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David Elstein, director of programming at Thames until last week, now head of programming at BSkyB, comments on Carlton Television, which won Thames's franchise:

'It looks fairly smooth and efficient: they're enjoying the benefit of many good Thames programmes. It is professional on air, a bit disappointing with its network programming, and its local programmes leave a lot to be desired.

'Of the networked shows, I found The Good Sex Guide cheerful and well-made, and Margi Clarke is good, though given Carlton's posturing, it's not surprising one of their first major shows should be about penis size. Storyline is perfectly acceptable technically but very low-key with its editorial ambitions. And Dave Allen doesn't look any different to the old Dave Allen, apart from the fact that it doesn't have sketches; Carlton aren't in the business of ground-breaking, but this is extraordinarily unambitious.

'So far their local programmes leave a lot of room for improvement. London Tonight is rather dispiriting in its emphasis on crime and scare stories and it seems to have abolished local politics. Big City has a long way to go before it's in the same league as 01, which is what it is replacing. Of Capital Woman, the less said the better. The first edition was just embarrassing, demeaning; I don't know how a programme like that can go on air. And A Day in the Life - if that's current affairs then, as Ian Hislop said, I'm a banana. It's replacing Thames Report and you can't begin to compare them; it's like comparing Whicker's World to Panorama.

'However, I wish Carlton lots of luck. I hope the programmes improve and I hope the audience enjoys them.'

(Photograph omitted)

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