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The Sky at Night faces BBC axe



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 27th 13, 09:14 AM posted to uk.sci.astronomy
N_Cook
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 86
Default The Sky at Night faces BBC axe

http://www.theguardian.com/media/201...xe?INTCMP=SRCH


The Sky at Night faces BBC axe

BBC to review future of astronomy show – first broadcast in 1957 – less
than a year after the death of Sir Patrick Moore

One of the BBC's longest-running TV shows, The Sky at Night, faces the
axe less than a year after the death of the man who made it famous, Sir
Patrick Moore.

The future of the series, which first aired in 1957, will be reviewed at
the end of the year, prompting an angry protest from fans on Twitter and
an online petition that had attracted more than 2,000 signatures by
Tuesday morning.

The Sky at Night is now presented by cosmologists Lucie Green and Chris
Lintott following Moore's death in December last year, aged 89. It now
airs once a month, in a late-night slot on BBC1 and later on BBC4.

Moore presented a total of 721 episodes, only ever missing one
broadcast, in July 2004, after he suffered food poisoning.

A BBC spokesman said: "Sky at Night is on air until the end of the year.
Plans for subsequent series are being discussed."

As well as looking into space, discussing everything from comets to
quasars, the show covered the 1999 solar eclipse and the Apollo moon
landings of 1969. It has featured interviews with Neil Armstrong, Buzz
Aldrin, and author Arthur C Clarke.

The last episode, which looked at black holes, was watched by 202,000
viewers on BBC4, a 1% share of the audience. Although small compared to
the audiences who watch peak-time programmes on BBC1 and ITV, it is a
not insubstantial audience for BBC4.

Next month's programme will feature a "Moore moon marathon" and will be
filmed on 18 October, the night of the penumbral eclipse.

Disgruntled viewers took to Twitter and an online petition, where one
unhappy fan, Alan Fleming, wrote: "An absolute disgrace to axe this
show. I have been watching this since the 1970s. I am not a minority
market, I don't even own a telescope but as many others have mentioned
here, it is the education and entertainment of this show which is
important."

Another, John Hunt, said: "The Sky at Night inspired me as a child to
become a scientist, now I'm a university professor who regards [it] as a
vital part of science out-reach and public education."

Astronomy shows have been a big hit for BBC2 in recent years, with
Stargazing Live presented by Professor Brian Cox, one of the BBC's
biggest stars, and Dara O Briain, which was credited with generating a
boom in interest in astronomy.

The Sky at Night is one of the BBC's longest running TV shows, its
longevity eclipsed by current affairs show Panorama, which began four
years earlier, in 1953.

Public science talks / Southampton
http://www.divdev.fsnet.co.uk/scicaf.htm
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  #2  
Old September 27th 13, 12:50 PM posted to uk.sci.astronomy
James Harris[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default The Sky at Night faces BBC axe

"N_Cook" wrote in message
...
http://www.theguardian.com/media/201...xe?INTCMP=SRCH


The Sky at Night faces BBC axe


Wow - that's a surprise.

BBC to review future of astronomy show – first broadcast in 1957 – less
than a year after the death of Sir Patrick Moore

One of the BBC's longest-running TV shows, The Sky at Night, faces the axe
less than a year after the death of the man who made it famous, Sir
Patrick Moore.

The future of the series, which first aired in 1957, will be reviewed at
the end of the year, prompting an angry protest from fans on Twitter and
an online petition that had attracted more than 2,000 signatures by
Tuesday morning.

The Sky at Night is now presented by cosmologists Lucie Green and Chris
Lintott following Moore's death in December last year, aged 89. It now
airs once a month, in a late-night slot on BBC1 and later on BBC4.

Moore presented a total of 721 episodes, only ever missing one broadcast,
in July 2004, after he suffered food poisoning.

A BBC spokesman said: "Sky at Night is on air until the end of the year.
Plans for subsequent series are being discussed."

As well as looking into space, discussing everything from comets to
quasars, the show covered the 1999 solar eclipse and the Apollo moon
landings of 1969. It has featured interviews with Neil Armstrong, Buzz
Aldrin, and author Arthur C Clarke.

The last episode, which looked at black holes, was watched by 202,000
viewers on BBC4, a 1% share of the audience. Although small compared to
the audiences who watch peak-time programmes on BBC1 and ITV, it is a not
insubstantial audience for BBC4.


In that case I wonder why they are thinking of cancelling it.

It would be interesting to see the audience figures for each episode over
the last couple of decades but I cannot find them.

I've never thought of TSAN as a large-audience programme. It has always been
for a specialised interest group. But nor would I have thought it should
cost a lot to make. It ought to cost a lot less than Stargazing Live, for
example.

If it is a cost issue they could reduce the number of presenters. About half
or even a quarter of the current set would be enough. In fact, even without
the issue of cost I think the programme would be better with just *one*
presenter but augmented with a few filmed reports and discussions with
expert interviewees.

Some of the expert interviewees could be UK graduate and undergraduate
students. As well as being able to present some detailed issues it would be
a chance for the students to raise their own profiles within the UK
astronomy fraternity. A win-win.

Next month's programme will feature a "Moore moon marathon" and will be
filmed on 18 October, the night of the penumbral eclipse.

Disgruntled viewers took to Twitter and an online petition, where one
unhappy fan, Alan Fleming, wrote: "An absolute disgrace to axe this show.
I have been watching this since the 1970s. I am not a minority market, I
don't even own a telescope but as many others have mentioned here, it is
the education and entertainment of this show which is important."

