Steerpike

Is Politics Live facing the axe?

Is Politics Live facing the axe?
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The coronavirus pandemic has posed challenges for organisations right across the country – including the BBC. Although the corporation has said it has had to slim down its current affairs output temporarily as a result of social distancing, they have still managed to put out a series of podcasts for the younger generation – including a recent discussion where guests told white women to avoid becoming 'Karens' (American slang for entitled women, natch) and to 'stop being so loud' – which was later taken down from social media following complaints.

But with a sense of normality slowly returning to SW1 as MPs debate and Westminster waterholes reopen, surely the BBC political coverage will soon, too, get up to date? Perhaps not. While Newsnight has been a regular occurrence throughout lockdown, another daily current affairs show has not: Politics Live. Launched to much fanfare under two years ago, the lunchtime panel show – presented by Jo Coburn and Andrew Neil – was taken off air in what was described at the time as a temporary measure due to social distancing. Several months on and the most the BBC has been able to muster is a weekly Wednesday outing.

Now concerns are growing that this could become permanent. 'They won't give us any timeline for it returning to five days,' sighs a BBC staffer. 'Given that we're in a time of political crisis and its main host is a woman, it's a very bad look.' With the corporation on a cost-cutting mission of late, there's a worry that Politics Live could be reduced to once a week permanently.

At a time when the BBC is facing questions over its editorial priorities, is Politics Live to become the latest current affairs programme to face the axe?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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