Sixty Minutes (TV series)
|Created by||BBC News|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original release||24 October 1983 – 27 July 1984|
|Followed by||Six O'clock News|
Sixty Minutes was a news and current affairs programme which ran each weekday at 5:40pm between 24 October 1983 to 27 July 1984 on BBC1. It replaced the Nationwide programme, and like Nationwide, it also integrated the BBC regional news programmes into a single magazine programme.
However, the BBC's News department stoutly maintained its independence from colleagues in Current Affairs, and the first 15 minutes of news was almost a separate programme, followed by 20 minutes from BBC regional news before the final 25 minutes of national current affairs. Accordingly, the format was unwieldy, with neither the conciseness of a bulletin nor the softness of the show's predecessor, Nationwide.
The editor, David Lloyd, poached Nick Ross from the highly popular Breakfast Time to front the show, along with Desmond Wilcox, Sarah Kennedy, and Sally Magnusson. Sarah Kennedy was unable to join the team at the programme's launch but eventually began to present the show after Wilcox was dismissed early in the show's run. The news bulletins were usually read by Jan Leeming, Moira Stuart or Richard Whitmore. The opening titles were designed by Terry Hylton and produced by the Computer Film Company.
As was the situation with its predecessor Nationwide, Sixty Minutes was also responsible for the evening regional news output for London and the South East. Whereas all the other BBC regions had their own dedicated news bulletins, Sixty Minutes presenters would read the latest news for London and the South East, simply titled "South East".
The programme was not well received and although its ratings eventually began to improve it broadcast its final edition on Friday 27 July 1984. Throughout August, BBC1 reverted to placing the early evening news at 5.40pm followed by the regional news magazines, before launching a new schedule on 3 September 1984 with the Six O'clock News. Arguably, another legacy was the eventual integration of the BBC News and Current Affairs departments.