Last BBC regional news programmes air in Oxford and Cambridge

BBC stock Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The last regional TV news programmes in Oxford and Cambridge have aired on the BBC.

The services were scrapped – merging with the BBC’s Southampton and Norwich operations – as part of the broadcaster’s plans that saw it focusing on “digital first” content.

South Today – Oxford and Look East (West) aired for the last time at 6.30pm on Friday.

In the last broadcast, South Today’s Geraldine Peers said: “Thank you for being there, thank you for the stories and thank you for your support.

“You have been the best audience a presenter could ask for. It’s felt like I’ve been talking to friends, every night and thank you for letting me into your homes probably twice a day for the last 21-and-a-half years.”

Look East’s Janine Machin said, during her last broadcast, “We have been broadcasting from this building for 13 years but tonight the signal will be switched off for the last time.”

Signing off tearfully, she added: “Thank you for giving your time, your trust, for sharing your stories with us and you can see how much it means…

“Thank you for your company, have a great Christmas, goodbye.”

BBC journalist Matt Graveling wrote on Twitter: “This amazing team achieved big things with small numbers, it’s an honour to have been part of it.

“We produce, report, script, film & edit, & if the future is journalists that can do it all – they did it here first.”

BBC Look East’s Mousumi Bakshi also took to Twitter, writing: “The final one then Thank u to everyone who’s shared the joy of #lookeastfamily.

Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran said in a Tweet on Friday: “This is heartbreaking. Thank you to all the team at BBC Oxford for their incredible work connecting our communities over the years.

“You will be bitterly missed by your viewers and local democracy will be poorer served for your absence.”

BBC Four and CBBC will also end as linear TV channels while BBC World News and BBC News Channel merge to create a single 24-hour TV news channel serving both UK and international audiences.

The BBC also plans for local radio stations to share more content and broadcast less programming unique to their areas.

Proposals confirmed by the broadcaster include the loss of 48 jobs across local staffing in England, amounting to a total reduction of 2%.

The plans will see local programming restricted to weekdays before 2pm and the BBC will produce 18 afternoon programmes across England that will be shared between its 39 stations.

Ten local programmes will then be shared between 6pm and 10pm on weekdays, all day on Saturday and on Sunday mornings, serving areas broadly mirroring existing local TV areas.

In September, the BBC announced that 382 jobs at the World Service will be cut.

The BBC needs to save a further £285 million in response to the announcement in January that the licence fee will be frozen for the next two years.

The corporation has delivered more than £1 billion of savings in the five years to 2021/22.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We’re really proud of all of our regional TV programmes including our Look East bulletins from Cambridge and South Today in Oxford which have served viewers brilliantly and produced great journalism over the years.

“We are working closely with all of our colleagues who are directly affected by our proposals and will continue to do so into the New Year.

“The media landscape is changing quickly and we need to make some difficult choices as we adapt our services in line with our audiences expectations as they seek more and more content on our digital platforms.

“Despite the loss of the dedicated TV bulletin, we will continue to deliver outstanding television, radio and digital journalism across the East and South of England.”