About a month ago, the BBC was talking about closing down Britain’s longest-running and only regular astronomy television program, The Sky at Night – less than a year after its creator Sir Patrick Moore had died. Since then the show was moderated by the longtime co-hosts Lucie Green and Chris Lintott, who had actually done a very good job of keeping the program alive – but that doesn’t seem to have been good enough for the BBC bosses. The outrage over the possible cancellation was huge, including a petition with over 50,000 signatures and pleas from just about everyone to continue The Sky at Night – with success: Tuesday, the BBC had announced that the program will continue in 2014.
The rescue comes, however, at a cost – the show will not be broadcast on BBC1 anymore, instead the first showing is relocated to BBC4 with a later repeat on BBC2. Given that The Sky At Night is broadcast on Sunday after midnight at the moment, this may be an improvement and the home on BBC4 is not altogether bad, because the repeats of the 30-minute-version have already aired on this channel for some time. The shorter 20-minute version, which was always broadcast first, will also be abandoned in favour of the 30-minute format. This can be a great chance for The Sky at Night – hopefully the inevitably lower ratings will not prompt the BBC to cancel the program for good.
The announcement was also paired with the news that The Sky At Night will make a pause in January to make way for a fourth round of Stargazing Live with Brian Cox and Dara O Briain, which has been credited to create a huge public interest in astronomy and will surely be as amazing as in the previous years.
The next regular episode of The Sky at Night with the Moore Moon Marathon, will be aired this Sunday (actually Monday) at 0:30 GMT on BBC1 with the 30-minute-version first airing on BBC4 on Thursday at 19:30 GMT. For more repeats check the official website of the program.