After Dark (TV Series) - BBC Series

BBC Series

In January 2003, The Guardian wrote:

"After Dark, the open-ended discussion programme that gave its guests free rein to ruminate or ramble - depending on how much alcohol they had consumed - is to make a comeback on BBC Four...." After Dark is one of the great television talk formats of all time - it was careless of Channel 4 to have let it go", said the BBCFour controller, Roly Keating. The programme allowed its guests to talk entirely freely. They were allowed to drink, if they wanted, and the programme ended only when they ran out of things to say.
"It produced some memorable television moments: John Sutcliffe, father of the Yorkshire Ripper, was able to give a considered view of his son's behaviour; General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley, a former commander of British forces in Northern Ireland, swapped anecdotes with Bernadette Devlin; and arms dealer Joey Martyn-Martin claimed Mark Thatcher was a beneficiary of the international weapons trade. However, the show was dropped from its regular Saturday night slot in 1991 by the then Channel 4 chief executive, Michael Grade. His decision prompted a campaign by more than 100 public figures, from an astronaut to a zoologist, to save the programme. It returned the following year for occasional specials until its final demise in 1997.
"The BBC Four version will remain unchanged in format, and will be made by the original producer...: 'After Dark is a unique combination of a genuinely live programme, not on a delay of two hours like Question Time or five minutes like a radio programme. There is no studio audience, so the participants are under no obligation to exhibit themselves. There is no celebrity host who has to make himself look good. And, most important of all, it is open-ended, which shifts the power from the broadcaster and the producers to the participants.' He predicted that the programme could seem even more unusual now, in the age of slick and formatted television."

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