Media Medium
16 October 2000


News at Ten - bull's eye for the Beeb?

In moving its news bulletins to 10pm, the BBC is hoping for a new dawn,
but there are clouds overhead

Planetary oppositions of Jupiter and Pluto across the Gemini- Sagittarius axis are shaking up the worlds of media and publishing, and the BBC's News at Ten heist plugs into this symbolism. The programme's launch on October 16 has the Moon at eight degrees of Gemini, next to Jupiter. They are straddling the fixed star Aldebaran, the angry red eye of the Bull. With expansive Jupiter involved, the BBC should boost its ratings and Greg Dyke may think he has pulled off quite a coup. The degree ascending at the launch is the same degree as the Sun for its ITV predecessor (July 3 1967). This is rebirth imagery, a new dawn as the BBC captures the spirit of the ITV original.

However, there are troublesome long-term indications. The symbolism suggests this will be a defining moment in government and public attitudes over the thorny dilemma of funding public service broadcasting alongside commercial channels. The BBC is in war mode and alongside henchwoman Heggessey, Greg Dyke is spoiling for a fight. His Mars has progressed to eight degrees of argumentative Gemini, triggered by the News at Ten Moon. Backing him all the way is BBC chairman Sir Christopher Bland (May 29 1938) who was born on the day of an eclipse of the sun at the same Gemini degree. Eclipses put us in the dark and often show up as an irrational, blind response. Curiously, Greg Dyke was also born on the day of a solar eclipse, so it is a case of the Bland leading the blind. Bland's gratuitous riposte to criticism from the Culture Secretary - "Chris Smith is a license fee payer and therefore entitled to his view" - could cost the Corporation dear. Chris Smith is a minister of the Crown (the Sun) which has granted the Royal Charter, and the attitude of the BBC Governors will not be forgotten by a future government.

In winning this battle, the BBC may be losing the war. Its astrology suggests that holding to a public service ethos would be better than giving ITV one in the eye.

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