The BBC’s flagship arts programme The Review Show, which was controversially moved from its weekly slot on BBC Two to BBC Four, has lost 80 per cent of its audience following the move.
Last night’s episode on BBC Four, the first to be aired on the digital channel, attracted just 76,000 viewers according to overnight figures.
Figures are considerably down from the average of 376,000 viewers who watched the show in its previous format on BBC Two.
The Review Show had been a weekly late night half-hour show, but is now an hour-long programme which goes out monthly on BBC Four at 8pm.
The programme, which has been on air in different formats for more than 20 years, is still presented by Martha Kearney and Kirsty Wark and features a panel of commentators discussing the latest cultural events.
The move has sparked accusations of ‘dumbing down’ by the BBC.
Announcing the move in February BBC Four controller Richard Klein said: "The range of topics will be, I think, broader but also we'll do what the Review Show does on BBC Two but in a number of different ways hopefully to expand audiences."
A statement released by the BBC today gave viewing figures for other key arts programmes and made the point that the The Review Show "is just one of several new programmes introduced on BBC Four as part of the channel’s renewed commitment to topical arts coverage."
It added: "Others have included A Night at the Rijksmuseum (528,000), Bolsover Castle with Lucy Worsley: Secret Knowledge (779,000) and What Do Artists Do All Day? - Norman Ackroyd (401,000). It can take time for a programme to bed in to a new slot on a new channel, as audiences need to become familiar with the changes.”
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