BBC pulls plug on Noel's House Party cancelled

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The Independent Online
Mystery surrounded the cancellation of the BBC's flagship entertainment show Noel's House Party yesterday when the plug was pulled on this evening's show just 24 hours before it was to be broadcast.

The BBC would only say it was "due to circumstances beyond our control".

Television industry rumours immediately started to circulate that the programme had been cancelled after a dispute between Mr Edmonds and the BBC over the format and production of the show.

The BBC even refused to comment on whether the high-rating show would be back next week or ever again.

Edmonds was not available for comment. Inquiries were referred back to the BBC.

Edmonds owns the format of the programme and is said to have full control. In November, he stepped in to replace the producer.

He was quoted as saying: "By my standards, the show was not as good as it should have been."

A source close to Edmonds said last night: "Noel is fine - he has not been sacked."

The BBC will repeat The Best of Noel's House Party instead. Tonight's programme had already been promoted along with the rest of the evening's schedule.

Edmonds is one of the BBC's most popular personalities and figured heavily in its Christmas schedule. His House Party regularly tops 10 million viewers and is one of the BBC's few shows that can compete with Cilla Black's Blind Date on ITV. Combined with Casualty, Noel's House Party has regularly helped the BBC to win the battle for audience share on Saturday nights.

If the show is gone for good, it will blow a major hole in its programming schedule and would make a tempting format for ITV.