Re:BBC Sky at Night

Forums General Discussion BBC Sky at Night Re:BBC Sky at Night


Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 15:51 on 2014 Feb 19

In reply to Grant’s recent post, while I would agree that it is not the BBC’s remit to keep the membership of the BAA and the readers of Astronomy Now happy, it is very much in their interest to ensure that the programmes they make are as good as they can be, within the usual budgetary and air-time constraints of course. This can, in part, be achieved by recruiting excellent presenters and showing excellent content, which is of course what the original Sky At Night was very good at.However, I can’t agree that the BBC is trying to recruit extra viewers for Sky At Night from the bulk of the population by means of the recent re-vamp – this seems to have been much more the remit of Stargazing Live, for which the use of "populist" presenters and a rather more basic treatment of the material was entirely appropriate, and several recent Horizon episodes. Surely you don’t put a programme on BBC4 (usually considered a more "highbrow" channel than BBC1 and BBC2) if your intention is to lower its intellectual level? On BBC4, TSAN is up against many programmes with content which would usually be considered "difficult", with presenters who are acknowledged experts in their field or are known for presenting (mostly) adult-targetted (often) science-based programmes seriously and with a high level of competence. I am thus somewhat less pessimmistic than Grant in his assessment of the BBC’s motives. That doesn’t mean to say I am yet entirely happy with the way they are progressing these motives in the case of TSAN though!In response to Terry Byatt, I suspect that the problem with Dr John Mason (and many other TSAN guests of his standing) is that he is male and of "a certain age"! Even if he (or other contenders) turned out to be willing to do it – by no means certain, given his/their other interests – there might be a feeling in the upper echelons that he/they would not be improving the profile of the programme. As previously mentioned, I would strongly support the introduction of young(er) female presenters, of whom there are several strong candidates. Just make sure they can present in a convincing style and at least give a good impression that they know what they are talking about! (as opposed to Dr A-P).Steve Holmes