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?