Wonnacott’s ‘formulaic’ Bargain Hunt faces axe
Copycat property and antiques shows have got to go, says BBC Trust
It could be curtains for some of the BBC's middle-of-the-road presenters, including Bargain Hunt's Tim Wonnacott and Escape to the Country's Tim Vincent, after the corporation's trustees attacked the "formulaic and derivative" programmes clogging up BBC1's daytime TV schedule.
In a service review of channels One, Two and Four, the BBC Trust said not enough was being done to ensure that programming is "distinctive and contains fresh and new ideas" and gave BBC bosses a year to improve.
The report states: "One of the strongest themes from our public consultation is that some viewers believe parts of the schedule on each channel lack quality and have become too weighted towards covering similar subject areas, characterised as 'collectables hunting' and property.
"While these programmes are popular, audiences have told us that their quantity has made some parts of the BBC’s daytime schedule seem too formulaic and derivative."
The BBC has at least six regular daytime programmes dealing with property and antiques, including Bargain Hunt, Cash in the Attic, Flog it! and Homes Under the Hammer.
But daytime TV was not the only aspect of the BBC's schedule to come under attack. The report found that BBC One had broadcast only 61 different programme titles between 7pm and 9pm in 2009 - a drop from 115 in 2005 - and that endless repeats are giving the BBC a bad reputation.
The Trust said that the BBC should focus on providing new drama and current affairs programming and said that BBC2 should not be afraid to lose viewers in exchange for producing truly original TV shows.
The report concludes: “We would expect to see signs of improvement in audience perceptions by the end of 2011 and will consider at that point whether we need to ask for further action from BBC management.”