This month, the BBC will unveil a longer version of The BBC Ten O’Clock News. The flagship bulletin will also come with enhanced production values. Even though the changes to the programme, fronted by Huw Edwards, have been under consideration for months, it will be seen as the latest round in the “battle of the bongs”, following the October relaunch of ITV’s News at Ten, with the user-friendly Tom Bradby.
Did the broadcasters’ coverage of the last general election actually determine its outcome? This was one of the key questions asked during what session chair Martha Kearney called an “inquest” into how television handled the run-up to polling day on 7 May.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg certainly thought so. He argued that there was too much of a focus on the possibility of a Labour/SNP tie-up and this “had two very big consequences. One, it had a determining factor on the outcome.
For an insight into the day job of the BBC Director-General two years into his role, I pop into Tony Hall's plate-glass eyrie at New Broadcasting House. I arrive in the aftermath of one of the regular encyclicals that DGs dispense.
He's sung the praises of the BBC's place in a "thriving, free and competitive market", an alternative to what a colleague terms the "Joni Mitchell" school of heartstring-tugging about the Beeb's innate brilliance.