Broadcasting chiefs have announced that long-running television show The News is to be cancelled, with the final episode airing in the new year. Once seen as one of Britain’s favourite programs, generating ratings of over thirty million, The News has recently suffered from feeble viewing figures and a plummeting audience appreciation index.
Bill Sheard, a former producer on the show, lays the blame squarely at the feet of the series’ writers, citing their inability to come up with innovative and exciting storylines as the reason for the show’s decline. ‘They’re just recycling the same old material – look at one of the current sub-plots: British forces muscle in on some Middle-Eastern country to help set up a democratic government, which turns out to be just as corrupt as the previous one. Geez, I’ve never heard that one before!’
Despite vociferous protests from hard-core fans of the Current Affairs genre, most viewers have expressed support for the series’ cancellation, with many admitting that they stopped watching it months ago. ‘It’s like watching Lost all over again,’ wrote one former ‘Newsie’ in the Radio Times letters page, ‘It started off quite quirky and interesting but now it’s just a tedious hodge-podge of confusing plot strands: parliamentary expense scandals and political infighting? Yawn!’
‘It’s been just so depressing recently,’ wrote another viewer. ‘Wars, famine, accelerating ecological disaster – it’s like watching a Christmas episode of Eastenders.’ Others have criticised program makers for introducing expensive spin-off shows, such as the Regional News. ‘Who cares what’s been happening in North Yorkshire?’ wrote the media critic for the Metro.
News writers have been accused of being out of touch with the viewers, while attempts by producers to save the show have been described as ‘too little, too late’. Killing off loads of prominent characters smacks of desperation believes Sheard. ‘Michael Jackson’s demise may have temporarily piqued the nation’s interest, but haven’t they heard of the phrase less is more? And this latest bunch of guys they’ve introduced in a quest to find someone the audience will feel sympathy for – the CWU I think they’re called. Yeah, that went well didn’t it?’
(Written 21 Oct during the postal strike)