'That Was The Week That Will Be' for BBC3

Stuart Murphy

The BBC is planning to revive satirical current affairs in the style of That Was The Week That Was on its new digital channel, BBC3.

The corporation is believed to have approached Observer journalist Andrew Rawnsley, Newsnight presenter Jeremy Vine and Times columnist Matthew Parris about anchoring for the new show.

Columnist Miranda Sawyer is also being considered for the programme, which is planned to go on air in the middle of next year on BBC Choice, which the broadcaster hopes to relaunch as BBC3.

Controller of BBC Choice, Stuart Murphy, confirmed the channel had accepted the idea from BBC News.

"A programme like That Was The Week That Was is just the right mix of reactive comedy, news and current affairs I want for the channel," he said. But he declined to comment on who would front the show.

Murphy, whose budget will increase from £57m to £97m if the Government gives the relaunch the go-ahead next week, said he wanted to invest in strong current affairs programming.

He also expressed interest in the idea of "biased news", which was pitched by Marie Phillips at the Edinburgh International TV Festival.

"It’s a kind of savvy way of presenting the news," said Murphy, who added he would consider introducing a programme in which senior BBC reporters could give a "sophisticated but opinionated" view on a news story. "Nowadays it is more difficult to justify the stance that there is a definitive, unbiased angle on a story, so the idea is interesting because it cuts out the pretence."

The channel’s 60 Seconds news bulletin, which has abandoned the traditional format of kicking off with top stories, already represents a "fundamental change" at the BBC, Murphy said. "In adopting that format BBC News has taken on board the fact that a youth audience doesn’t want to be told that one story is more important than another," said Murphy.

Julie Tomlin

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