news, television


news, television
   In the UK, news scheduling defines each television station. The BBC have claimed the Nine O’Clock News slot, leaving ITV to broadcast News at Ten. Similarly, the BBC’s decision to broadcast half an hour of early evening national news at 6 pm (followed by local news), has led Channel 4 to schedule an hour of more in-depth news at 7 pm. BBC2 has continued to offer news discussion later in the evening and Newsnight has become one of its flagship programmes. Television stations are also defined by their newsreaders, who are considered national icons of British identity and authority: the BBC’s introduction of the first woman newsreader, Angela Rippon, in the 1970s was therefore in several senses a milestone. So too was the rise of Trevor MacDonald, a black newsreader who has become a figurehead for the preservation of ‘correct’ English, in the 1980s. Since the early 1980s, BBC and ITV have broadcast early morning news magazine programmes to rival Radio 4’s Today programme and the daily papers, which people have less time to read than in the days of family breakfasts. In the 1990s, the genre has been successfully spoofed in the award-winning Channel 4 series Drop the Dead Donkey.
   PETER CHILDS

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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