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Rich Tea565 posts since 16 Apr 2017 Recently warned
Anglia (West) Look East
I was going to mention that the Christmas lectures went off to commercial TV for a period, but chose to omit it. I'm a huge fan of BBC4 and only used the term "relegated" to mean the lesser audience it would get on there rather than BBC2. It suits BBC4 very well, but also deserves as good a potential audience as can be got I feel.

The EPG point was well made, although I have a 9 year old Panasonic Viera whose EPG has completely failed and only shows the current and next TV programme, as opposed to 7 days ahead as it once did. A widespread problem with these TV's apparently and no fix available from the manufacturer.
BillyH1,338 posts since 4 Jan 2003
London London
Since when did TOTP move to a late morning start? I've not seen it for many many years, but always associated it with being on immediately pre-Queenypoo (i.e. 2pm).

I'm surprised that the one festive episode each year is even still a thing, given that TOTP as a weekly series must've ended well over a decade ago.


I attended the filming of the 2016 Christmas/New Year Specials and it was rather odd. There were four(!) separate filming days where most acts performed two songs each - one for the Xmas show, one for New Year, with festive decorations removed for the latter performances. The audience were comprised of two groups - older/middle aged people who had been attending for years who tried their best to get at the front of each performance only to be constantly moved off camera by crew, and very glamorously-dressed teenage/twenty somethings, who between takes looked like they didn’t really want to be there at all (possibly recruited from some kind of TV extra/audience agency) who were pushed to the front of every shot whether they wanted it or not. As an unglamorous twenty something I fell somewhere in between, and spent the day pretending to enjoy hit singles from the likes of James Arthur (who was in a really grumpy mood and got very angry during one take when they slightly mispronounced the name of his song) and Anne-Marie. Many camera tricks were used to hide how empty the studio was from the small audience, including one bit where there was a shot change and we all had to run to another side of the stage to look like there was more of us.

It felt like the kind of thing I’d have enjoyed a lot more about a decade earlier, although the warmup man did try his absolute best to get the crowd going on a freezing cold December day.
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mr_vivian1,125 posts since 11 Oct 2015
UTV Newsline
Just on the subject of linear TV - What the BBC are finding is that shows such as Ru Paul's Drag Race was being streamed in huge demand on the dot of 8pm on its release which was a little surprising as they didn't think it would be as successful as they thought which is surprising in itself.

So live TV can work in an on demand world. Not good news for linear TV.

Christmas TV however has not been great in the past 20 years in my opinion.

I would just stuff the schedule with christmas movie marathons. Nothing worse than flicking the channels and watching stuff that's on pretty much every day.
Steve Williams2,880 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Yes I’m surprised to not see a teatime news bulletin on Christmas Day and the late one so late.


As recently as 1992, there were no news bulletins on either BBC1 or ITV before 5pm.

As they keep shifting it earlier and earlier, and the New Year version gets scheduled more and more randomly (middle of the afternoon on any old day approximately near to new year), I wonder why they keep making it, as they’ve already broken the tradition by not airing it at 2pm.


They broke the tradition a long time ago, aside from the 1990 Christmas show which was at 1.30, in the nineties they moved it earlier because the weekly show was on the slide - it was at 12.55 in 1995 and 12.50 in 1998, it didn't return to 2pm until about a decade ago. It does alright in the ratings for what it is, it pretty much always wins its slot and it has additional value in that they can recycle the performances on numerous occasions.

I was going to mention that the Christmas lectures went off to commercial TV for a period, but chose to omit it. I'm a huge fan of BBC4 and only used the term "relegated" to mean the lesser audience it would get on there rather than BBC2. It suits BBC4 very well, but also deserves as good a potential audience as can be got I feel.


Primetime on BBC4 is probably a better slot than daytime on BBC2, where they used to shuffle around all over the place. I've just looked at a random year in Genome and at Christmas 1987 they didn't even start until 4th January, and were shown at 4.30 opposite CBBC - https://www.bbcgenome.co.uk/schedules/bbctwo/england/1988-01-04#at-16.30

40 years a go, Christmas Day looked slightly better on the two main channels available.

Yes I know, rose tinted glasses, but put these schedules up against BBC and ITV now in 2019 and compare.

BBC One:

2.00pm Top of the Pops
3.00pm The Queen
3.20pm Larry Grayson's Christmas Generation Game
4.20pm The network television premiere of Gnome Mobile
5.45pm News
5.50pm Blankety Blank Christmas Special
6.30pm All Creatures Great and Small
7.20pm The Mike Yarwood Christmas Show
8.00pm To The Manor Born Christmas Special
8.30pm The network television premiere of The Sting
10.35pm News
10.45pm until 12.05am Parkinson at Christmas.


