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And finally - a TV news era ends; LAST NIGHT FOR POPULAR PROGRAMME AFTER NEARLY 32 YEARS.

An era of television history ends tonight as newscaster Trevor McDonald presents the last News At Ten.

ITV viewers will watch the channel's final news bulletin tonight.

It is being replaced from Monday by a new-look 6.30pm show.

News At Ten has been bringing viewers the headlines for nearly 32 years.

It replaced a previous 12-minute news round-up which used to go out at 8.55pm every weeknight.

The original News At Ten presenters were Alastair Burnett, Reginald Bosanquet, Andrew Gardner and George Ffitch and the four major foreign correspondents were John Edwards, Sandy Gall, Alan Hart and Richard Lindley.

News At Ten was also the first programme in Britain to pioneer the American two-presenter format.

Former editor Nigel Ryan says the personalities of the presenters were an integral part of the success of News At Ten. He describes Reginald Bosanquet as ``a refugee from the 18th century - elegant, eccentric and bawdy.''

Veteran presenter Trevor McDonald has admitted to a flurry of nerves ahead of the final edition tonight.

He told a farewell party at London's Marriott Hotel: ``I do get nervous about everything.''

Trevor will present ITN's new 6.30pm bulletin, which has a new-look set but will retain many of News at Ten's features, including the ``bongs'' at the start of the programme, and the ``And Finally'' slot at the end.

A new 20-minute bulletin presented by former Evening Telegraph reporter Dermot Murnaghan will be screened nightly at 11pm.

Factfile

ITV's efforts to move News At Ten stretch back to 1993, when heavyweight political opposition discouraged it from making a formal application.

The channel's bosses are making the move partly to reverse falling audiences.

ITV is losing viewers to increasing numbers of cable and satellite channels, which now attract more than 10 per cent of the total audience.

Falling audiences mean ITV has difficulty justifying advertising costs. If it loses revenue, ITV's programme-making investment will eventually suffer.

A 10pm news bulletin only gave ITV one hour after the watershed for programmes aimed at an adult audience. Long films and dramas got interrupted.

ITV is required by the Broadcasting Act to compete with BBC1 news bulletins. A main 6.30pm bulletin will do that. BBC1's Six O'Clock News gets six million viewers, more than any other TV bulletin, and ITV claims this shows an appetite for news at this time.

The Prime Minister, Culture Secretary Chris Smith, and a unanimous report from the Culture, Media and Sport select committee of MPs, spoke out against the switch last year.

But the ITV regulator, the Independent Television Commission, approved the move in November.

Trevor McDonald will give way to John Thaw, James Bond and Sylvester Stallone in the first week.

Two blockbuster film premieres, comedy, and a human interest documentary are scheduled at or through the 10pm slot during the week after News At Ten finishes.

ITV plans to make full use of the new post-watershed slot from the word go, with ratings-winner Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? presented by Chris Tarrant, scheduled for 8pm during the crucial week.

Wednesday will see the network premiere of Bond film Goldeneye starring Pierce Brosnan, which runs from 8.30pm until 11pm.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Mcmullen, Marion
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 5, 1999
Words:530
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