Channel Four has announced some changes to it current affairs format Dispatches; the broadcaster will cut the running time for the programme down to 30 minutes but will air more episodes per year.
The current affairs programme is getting something of an overhaul with its running time slashed in half. Currently Dispatches airs one hour editions but under plans revealed by Channel Four today the series will instead run for thirty minutes – ala BBC One‘s Panorama. However, Channel Four will increase the number of editions it airs each year from 30 to 40.
“With 40 shorter programmes a year we can expand the range of subjects we cover and increase topicality. We can be fleet of foot, getting to air quickly with an original take on a story. With an increase in the volume of Dispatches we will also have greater flexibility to return to the issues viewers feel passionate about.” – Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs
Despite the changes Channel Four has stated that topics that require longer-running time, such as complicated stories like the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, will be given one-hour slots. Dispatches was launched by Channel Four in 1987 and over its 24 year history has won several awards for its coverage of topical affairs. The programme covers a wide range of issues from religion to politics, corruption to environmental issues, health and education.