Record-setting astronomy TV series The Sky At Night
is to continue following a campaign to save the BBC show.
However, it will lose its 20-minute slot on BBC One and will move to BBC Four, where it is currently repeated in a 30-minute format.
Following the death last year of presenter Sir Patrick Moore
, it was feared that the programme - which was first broadcast on 24th April 1957
- would be axed when last month the BBC said its future was being reviewed. That sparked a massive protest, with an online petition
garnering more than 52,000
Now the BBC has announced that the monthly programme will first air on BBC Four in a half-hour slot from February 2014
, with repeats on BBC Two.Kim Shillinglaw
, the head of commissioning for BBC Science and Natural History, said:
Sir Patrick Moore inspired generations of astronomers and I hope that alongside the BBC's other astronomy content, such as BBC Two's Stargazing Live, The Sky at Night will enthuse further generations about the wonder of the night sky.Cassian Harrison
, BBC Four's editor, commented:
I'm delighted that we are continuing with such a treasured BBC brand, and look forward to welcoming the programme to its new home on BBC Four, where it will join a rich mix of other science content.
Moore presented the show from its start to his death and only missed one edition in July 2004 - because of food poisoning - making it the longest-running programme with the same presenter in TV history. The series has been fronted by a team of presenters since Moore's death, including Jon Culshaw
, Dr Chris Lintott
, Dr Lucie Green
, Dr Chris North
, Dr Paul Abel
, and Pete Lawrence
. It is yet to be decided who will present it when it comes back.
Following the announcement of its reprieve, Culshaw tweeted
Grand news, The Sky at Night is saved and will stay. Huge thanks to @Saveskyatnight and to everybody who signed and spoke up so passionately
The next edition will be on Monday 4th November
(except Scotland, when it will air at 1.15am). It will be off air in January, when the slot will be taken by the BBC Two astronomy show Stargazing Live
, hosted by Professor Brian Cox
and Dara O Briain