Over the years, the television screenings of the news have changed somewhat. From time to time new newsreaders have appeared, the programs have been rescheduled and, since 1997, in the UK the BBC have run a channel consisting of almost nothing but the News.

BBC News 24 runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on Freeview digital channel 80. It can also be viewed over the internet via BBC.co.uk, on satellite channel 503, and on cable, on channel 601.

BBC News 24 is also shown through the night, on BBC 1 and BBC 2.

BBC News 24 is a dedicated news channel, which was launched, on analogue cable television, on the 9th of November 1997, at 17:30. This launch was at a time when the BBC was beginning its development of possible cable and satellite channels. The channel was also created to provide competition to Sky News, which was already aired in the UK. Sky News was first screened in the UK in 1989.

Ending Sky news monopoly was not easy though. Legal intervention from the European courts was needed to fully allow the transmission of BBC News 24 and so end Sky's cherished monopoly.

Breakfast was launched on BBC 1 in 2000. Since then, this programme has run simultaneously on BBC 1 and BBC News 24.

BBC News 24 on-line service provides highly informative news and articles whilst remaining easy to navigate . There is the option to have your say and interact, and to check out local, as well as world news.

As with most things, there are pros and cons to viewing BBC News 24.

The pros.

Events are often shown as they happen. There is usually a streaming banner, running along side whatever news is being broadcast at the time. This banner at the bottom of the screen will have details of the very latest news, as it is happening.

BBC News 24 is part of the BBC's interactive viewing service. As such, at the press of a red button, on your remote control, you can access individual, local and world news, plus information regarding the weather, stocks and shares and so much more.

On the hour, there are usually the day's headlines, with brief details. These headlines are usually mentioned each quarter of an hour. As soon as a significant event or news worthy moment happens, you are taken to that item. The fact that news is viewed, on an instantaneous basis, often makes for moving and heart stopping reports.

The news is available in depth, whenever you want to access it. This is perfect for shift and night workers. It is even useful, just for parents who want to watch the news in depth, but in peace without the children around.

There are a couple of special programs, such as hard talk and click on-line, plus the occasional in-depth reporting of sporting events.

The cons

News items are repeated far too soon and too often. I understand the thinking behind this, but it can be a annoying.

Some items, which are sensitive, are shown too much and the reports end up seeming intrusive and insensitive. There is also the risk of major events being trivialised, in viewers minds, and the viewer becoming desensitised.

If you are watching BBC News 24 and the regional news is shown, it will be London News. To access your area's regional news you must watch BBC 1.

BBC NEWS 24 as a viewing experience

If there is any significant news during the day or night, I switch BBC News 24 on.

It is strange to think how many events, of major World importance, have happened since BBC News 24 came into being, how many I have watched and also been moved by, on this channel.

September 11th 2001.

My husband was ill that day and home from work. I only worked weekends at that time. We were watching a little news on the TV before my husband's, doctor's appointment. Hearing his shocked voice I looked up to see a replay of that first plane hitting one of the Twin Towers. We sat mesmerised, as the minutes and hours passed, and the days events unfolded. Initial thoughts that it was just a tragic accident, were lost with the shock realisation that it was a terrorist attack, on never before seen proportions.

Those first few hours viewing showed the true horrors of people screaming out of the top windows in desperation. Of people jumping to certain death, to escape the flames.

Throughout the days and weeks, I know these events were portrayed far too often. It became almost trivialised and like watching special effects in a film. That is why I do not always agree with the constant airing of such tragic events. However, it is necessary to see such happenings, and not shy away from lives horrors. To be aware, is to be able to make a difference. At least that is what I hope.

Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami

Again a sad and traumatic piece of news. As we all sat enjoying our warm Christmas glow, at this side of the world, an unthinkable occurrence was happening at the other side of the world. An enormous Tsunami, or Tidal Wave as we called them years ago, was overpowering vast areas of eastern countries. Hundreds of thousands of people died and many lost homes, livelihoods, families and animals.

Watching BBC News 24, in depth, brought the tragedy to life again, and into your very homes. I am sure this increased news coverage was one of the reasons this tragedy received such a large amount of charitable donations. I know it was also the scale of the disaster, which touched so many people.

April 9th 2003, Saddam Hussein's rule ends, in Baghdad.

The regime of Saddam Hussein officially fell on this day, although the Iraqi leader was not found for quite a while. This day saw scenes of jubilation, which may have been brief, but were welcome at the time. The sight of Iraqi citizens dancing with glee was great.

Eventually, when Saddam was found hiding in a hole, his arrest was televised also. This is part of the problem with such news coverage. Human rights are important, no matter what we think of the person.

May 3rd 2007

Little Madeline McCann went missing in Portugal, feared abducted, to god knows where. The television coverage seemed too intrusive again but was wanted by the family, in an attempt to keep the public's interest alive and increase the chances of finding her.


This review has made me realise just what significant news, often bad, I have watched on television, in a way my parents never could have. Wars now have almost every action videoed. There is really nothing that is sacred these days, although governments and producers often decide just what we can actually view.

Since BBC News 24 has been on the air, there have been just so many monumental happenings;-

  1. Peace, of sorts, in Ireland.
  2. 9 /11
  3. Iraq
  4. Afghanistan
  5. The Tsunami
  6. A British Royal Wedding
  7. George Bush
  8. Tony Blair
  9. Gordon Brown
  10. July 7th's terrorist attacks in London.
  11. Weapons of Mass destruction.
  12. The 2007 floods in England.
  13. The Mississippi flooding and hurricane Katrina.
  14. Camp X Ray in America
  15. The death of David Kelly.
  16. Swine flu.
  17. America's first black president.
  18. The latest human tragedy, which is the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

We entered this century full of hope, but all too soon, these hopes were shattered. Many people are finding that they will have to face the challenges of climate change and worse.

Throughout all of this, BBC News 24 has provided professional coverage of events, often as they have happened. You have to take your hats off to the reporters, who risk life and limb to provide this wealth of information.

Whether you are into news and current affairs, or just give them a cursory glance, BBC News 24, by covering as many events as possible, will help you gain a good insight into the events.

The news can so often be depressing but, as we all share the same planet, I think it is relevant to everyone, and needs to be reported on.

We just need some good news for a change.