TV chief labels ITC 'mad' over news move

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The Independent Online

The head of Channel 5 yesterday labelled the television regulators "barking mad" as she reluctantly agreed to a new time for the network's main news bulletin.

Dawn Airey had wanted to move the evening news from 6pm to 5.30pm. But the Independent Television Commission (ITC) insisted there must be a bulletin in peak time.

Now Ms Airey has decided to have a bulletin at 5.30pm as well as at 7.30pm to obey the ITC's wishes. The new bulletins will begin on 16 July.

Ms Airey said yesterday: "If there's a full moon and an R in the month then the ITC will make a certain decision. This decision was barking mad.

"We believe there is a gap in the market at 5.30. The ITC took a year to reach the decision that we had to maintain our news in peak time.

"We are so convinced that our news will run better at 5.30 that we are going to do it anyway. Now we will have more news than any commercial station.

"The ITC are very prescriptive about what peak time is. People outside London tend to get home a bit earlier and they often have to wait until six for the news. But The ITC are the great and the good. They know better than me."