The all-new News at Ten reviewed

Bill Neely reports from Antarctica

Mark Lawson reviews the comeback edition of ITV1’s News at Ten in the Guardian this morning – and finds very little has changed since it disappeared from our screens eight years ago.

“With an old time, an old host and an old lead story [on the Diana inquest], the resurrected News at Ten needed something to reassure its audience they had not suffered an accident and ended up in a journalistic version of Life on Mars, trapped a decade back.”

Andrew Billen, writing in the Times, said the “biggest coup” for News at Ten was its Antarctic glacier report from Bill Neely (pictured), which he called “a beautiful set piece”.

“It was just a pity the reporter was keener to explain how he got there than what was going on with global warning,” Billen added.

Billen found it “ever so slightly thrilling” to watch the familiar sign offs on News at Ten but predicted that when a big story breaks, viewers will return to BBC.

In the Telegraph, Andrew Pettie says is scathing about the selection of the first item. The lead interview, with Hasnat Khan about his relationship with Princess Diana, was “something of an embarrassment” after all the fanfare, he argues.

The interview “may well have been an exclusive, and an undoubted ratings-grabber, but this was hardly a news event of global significance”.

It was in sharp contrast, he says, with the BBC’s Ten O’Clock News, which lead with John Simpson reporting undercover from Zimbabwe. But after thsi “inauspicious start”, Pettie says, the remaining programem was “punchily presented”.

Charlie Beckett, head of the Polis journalism think tank, saw “echoes of the old divisions between ‘posh’ BBC and ‘popular’ ITN” in the contrasting story selection.

ITN, Beckett argues, has reverted to the “comfy” old News at Ten after the much-improved News at 10:30.

“Overall the retro feel is very much in keeping with the nervousness that surrounds the TV News business at the moment,” he concludes.

Quentin Letts, writing in the Daily Mail, was happy to see Sir Trevor and his new “adoring bimbette” Julie Etchingham in their seats rather than “prancing about”.

“It could have been packed with Gizmos but happily they concentrated on the task in hand: telling us some news.”

City University head of journalism and former ITV news staffer Adrian Monck gives “an old fashioned critique of an old fashioned show”, saying that the story balance was too crime heavy and the one thing missing was a sense of humour.

“There’s not much not to like here – which isn’t to damn with faint praise, but simply to point out that with news viewers the less you can do to drive them away, the more will stay. But like battery chickens, the odd surprise is good for them.”

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