BBC3 News

On this page we take a look at news output on BBC 3 and its predecessor BBC Choice - 60 Seconds, The News Show and The 7 O'Clock News.

60 Seconds

With plans in hand to transform BBC Choice into BBC3, the corporation's youth channel launched its innovative news service on 16th July 2001.

60 Seconds condensed the day's news into the space of one minute, using a split screen layout to impart as much information as possible, as the seconds ticked down in the corner of the screen.

The launch presenters of the bi-hourly bulletin were Tazeen Ahmad and Sumit Bose, and the music bed was a loop of a section of 'Machines R Us' by Faithless. There was also a dedicated website.

60 Seconds had a new look upon the changeover to BBC3 in February 2003, and the frequency of the bulletins was increased to once an hour. The set seen in the left image here was short-lived, and was replaced by that seen on the right later in the year. At this time, the studio - TC11 - was shared with Liquid News. In the pre-digital era this studio had been known as N2 and was used for the Nine O'Clock News.

In 2007 BBC1 launched its own pacey news update at 8pm, which was inspired by 60 Seconds's format.

The bulletins took on their third and final look when BBC3 relaunched in February 2008. The presenter's backdrop was now entirely virtual, and a pink bar crept across the screen, replacing the numerical countdown.

Some editions of the hourly bulletin now had a specific focus, for example, entertainment news, sports news, or re-reporting on what news channels around the world were covering.

With the demise of BBC3 as a broadcast channel and its move online as an 'on demand' service, there was clearly no longer going to be a place for 60 Seconds, and as a result, the final bulletin aired in the early hours of 16th February 2016.

The News Show

Hourly one-minute bulletins weren't enough for BBC3 to get government approval, however. With the original plans for the channel having been turned down, the revised proposals added a nightly 15-minute news programme to the line-up as part of a series of measures to differentiate BBC3 from its commercial rivals.

The News Show took to the air on 10th February 2003. The presenting team, including Ben McCarthy, Sangita Myska, Tazeen Ahmed and Julian Worricker, brought us a pacey, perhaps rushed, round-up of the day's news.

But is the news really a 'show'?

The 7 O'Clock News

Just five months after launch, The News Show moved from its 7.45 timeslot and was thankfully given a better name - now known as The 7 O'Clock News, as a nod towards the long-running BBC1 bulletins.

The programme initially retained the pacy format of its predecessor, but with a darker studio set.

Then in May 2004 there was a change in format. The programme was doubled in length to 30 minutes, taking part of the budget from the recently axed Liquid News, and became a more relaxed, discussion-based programme. With the sardonic Eddie Mair taking over as lead presenter, and Paddy O'Connell also joining the team, this wry, laid-back approach provided a refreshingly different take on the day's news.

However, it seemed the target audience just wasn't interested. A government report in 2004 claimed that The 7 O'Clock News 'achieves nothing and attracts tiny audiences'. As a result, the BBC applied to the Department of Culture to remove the requirement for BBC3 to broadcast a nightly news programme. Following its approval, the final programme aired on 2nd December 2005, leaving 60 Seconds as BBC3's only remaining news output.

From our YouTube channel, a pre-launch trailer for 60 Seconds along with the three editions from 2001, 2003 and 2016, the opening of the first edition of The News Show, and clips from the final edition of The 7 O'Clock News.


60 Seconds Wikipedia entry
The 7 O'Clock News Wikipedia entry