it to a Google Doc or I'll update a master copy? But, I hope you find it useful.

P.S. I know the colour coding is awful, but I wanted colours that at least related to the programmes and that does limit oneself to various shades of red.
JF
JF World News West Country (East) Points West
One error 2015 when OS started Friday was an edition of World News Today at 21:00
DT
DTV Meridian (South) South Today
One error 2015 when OS started Friday was an edition of World News Today at 21:00


Sure, but I went for generic weekday schedule (i.e. Monday to Thursday) as Fridays on World News have often diverged significantly from other days of the week.
Last edited by DTV on 21 October 2020 10:06pm
DT
DTV Meridian (South) South Today
[*]
Last edited by DTV on 23 October 2020 8:38pm
DT
DTV Meridian (South) South Today
Thanks to the websites of a few carriers of BBC World News, I have managed to create an updated version largely going back to late-1999 for BBC World. The record wasn't complete so there are a few gaps where there were schedule changes but I couldn't find the exact month of the change. Some of the titles may not be exactly correct as BBC World had a weird habit of listing their titled bulletins (The World Today, The World etc.) as simply 'BBC News'.

One thing I noticed doing this has been the gradual decline of World Business Report. In 2007, there were fourteen editions of WBR a day totalling 4 hours. The pre-Covid schedule had just two 15 minute editions. I wonder whether it will return or, instead, be quitely axed?

For those who don't wish to open an Excel file, here is a simplified graphic:
*
Last edited by DTV on 23 October 2020 8:37pm
AL
AaronLancs Granada North West Today
Brilliant work, I've never really thought about it myself. But looking at the jpg it does seem as it over time the pattern as been to have more "nuanced" themed programming for the top of the hour stuffs.
AARON
A random bunch of thoughts molded into person
DT
DTV Meridian (South) South Today
Brilliant work, I've never really thought about it myself. But looking at the jpg it does seem as it over time the pattern as been to have more "nuanced" themed programming for the top of the hour stuffs.


It's extremely telling when you notice that back in 2000 there was a BBC News bulletin every hour, whereas by 2019 there were no standard bulletins between 0830 and 0200. Nearly every programme is in some way 'branded' now (well, pre-Covid).

Although, during the flags era a lot of programmes were branded - the 1995 era had 'The World Report', 'Newsdesk', 'Newshour' etc. and the 1997 era had multiple editions of 'The World Today'. Plus, I believe that during the clamshell era some of the bulletins branded as BBC News were more similar to a Newsday/100 Days format - double headed between two different studios (with some editions being London + Washington as a proto-WNA).
AL
AaronLancs Granada North West Today
Also the branded programmes that were back in the day, i.e. nearer 2000. Were actual differences in style to the overall "BBC News" feel and kinda felt special in some way or another. These days, not so much.
AARON
A random bunch of thoughts molded into person
DT
DTV Meridian (South) South Today
A version of the graphic for the winter schedules, going all the way back to the second flags era.

*

(* 2001 is estimated as I was unable to find any schedules from winter 2000/01. As the summer schedules were the same in 2000 and 2001, I've assumed the slots would shift in a similar way as later winters.)

Worth noting that the 0800 UKT slot is the only one to have remained unchanged, in both summer and winter schedules, across all these years.
Last edited by DTV on 25 October 2020 12:12pm

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