BBC brings curtain down on iconic cinema review show Film after nearly five decades

The BBC has brought the curtain down on iconic cinema review show Film after nearly five decades.

It launched in November 1971 and had hosts including Jonathan Ross and Claudia Winkleman.

But it will be best remembered for the late Barry Norman – famous for catchphrase “And why not?” – who fronted it from 1972 to 1998.

The show’s title updated annually to include the year and it attracted audiences of up to five million. At its peak, Film was the BBC’s most influential cinema show, running 36 weeks a year.

But rumours began circulating at the end of last year that bosses had decided to kill it off quietly to focus on reviews on radio and online rather than TV.

The show was given a graveyard slot and Film 2018 in March had a short run.

A BBC spokesman said in a statement: “We are constantly looking at how we present the arts to ensure we are serving all audiences in the best way possible.

“In 2019 we will be creating an enhanced offer for lovers of film both on television and online, which will be a more consistent approach across the year and will replace the Film show.”

Film’s last major critic, Danny Leigh, left last year after seven years and the show had rotated guest presenters.