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“Pwime Minister, pwease…”

Yesterday saw the last ever edition of The Sunday Programme on ITV, and with it the end of political shows on the entire channel.

Which is no great surprise. It’s been a long time coming. Shoving The Sunday Programme to 6am a few years back was hardly a sign the station saw a rosy future for that sort of output. Or indeed any kind of future.

Nonetheless an era that began decades ago with Weekend World – the first TV show to think that thunderously self-important po-faced analysis of politics would go down a treat at Sunday lunchtime, the first TV show of its kind to keep on getting recommissioned despite less than 34 people watching, and most importantly, the first TV show to get the axe once Greg Dyke took control of LWT – is over.

Hip hip hooray and all that. Politics has no place on telly on Sundays. It never has. But yesterday’s swansong is kind of more significant for what it says about the ongoing decline of ITV, where repeated failures and flops have now become so commonplace they barely get a sniff of publicity.

10 of the station’s red letter days have already been documented. Does yesterday merit adding to the list? If not, how about the revival (and complete tanking) of News At Ten – again? Or the day ITV got fined £5.68m? Or when it ditched all children’s programmes? Or when its share price fell to the lowest ever? Or just every single day since, say, 1998, all rolled into one?



  1. Steve Metcalfe

    July 22, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I was one of the 34.

    My dad seemingly had to be in the line of sight of a working television at all times, including meals, so sitting round a table with my folks 30 years later for sunday lunch always evokes memories of the ‘World theme tune and Bwian’s voice.

    I can also still remember a particularly unappetising episode of Farming Outlook with a piece on artificial insemination of cattle. It showed a bloke hiding in the back-end of a fake cow with a device to catch the bull’s money shot.

    “More white sauce, Dad?”… Thought not.

  2. Anonymous

    July 22, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Ah, Weekend World…was it any good? All I can remember of it was being told to turn it over the instant that big chord at the end of ‘Nantucket Sleighride’ finished.

  3. Captain Zep

    July 25, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Those old farming shows wih “Weather Forecast” for Farmers.Presumably it was going to be diffeent for the rest of us? and adverts for wormers at Sunday lunhtime.

    I liked the Crocile on that 90s BBC political show.

  4. Zokko

    July 26, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    ‘End Of Part One’ did a brilliant spoof of ‘Weekend World’ with David Simeon as Brian Walden and Sue Holderness as Clive Jenkins ( ! ). As they chat, the set slowly burns!

  5. Glenn Aylett

    November 6, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    BBC One still has some political show with Laura Kuenssberg followed by a regional political programme every Sunday morning, which probably is a good excuse to sleep off a hangover or switch over to watch a repeat of The Professionals. It seems that the BBC in true Reithian fashion believes any kind of jollity as banned on Sunday mornings on their main channel and politics must take centre stage.

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