Another, John Hunt, said: "The Sky at Night inspired me as a child to
become a scientist, now I'm a university professor who regards [it] as a
vital part of science out-reach and public education."

Astronomy shows have been a big hit for BBC2 in recent years, with
Stargazing Live presented by Professor Brian Cox, one of the BBC's biggest
stars, and Dara O Briain, which was credited with generating a boom in
interest in astronomy.


"...one of the BBC's biggest stars..." At the risk of dumbing down my reply
to the level the BBC increasingly seem to expect of their audiences, Yuck!

If Patrick was still presenter it would be a travesty to cancel the show -
not for sentimental reasons but because he dealt with some real issues. The
show used to educate and inform. See Our Mission in

http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/ins...on_and_values/

The new dumbed-down format is not terrible but there's less to separate it
from things like Stargazing Live which has a more popular time slot and
appeals to novices (but will be of less interest to those who have an
existing interest in the topic).

I cannot see why the BBC cannot return The Sky at Night to the informative
programme it used to be if they made the right production decisions. If they
did, cancelling it would be wrong, in my opinion. Sadly, in its present form
I have to say I am ambivalent. The show used to make astronomy interesting
by actually informing the audience. Now it seems markedly less informative
and less educational.

James


  #3  
Old September 27th 13, 04:42 PM posted to uk.sci.astronomy
N_Cook
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 86
Default The Sky at Night faces BBC axe

On 27/09/2013 12:50, James Harris wrote:
"N_Cook" wrote in message
...
http://www.theguardian.com/media/201...xe?INTCMP=SRCH


The Sky at Night faces BBC axe


Wow - that's a surprise.

BBC to review future of astronomy show – first broadcast in 1957 – less
than a year after the death of Sir Patrick Moore

One of the BBC's longest-running TV shows, The Sky at Night, faces the axe
less than a year after the death of the man who made it famous, Sir
Patrick Moore.

The future of the series, which first aired in 1957, will be reviewed at
the end of the year, prompting an angry protest from fans on Twitter and
an online petition that had attracted more than 2,000 signatures by
Tuesday morning.

The Sky at Night is now presented by cosmologists Lucie Green and Chris
Lintott following Moore's death in December last year, aged 89. It now
airs once a month, in a late-night slot on BBC1 and later on BBC4.

Moore presented a total of 721 episodes, only ever missing one broadcast,
in July 2004, after he suffered food poisoning.

A BBC spokesman said: "Sky at Night is on air until the end of the year.
Plans for subsequent series are being discussed."

As well as looking into space, discussing everything from comets to
quasars, the show covered the 1999 solar eclipse and the Apollo moon
landings of 1969. It has featured interviews with Neil Armstrong, Buzz
Aldrin, and author Arthur C Clarke.

The last episode, which looked at black holes, was watched by 202,000
viewers on BBC4, a 1% share of the audience. Although small compared to
the audiences who watch peak-time programmes on BBC1 and ITV, it is a not
insubstantial audience for BBC4.


In that case I wonder why they are thinking of cancelling it.

It would be interesting to see the audience figures for each episode over
the last couple of decades but I cannot find them.

I've never thought of TSAN as a large-audience programme. It has always been
for a specialised interest group. But nor would I have thought it should
cost a lot to make. It ought to cost a lot less than Stargazing Live, for
example.

If it is a cost issue they could reduce the number of presenters. About half
or even a quarter of the current set would be enough. In fact, even without
the issue of cost I think the programme would be better with just *one*
presenter but augmented with a few filmed reports and discussions with
expert interviewees.

Some of the expert interviewees could be UK graduate and undergraduate
students. As well as being able to present some detailed issues it would be
a chance for the students to raise their own profiles within the UK
astronomy fraternity. A win-win.

Next month's programme will feature a "Moore moon marathon" and will be
filmed on 18 October, the night of the penumbral eclipse.

Disgruntled viewers took to Twitter and an online petition, where one
unhappy fan, Alan Fleming, wrote: "An absolute disgrace to axe this show.
I have been watching this since the 1970s. I am not a minority market, I
don't even own a telescope but as many others have mentioned here, it is
the education and entertainment of this show which is important."

Another, John Hunt, said: "The Sky at Night inspired me as a child to
become a scientist, now I'm a university professor who regards [it] as a
vital part of science out-reach and public education."

Astronomy shows have been a big hit for BBC2 in recent years, with
Stargazing Live presented by Professor Brian Cox, one of the BBC's biggest
stars, and Dara O Briain, which was credited with generating a boom in
interest in astronomy.


"...one of the BBC's biggest stars..." At the risk of dumbing down my reply
to the level the BBC increasingly seem to expect of their audiences, Yuck!

If Patrick was still presenter it would be a travesty to cancel the show -
not for sentimental reasons but because he dealt with some real issues. The
show used to educate and inform. See Our Mission in

http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/ins...on_and_values/

The new dumbed-down format is not terrible but there's less to separate it
from things like Stargazing Live which has a more popular time slot and
appeals to novices (but will be of less interest to those who have an
existing interest in the topic).

I cannot see why the BBC cannot return The Sky at Night to the informative
programme it used to be if they made the right production decisions. If they
did, cancelling it would be wrong, in my opinion. Sadly, in its present form
I have to say I am ambivalent. The show used to make astronomy interesting
by actually informing the audience. Now it seems markedly less informative
and less educational.

James



I would compare it schedule-wise with BBC click, also buried in the
witching hours until recently. For its first 8 or so years of
broadcasting I was unaware of its existance. Having followed Tomorrow's
World until its demise, I assume "Click" must have started when TW
ceased, with no fanfare or at least any trails passed me by
 




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