|BBC One SD will carry the extended news in England|
- Double length late evening news in return for cut in lunchtime bulletin
The BBC is to extend its late evening regional news bulletins across England from January for five months, incorporating the General Election period.
The revised schedule will see regional news bulletins in the English regions at the end of the BBC News at Ten O'clock on BBC One SD extended from 7 1/2 minutes to 15 minutes from Monday to Thursday. The news and weather will then end at 10:45pm.
The BBC says that "national and regional news is already highly popular. The BBC’s half hour news programmes at 6.30pm are the most watched news output in the country, with an average audience of 5.2 million adults. Four million adults watch the bulletin at 10.25pm."
Additionally, the BBC has confirmed that the new format will allow "more in-depth analysis of issues, interviews with decision-makers and content that reflects arts and culture in different parts of the UK."
With reference to the Elections, James Harding, Director of News and Current Affairs, said: "These extended bulletins will allow us to follow ever more closely a campaign which is going to be being fought out constituency by constituency across the United Kingdom."
The flipside is that the lunchtime bulletin at 1:30pm will be cut to just five minutes during the five month trial. The BBC once broadcast regional news updates every hour during daytime, and the move could signal a longer term shift to moving regional news resources to peak viewing times.
The BBC is to release details of its plans for viewers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland "in due course."