I am comparing them, and I can't tell the difference. Michael McIntyre and Strictly is the equivalent of the Gen Game and Blankety Blank, Gavin and Stacey is the equivalent of To The Manor Born, Call The Midwife the equivalent of All Creatures. You can argue that the older programmes were better, but I really think Strictly is an excellent programme, as good as anything we had in the seventies in terms of its production values, and in terms of the audience they pull in equivalent figures in real terms. Finding Dory is a much better film than The Gnome Mobile ever was, and you don't have a film in the evening but that means BBC1 is entirely new and British from 4.40 to 11.15.

And of course the Gen Game had been on every Christmas Day since 1971 and Mike Yarwood's first Christmas Day show had been in 1973, so they were equally familiar Christmas Day staples. And in addition, there had been dozens of episodes of the Gen Game and Blankety Blank during 1979. Christmas Day on BBC1 was special editions of their most popular shows in 1979, and it's exactly the same in 2019.
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Gluben571 posts since 15 Jan 2004
Anglia (East) Look East
I know I'm being a grump about schedules and I know that we can never return to the heyday of the 1970s, three-channel TV, no DVDs, streaming or Internet and so forth, but I think what gets me the most is the use of the word "special".

If you look at the last few Christmas Day schedules, it is largely exactly the same copy-and-paste template of Strictly, Call the Midwife, Michael McIntyre, EastEnders, Mrs Brown's Boys. With some of these, especially that last one, they can't be special since there's been no series for several years, and after a few years of this, it's no longer special any more. At least with Doctor Who, I must admit I'm glad that it's not on Christmas Day any more as they'd gone as far with the concept as it could possibly go, and the specials were getting increasingly tired to me.

Gavin and Stacey is the only real draw for people (not that I'm a fan), and even then, it's yet another sitcom revival of a show that ended ages ago. That sort of thing started with Only Fools and Horses in 2001 and continued since then. If it were still airing, i.e. had a full series this year, it might be more special, but they never are any more because the BBC's comedy output has been steadily in decline in terms of big hit sitcoms and sketch shows. The last one, Miranda (also not a fan), wasn't even shown on the big day, and in fact a lot of good stuff recently ends up either side (Paddington 2, for example, is on Boxing Day but I thought that would be far better on Christmas Day).

It's all very well saying that there are no repeats, but I think our standards have dropped very, very low these days in terms of quality. Budget is, of course, a concern when compared to Netflix, Amazon and so on and, unfortunately, without trying to use the clichéd "We don't have the telly on" or "Netflix for us then", I'm afraid our family have grown further away from the usual channels. It doesn't help when the BBC continually claim a ratings success with nonsensical sentences like "The nation chose BBC1 for Christmas" when less than 10m people watched a big show and, even if they did, it doesn't mean they all liked it.

As previously mentioned, ITV of course has never really tried properly since 1999, and even then the BBC got their own back with the marathon broadcast of 2000 Today. And why would they bother when the advertising revenue simply doesn't exist, and when they don't have any decent shows any more apart from soaps and cheap to make quizzes? It makes the BBC's "victory" even more hollow, especially when the most viewed event tends to now be the Queen's Speech across both channels anyway.

But ultimately, does any of it matter any more? Not really. It's all pomp and circumstance and I think this generation has moved on from the Christmasses of old in terms of enjoying the day as a tight family unit. Who really cares about ratings? Christmas is just another event in the never-ending corporate cycle where Easter eggs go on sale on New Year's Day and the big companies just look ahead to the next tick box in their marketing schedule.

Sorry, I've bored myself and likely whoever reads this by going off on tangents. Apologies.
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Technologist83 posts since 10 Oct 2018
London London




Looking at the way they have presented the day's line up in that above tweet reminds me that the BBC, and ITV for that matter, no longer show a full evening schedule like that on screen anymore, with a continuity read through, like they used to do every single day. It seems to have been a very long time since they have done so. I rather think they should bring back that aspect of schedule presentation.


As the BBC only has two minutes an hour of interstitial ...
there is not time to read menu captions
( I know that the 1900 junction is between live programnes during the week so a bit more flexible.... but the one show always starts before billed time)
In the olden days with indeterminent length programmes there was always time to do it ...
And as others have said a single button press tells you all...
Better than "text" " 601" and a few"red" !
Markymark7,333 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
That’s 27 years ago, so not really a valid point.


But that was an era when the Beeb didn't have a news channel, so the news bulletins were of substantially more importance.


Yea but, no but, yea but... haven't we established previously that The News Channel generally has tiny audiences (and probably on Christmas Day, close to zero) so that's not really relevant ?