BBC news moved to 10pm

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The Independent Online

BBC1's main evening news bulletin is to move from 9pm to 10pm from October 16 as part the of new autumn schedule, the corporation announced today.

BBC1's main evening news bulletin is to move from 9pm to 10pm from October 16 as part the of new autumn schedule, the corporation announced today.

The move has attracted criticism from politicians who say the corporation can only lose from trying to go head-to-head against its commercial rival.

The BBC has confirmed it is to move its flagship Nine O'Clock news bulletin to 10pm from 16 October following an announcement made by Director General Greg Dyke at the Edinburgh Television Festival in August stating that the corporation intended to move the programme.

The move attracted controversy then and was thought to have been ruled out after ITV, which had rescheduled its popular 10pm bulletin to 11pm, was ordered by the regulators to move it back.

Culture secretary Chris Smith was among those who urged the BBC to rethink its decision, saying a head to head clash would not be in viewers' interests.

But BBC governors are believed to have unanimously backed the move regardless despite fears it represents a downgrading of the status of news and current affairs within the corporation.

The corporation announced via its website that the flagship current affairs programme Panorama is to move to Sunday nights, following the rescheduled news bulletin, and will last for 40 minutes. It stressed that this would give nearly an hour of News and Current Affairs on Sundays on BBC One.

Sir Christopher Bland, the corporation chairman, said the move showed the BBC remained committed to the provision of national and international news and was increasing its coverage.

As news of the announcement broke it attracted criticism from senior Tory MPs attending their party conference.

Lord Tebbit, a frequent critic of political bias within the corporation, said: "It is a silly decision. The BBC suffers very badly from this policy of copmeting with the commercial stations.

"The BBC risks losing support for the licence system."

Sir Norman Fowler added: "If there are two sets of news at 10pm then something has tgot to give. The BBC is downgrading the news inside its organisation and that is bad news when they do it so well.

"I just cannot understand why they are doing it".

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