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Twenty-Four Hours (24 Hours)
Genre News and Current affairs
Format Studio magazine
Created by BBC
Presented by Cliff Michelmore
Kenneth Allsop
Michael Barratt
Robert McKenzie
David Dimbleby
Country of origin United Kingdom
Editor(s) Derrick Amoore
Tony Whitby
Running time 30 minutes (approx)
Original channel BBC One
Original run 1965 – 1972

Twenty-Four Hours (24 Hours) is a long-running, late evening, daily news magazine programme that aired on BBC 1. It focused on analysis and criticism of current affairs and featured in-depth short documentary films that set the style for current affairs magazine programmes. Twenty-Four Hours launched in 1965 and focused on investigative journalism. The programmes main presenter was Cliff Michelmore.



The programme brought together the production teams from two BBC television programmes: Gallery, a weekly political programme and Tonight the seminal early evening magazine programme. The editors were Tony Whitby from Tonight and Derrick Amoore from Gallery.


The popular presenter Cliff Michelmore was the first lead anchor for Twenty-Four Hours. With him in the studio were Kenneth Allsop, Michael Barratt and Robert McKenzie, a professor of politics at the LSE.

Towards the end of its run David Dimbleby took over as the main presenter.


Twenty-Four Hours was conceived with the intention of being very different from other current affairs programmes at the time. Critical to the point of confrontational, it abandoned the orthodox reverential rules of engagement with politicians and took a tougher, more modern approach to interviews. Twenty-Four Hours used a combination of panel discussions and studio debates, usually with an invited "expert" audience. The programme also featured documentary films or "packages" presented by its reporters Michael Parkinson, Fyfe Robertson, Michael Aspel, Julian Pettifer and Bernard Falk among others.

It undoubtedly helped establish an approach to television current affairs that can still be seen to this day and is in many ways the forerunner to BBC2's present day current affairs flagship Newsnight.

Production paperwork, The Radio Times and BBC Archive library all list the title "Twenty-Four Hours" in words, while the programmes logo used numerals "24 Hours".


Twenty-Four Hours originally had a fluid start time somewhere after 10pm. The decision to give it a fixed start time of 9.55pm was taken in 1967 following the establishment of ITN's popular News at Ten programme. However on Wednesdays it would begin at 10.20pm "in order that The Wednesday Play may begin ... and run its full 75 minutes."[1]

Huw Wheldon, then BBC Controller of Programmes said Twenty-Four Hours "has become such a valuable part of our coverage of national and international affairs, that we feel we must give it a regular and predictable placing. David Attenborough ... who wants to put his BBC-2 programmes on in such a way as to provide real choice for viewers, is driven mad by Twenty-Four Hours which has had to keep jumping about all over the place. Now we've got Twenty-Four Hours fixed at five-to-ten, we can handle all that!".[1]

Twenty-Four Hours finished its run on 4 April 1972.

Studio Presenters



  1. ^ a b Pg. 19 Radio Times 15 June, 1967


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