The BBC is axing Watchdog after 40 years - here’s why

Monday, 24th February 2020, 10:46 am
Updated Monday, 24th February 2020, 10:54 am
The fan favourite is to be axed as a standalone show after 40 years (Photo: BBC)
The fan favourite is to be axed as a standalone show after 40 years (Photo: BBC)

The BBC will stop broadcasting Watchdog as a standalone programme after 40 years on air, with the show to become a segment on The One Show instead.

The TV fan favourite, which held businesses to account and aimed to protect consumer rights, had good viewing figures and produced more than 1,000 episodes over its 41 series.

Making cuts

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Despite being a hit with viewers, the programme is to lose its current one hour format and instead be merged into a shorter segment on The One Show.

A TV source told The Sun, “The BBC is being forced to make cuts and unfortunately the bosses have decided they cannot justify keeping Watchdog as a full series, twice a year.

“This doesn’t seem to make much sense given that Watchdog still pulls in good figures and is performing a public service.

"Taking it from full one-hour episodes in a proper series to just a segment on a magazine show will infuriate a lot of people.

The move to axe the show as a standalone programme comes after The Victoria Derbyshire show was dropped last month from BBC Two last month, which promoted a 70,000 name strong petition to reinstate it.

‘Greater prominence’

When Watchdog last aired in the autumn - with hosts Matt Allwright, Steph McGovern and Nikki Fox - it attracted more than three million viewers.

However, the BBC claims its new segment, which is to be presented by existing hosts Allwright and Fox, will give it “greater prominence”.

Carla-Maria Lawson, head of daytime and early peak at the BBC, said, “Watchdog has been tenaciously fighting for viewers rights since the strand started 40 years ago within Nationwide.

“So it’s fitting that in its anniversary year we are able to open up the potential for viewers to connect with the brand through The One Show.”

Rob Unsworth, editor at The One Show, added, “Bringing the quality, investigative journalism of the much-loved and trusted Watchdog brand to viewers year-round is an exciting move and a great opportunity for The One Show, and means that more than ever the team can react on behalf of consumers whenever stories come up.”