The 10 O'Clock Show

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The Independent Online

It Must be doubted that ITN can put Humpty back together again. Once the spell has been broken, national rituals can be hard to recreate. News at Ten was one of those shared experiences which already seems dated.

It Must be doubted that ITN can put Humpty back together again. Once the spell has been broken, national rituals can be hard to recreate. News at Ten was one of those shared experiences which already seems dated.

That said, ITV's decision to move its main evening bulletin was one of the most inept in recent scheduling history. It has been reversed under pressure from the commercial television watchdog, which said it broke the channel's public service commitment to news screened at times when normal people might see it. But the decision should never have been taken on commercial grounds: it has been an unmitigated ratings disaster for ITV.

That contains a heartening message to counter all the mongers of doom about the dumbing-down of the digital future (or even the Big Brother-ised present): there is still a demand for serious news reporting.

ITV's error was underlined when the BBC stepped in to announce that it would move its nine o'clock news to 10pm from next May. Now the BBC should have the courage of its convictions and grab the 10pm slot immediately. Thus it can fulfil its public service remit and win the ratings war at the same time

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