Vaughan and Van Outen reunited by BBC to raise Saturday ratings

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The Independent Online

Johnny Vaughan and Denise van Outen have been reunited by BBC1 in an attempt to win the Saturday night ratings battle with ITV1.

The new role for the former breakfast television presenters forms part of a strategy by the controller of BBC1, Lorraine Heggessey, to pack the schedule with proven talent.

Indeed, some of the summer programming for Saturday nights will seem so familiar to viewers that they may feel they have gone back in time.

Dr Who will make its return after 15 years and Bruce Forsyth will become a Saturday night regular once again, 33 years after he first presented The Generation Game. Forsyth will be hosting a celebrity ballroom show, Strictly Come Dancing, which is based on the classic format that first appeared on British television in 1949.

Ms Heggessey defended the schedule against accusations that it lacked originality. She said: "There is never anything completely new. People take some existing ideas and borrow on them and give them a new twist."

Vaughan and Van Outen will be together again for the first time since they presented The Big Breakfast on Channel 4. Their new show will be watched by a live audience and is expected to have similarities with the former Saturday night staple Noel's House Party.

"Johnny and Denise are a fantastic double act and are loved from their days on The Big Breakfast," said Ms Heggessey. "There are lots of strands in Johnny and Denise that have never been seen before."

Ms Heggessey said that Forsyth, whose show is planned for a Saturday night slot, was "spot on" for this particular type of programme.

She said: "Bruce is a great dancer. He is right for that format. He is a great entertainer, as we saw when he was a guest presenter on Have I Got News for You."