The Andrew Neil Show will disappear from BBC schedules as part of the company’s press cuttings.
The political discussion program had already been interrupted during the Covid-19 crisis and will not return. But the BBC said it was talking to Neil about a new interview show on BBC One.
A total of 520 jobs will be lost, out of a workforce of around 6,000 people.
This includes 450 layoffs announced as part of a £ 80 million savings campaign in January and then suspended.
Meanwhile, The Guardian has announced that it will cut 180 jobs, including 70 in editorial staff.
What other BBC programs will be affected?
Most of the changes will take place behind the scenes.
Company news director Fran Unsworth said the BBC would focus on fewer articles, with journalists grouped into centralized teams, rather than working for specific programs.
The BBC News Channel and BBC World will continue to share part of the production in the morning and evening, as they did during the Covid-19 crisis, although they will remain separate channels.
Radio 4 In Business will be closed, as will the Business Live page on the BBC News website, while business news on BBC News will be cut.
On BBC World Service, World Update and The World This Week will end, while the daily Newsday news will get shorter.
The BBC also said it would close most of its social accounts to focus on essential services such as @bbcnews, @bbcworld and @bbcbreaking.
One of Neil’s old programs, the noon television program Politics Live, will return four days a week after being rested during the pandemic.
More than 100 MPs and peers have recently written to the BBC, arguing that removing it permanently “would seriously affect the BBC’s ability to monitor and explain” the policy.
How will the BBC cover the stories?
The BBC says there will be fewer journalists overall, but that a new commissioning system (which was partially implemented during the Covid-19 crisis) will ensure better coordination of coverage.
Other interviews will be conducted by Skype, Zoom and other video technologies, which means there is less dependence on satellite trucks and radio cars.
A new original journalism team will also be created, including several staff from the Victoria Derbyshire show, to pursue underreported and exclusive stories. More emphasis will also be placed on digital storytelling.
Unsworth said that Covid-19 had “changed our whole lives” and “led us to reassess exactly how we operate as an organization.”
She said: “Our operation was supported by the principles we laid out earlier this year – fewer stories, more focused and with more impact. For BBC News to grow and continue to serve all of our audiences, we must change. ”
Why are the cuts made?
The BBC announced in 2016 that it had to save £ 800 million, of which about £ 80 million came from News.
Just over £ 40 million – about half the savings needed – have been found in the past four years.
In January, the company announced plans to close 450 jobs, as well as programs like the popular BBC Two Victoria Derbyshire show.
The cuts were then postponed, the newsroom being faced with the demands of covering the coronavirus pandemic.
At the same time, the BBC delayed its decision to end free television licenses for those over 75 years of age. This contributed to a new budget deficit, which means that the number of job cuts proposed in the news increased by 70 positions.
A separate decision to cut 450 jobs from regional BBC newsrooms was announced earlier this month.
What sequel for Andrew Neil?
Neil has been one of the BBC’s best political broadcasters for the past two decades on shows like This Week and Daily Politics.
The Andrew Neil Show started in the fall of 2019 in the run-up to the general elections and the UK’s departure from the European Union. It included interviews with most party leaders, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not show up – which led the host to controversially issue an ultimatum on the air.
Announcing the latest cuts, the BBC said: “We remain committed to in-depth interviews with Andrew Neil (as well as the Budget, the US elections and other specials).
“The Andrew Neil Show will not be coming back, but we are talking about a new series of interviews on BBC One. ”
Neil had previously told the Radio Times that he feared he would become “in excess of need” while the BBC was cutting.
Today we have new details about the radical experience announced by BBC News in January.
Two big things have changed because of the coronavirus. This increased the financial pressure from the BBC and showed that another way of working is possible. Both help explain the increase in probable layoffs.
The fact that Politics Live returns four days a week will appease Westminster a great deal – but the loss of The Andrew Neil Show will have the opposite effect. The show was originally commissioned because of Tony Hall’s intervention, but he left his post as general manager in September.
The BBC says that in-depth interviews with Neil are still the key to his coverage, and they would like to find a place on BBC One for these interviews.
There is no one correct way to conduct interviews. The right approach depends on the interviewer, the interviewee and the context.
But in a particular style – legal and relentless examination and questioning of those in power – Neil is the best in the business.
His talks with the BBC are far from resolved. Two new proposals have failed. He will no longer be doing Politics Live – but has been approached by other broadcasters.
What is the reaction?
Broadcasting union Bectu has said it will hold the BBC management to account and avoid compulsory layoffs.
“BBC News is one of the most trusted brands at home and abroad. In an age of fake news and an unprecedented health crisis, this trust in a public service broadcaster is essential, “said Philippa Childs, director of Bectu.
“The government must take responsibility for the free license fees for those over 75, by providing valuable resources that would allow BBC News to continue to deliver its world-leading news broadcast lineup.” “
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