ITV schedulers go to war as BBC unveils its news at ten

The biggest ratings war in British television history is about to begin. BBC1 unveiled an aggressive, audience grabbing new schedule last night, beginning on Monday 16 October, with the main evening news at 10pm, dramas where news used to be, and comedy in the Panorama slot.

The biggest ratings war in British television history is about to begin. BBC1 unveiled an aggressive, audience grabbing new schedule last night, beginning on Monday 16 October, with the main evening news at 10pm, dramas where news used to be, and comedy in the Panorama slot.

The principal BBC casualty will be its current affairs flagship programme, Panorama, cast to the outer darkness of 10.15pm on a Sunday. It will be replaced by the Caroline Aherne comedy The Royle Family, at 9.30pm on Monday 16 October. On Friday 20 October viewers absent-minded enough to forget that the BBC has ended 30 years of news at 9pm will be greeted with the comedy quiz show Have I Got News For You, which is to transfer from BBC2.

From 16 October, the BBC's 10 o'clock news will be a regular feature, allowing BBC1 to schedule feature films through the evening. On the following Tuesday, for instance, it will run a television premier of the hit movie Men in Black.

The new schedule also includes the final series of One Foot in the Grave, new Robert Winston programmes about the human body, and a new series of The Scarlet Pimpernel, starring Richard E Grant.

ITV immediately retaliated by announcing two hour-long specials of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire for the first week of the new schedule, Coronation Street moving to 7.40pm, and special attractions, such as a documentary about the Queen, brought forward.

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