For years it has been a sensible, calm harbinger of events, an introduction to goings on in the world at the end of each workday.
But now, say BBC executives, it has become stale and dull, like a mouldy piece of bread thrown into the gutter and nibbled at by rodents. According to them, what is needed is a revamp, to add some spectacle, some razzmatazz, and some humour to what is otherwise a dreary and overly serious autocue reading. Also they need to compete against Topless Newswheel on Channel 5.
From Monday, the BBC Six O’clock news will be broadcast with a laughter track. Serious events such as famine, rape and war will be given only a small murmur of chortling, whereas political and celebrity news will be drowned out by infectious belly laughs.
BBC chief of news, Geoff Journo, said that test screenings had shown a marked improvement over laughter-free news, particular in important demographics such as the demented and sociopaths.
“It’s the future,” said Journo. “Next we’ll be introducing weather cats.”