Beeb Slims Down for Coronavirus

It’s all change at the BBC as new hardline Covid-19 policy sweeps across the organisation. From today, BBC News has retreated to become a ‘core news’ service. PoliticsLive‘s socially distanced edition yesterday seemed to not go down well, as from today the show has been taken off air. The Andrew Neil Show, HARDtalk, Newswatch, and The Travel Show have also been suspended…

The new core service model is from today replacing some programmes on BBC Two, including Victoria Derbyshire and Politics Live, the teams of which will switch to working to “support the core operation”. Newsnight and The Andrew Marr Show have survived the cull, however, will be operating with a reduced team. Last night’s Newsnight saw guests wearing their BBC lanyards, having had to put on their microphones themselves…

Employees working at the Beeb have been told to keep an empty desk between each other, while many others are working from home. Media Guido will be watching with interest to see how much content the BBC can still pump out with a less bloated workforce…

mdi-timer March 18 2020 @ 10:08 18 Mar 2020 @ 10:08 mdi-comment View Comments
BBC Considering Scrapping Audience for Question Time

Guido hears the Beeb are considering nuclear options to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, including scrapping the Question Time audience. TV channels in both Ireland and the Netherlands have begun running programmes without their usual live audiences…

A BBC spokesperson tells Guido they’re “keeping the situation with our audience-based programmes under review. While the current government advice doesn’t necessarily prevent such programmes taking place, this is a rapidly evolving situation and we take seriously our duty of care to audiences, panellists and our staff.” Who says all the Coronavirus news is negative…

UPDATE: Friday’s edition of Question Time sister programme Any Questions was done as a phone in from Broadcasting House without a live audience instead of its planned trip to the Shetland Islands.

UPDATE II: BBC confirms Guido’s scoop; Question Time is going ahead without the audience

mdi-timer March 17 2020 @ 15:45 17 Mar 2020 @ 15:45 mdi-comment View Comments
New Look Socially Distanced Politics Live

PoliticsLive is following the Government’s social distancing advice, with fewer guests and big spaces between them. This is life now…

mdi-timer March 17 2020 @ 12:27 17 Mar 2020 @ 12:27 mdi-comment View Comments
Welsh Government to Live Stream Press Briefings

Live, on the record press briefings are suddenly all the rage. Today marks the first in a series of daily Coronavirus Briefings broadcast live from Downing Street from 16:45. This week also kicks off new open briefings from the Welsh Government, as is the case with so many other governments around the world, the Welsh will hold, open and transparent briefings:

“Each week, press office will host a briefing sessions for the press and the media with a Welsh Government Minister, who will talk about our top stories that week, and answer questions.

The sessions will be on camera, and on the record. You are invited to bring a photographer/camera.”

One briefing, however, remains stubbornly behind closed doors. When will Number 10 finally #StreamTheBriefings..?

mdi-timer March 16 2020 @ 16:09 16 Mar 2020 @ 16:09 mdi-comment View Comments
Cain Calls for Ceasefire in War with Lobby

There was an odd mood in this morning’s No. 10 briefing awaiting Guido, with a much-depleted turnout. A conference call had been set up to allow Lobby correspondents to dial into the briefing, with around 19 choosing to do so. There’s a simple solution to Coronavirus forcing members of the Lobby into self-isolation: televise the briefings…

Entirely uniquely, however, was a pre-briefing talk given by Lee Cain, who formally called for a pause to the fractured relations between the Government and media that have arisen since January. Boris’s Director of Communications told attendees that this is an “unprecedented time” and “a difficult period for us all”, saying that the Government wants to “wipe the slate clean” and it “doesn’t matter who you work for/where you are on the political spectrum, praising the media for their responsible reporting of the virus.

Cain also said further conversations are needed, suggesting that No. 10 may ask a single representative from the Lobby to visit and chat with him and the PM’s spokesman on a semi-regular basis to “talk about how things may be done better, what is working” etc. There were lots of approvingly nodding heads…

Separate to the frank and seemingly friendly chat, Cain also indicated No. 10 are wanting to reduce footfall through the heart of Government to reduce the chance of Coronavirus spreading inside Downing Street. This may also mean the newly-instituted daily Coronavirus briefings see limited attendance from news outlets, with the Government having to look at the press being able to phone in questions. Guido notes the daily press briefings will be detailed, frank and televised – all without the sky falling in…

mdi-timer March 16 2020 @ 12:48 16 Mar 2020 @ 12:48 mdi-comment View Comments
Sunday Times Swaps Hacks With Daily Mail

There’s big churn over at the Daily Mail following Jack Doyle’s appointment as No. 10’s new press secretary. Earlier this week it emerged the News Editor Ben Taylor is also leaving, being poached by the Sunday Times as deputy editor.

Guido hears word that Caroline Wheeler, Deputy Political Editor of The Sunday Times, is the hot front runner to fill the Daily Mail’s associate political editor vacancy created by Jack Doyle’s transfer Downing Street. Geordie Grieg will be pleased to nick a hack back from the Sunday Times. Guido understands the contract has not yet been signed…

UPDATE:  Sunday Times source gets in touch to say “Caroline is not leaving”. Guido understands that following negotiations the drinks are on Caroline…

mdi-timer March 13 2020 @ 14:50 13 Mar 2020 @ 14:50 mdi-comment View Comments
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