BBC axes Crimewatch after 33 years

Photo: BBC

Bosses pulled the plug on the show as the ratings slumped, despite a revamp with Jeremy Vine, 52, as host.

The decision is expected to anger police forces.

A source said: “Everyone is really shocked.”

Falling ratings are thought to be behind the BBC’s decision to axe Crimewatch.

Bosses want to instead spend more on dramas.

But the controversial decision is set to spark fury among police forces.

They have used the show, and its crime reconstructions, to solve many cases.

In 1993 CCTV footage of James Bulger’s killers leading the lad, two, away saw Jon Venables and Robert Thompson indentified.

And a 1997 appeal on the murders of Lin and Megan Russell snared the killer Michael Stone. A source said: “The police are going to be furious. Everyone is really shocked. It is a massive public service programme.”

The show was recently relaunched in a weekly format with hosts Jeremy Vine, 52, and Tina Daheley, 36.

But rating suffered as it was scheduled against Cold Feet and Broadchurch.

Spin-off show Crimewatch Roadshow airs on weekday mornings.

Crimewatch was launched in 1984, fronted by Nick Ross and Sue Cook.

In 1999 presenter Jill Dando, 37, was shot dead on her doorstep.

A BBC spokesman said: "We believe the successful Crimewatch Roadshow format in daytime is the best fit for the brand going forward and we will increase the number of episodes to make two series a year.

"We are incredibly proud of Crimewatch and the great work it has done over the years and the work Crimewatch Roadshow will continue to do, and this move will also allow us to create room for new innovative programmes in peak time on BBC One.”

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