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BBC culls flagship Radio 4 arts programme Saturday Review

Tom Sutcliffe. Photo: Abigail Zoe Martin Tom Sutcliffe. Photo: Abigail Zoe Martin
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BBC Radio 4 has announced that it is cutting one of its flagship arts programmes Saturday Review.

The programme’s last broadcast will be in September 2017, when it will be replaced by a digest episode of daily arts show Front Row, collating the show’s best moments from the week.

Presenter Tom Sutcliffe, who also regularly presents discussion programme Start the Week and Round Britain Quiz for the network, said on Twitter: “Sadly (for me anyway) Saturday Review closes shop later this year. I’ve loved doing it.”

He added that the decision was made owing to “budgets”.

Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams said: “Saturday Review will be missed but we have to make difficult decisions on how we can best safeguard the overall range and breadth of content on Radio 4 while delivering savings. Intelligent arts review remains an important part of Radio 4’s wide-ranging culture content.”

Alice Feinstein, editor of Front Row, added: “The cultural landscape in the UK and around the world has changed significantly since the launch of Front Row nearly 20 years ago, and so has our audiences’ consumption of arts. The new Front Row at six nights a week aims to reflect these changes.”

She added: “We will continue to feed our listeners’ curiosity by increasing our review coverage.”

Currently, Front Row airs live on weekday evenings with a mixture of arts reviews, interviews and features. Feinstein was appointed the show’s editor in 2016 after four years as editor of Woman’s Hour.

The final broadcast date of Saturday Review is yet to be confirmed