Gushing press release for programme demotion 

4 March 2011 tbs.pm/1249

Yesterday may have been seen by some as a day to bury news. Maybe that’s why the BBC Press Office snook out a press release about QI.

Launched in 2003, everyone’s favourite clever quiz show moved to BBC One in 2008 where it’s been a staple of the 8:30 on Friday slot for some time. Indeed no sooner had the latest series ended, and BBC One started repeating earlier episodes. Clearly a flagship programme.

So it’s quite interesting to read the news that QI is moving back to BBC Two, and is moving back to a post-watershed slot. And it’s especially interesting to read a press release that reads so wonderfully gushing given the programme is effectively getting a demotion.

In it, George Entwistle, acting head of BBC Vision (effectively most of the BBC’s TV channels) shows he’s clearly master of the quotes, coming out with:

“BBC One has been a wonderful custodian for this enjoyably impossible quiz. But I’ll be very pleased to see QI back on Two, custom-built for a post watershed slot where I guess it might dare to be even more interesting.”

Meanwhile creator John Lloyd goes for fighting talk by offering to give Corrie a chance to win the ratings.

Naturally there’s no real reasoning given for the move, meaning we can only speculate. Maybe BBC One’s new controller just hates the show. Maybe Stephen Fry (who, the press release is at pains to point out, is moving back to BBC Two with the show) demanded to be less in the public eye. But most likely it’s because the show just can’t mention sex as much as it wants to at 8:30 in the evening.

Actually, for saying all this, QI really is going back where it belongs – whilst continuing to be funny, like Have I Got News For You, it lost a little by moving it on to the BBC’s biggest channel. It’s perhaps too much to hope that Paul Merton and Ian Hislop will be making a similar move. Especially not if someone suggested getting Angus Deyton back in as well!

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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1 response to this article

Glenn Aylett 26 March 2011 at 3:58 pm

One wonders if the BBC want a more populist alternative to Coronation St in this slot. However, QI has done well in what used to be a graveyard slot- this was how the BBC killed off Doctor Who remember- and Coronation St isn’t such a ratings juggernaut these days, its ratings being half of what they were 20 years ago.

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