BBC races to launch own 'News at 10'

Greg Dyke has decided to bring his plans for the BBC to air a 10pm news broadcast ahead by six months in a move which could affect coverage of the next general election.

Greg Dyke has decided to bring his plans for the BBC to air a 10pm news broadcast ahead by six months in a move which could affect coverage of the next general election.

Previously, the director-general had intended to launch the service in September, but he is now looking at May, considered the most likely month for voters to return to the polls.

The move would clash with ITV's plan to revive News at Ten in January, after the outcry over its failed experiment with an 11pm bulletin.

Leading politicians are concerned that such a direct contest would lead to a drop in standards. Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, who is trying to dissuade Mr Dyke from his plans, is "worried," according to friends, that if the two news programmes are scheduled at the same time, "they will start competing against each other and going down market in the competition for ratings. There would be a danger of the BBC leading the news on Big Brother rather than Kosovo".

Mr Smith cannot order Mr Dyke to drop his plans - that power rests with the BBC governors. But his friends told the Independent on Sunday that he is "deeply concerned" that the BBC would deprive audiences of the choice of when they watch the late news, and he regards that as a "serious democratic loss".

Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Opposition Leader, William Hague, are said to agree. The cross-party criticism is the only co-ordinated political attack on a specific BBC policy in recent history and many believe Mr Dyke will be forced to back down.

Mr Smith has told friends that he is worried that Britain is becoming more like America, where news bulletins are broadcast simultaneously on different channels - and news audiences are in rapid decline.

He will raise the issue in a meeting with Mr Dyke in two weeks time. He is, say friends, very keen that there should be no direct political pressure on Mr Dyke - and is counting on the BBC governors to force the director-general to reverse his decision. The issue will come up at a governors meeting in three weeks' time.

But Mr Dyke showed no sign of changing his position, a BBC spokeswoman said. Research shows there would be no significant reduction in news audiences if the BBC news moved to 10pm, she said.

Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have attacked the BBC policy. Peter Ainsworth, the Tory culture spokesman, will meet Mr Dyke this week to try to persuade him to change his decision. "The BBC is clearly in the wrong," he said.

* The Government is to draw up plans to regulate new technologies - such as TiVo, launched last week - which allow viewers to create their own virtual television channels by taping programmes from all over the spectrum and putting them together into a package.

Ministers fear the development could lead to further "dumbing down" and the death of public service broadcasting. They intend to include proposals in the Communications White Paper, due out at the end of November.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Brand Marketing Manager - Essex - £45,000 + £5000 car allowance

£40000 - £45000 per annum + car allowance: Ashdown Group: Senior Brand Manager...

Guru Careers: .NET Developer /.NET Software Developer

£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer /.NET Software ...

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing Exec (SEO / PPC)

£18 - 24k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing...

Guru Careers: Technical Operations Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Technical Ope...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?