Steph’s Packed Lunch axed by Channel 4 as end date is announced

Channel 4 has decided to pull the plug on Steph's Packed Lunch after just three years. The broadcaster announced that the show will wrap up in December, which is the latest show to be axed.

Staff on the show were informed of the cut earlier today, with the channel describing it as a "difficult decision".

Announcing the decision to axe the programme, Channel 4 said it is “incredibly proud” of all the show has achieved and credited it for “kick-starting” the channel’s growth in the north of England.

The broadcaster said the budget for the show will now be reallocated to other programmes in the nations and regions.

A statement said: “Steph has not only made the nation’s lunchtimes more entertaining and brilliantly reflected the views and pre-occupations of the country, but the show has also been an outstanding springboard for developing local talent behind the scenes.

The channel explained: "With audience habits changing quicker than ever, we have to make difficult decisions about which programmes to invest in to best drive our digital-first strategy and we have decided not to recommission Steph's Packed Lunch when its existing production contract ends in December 2023."

They added: "We remain as committed as ever to our mission to help level up the TV industry outside London and to our 50% origination out-of-London target. We will be reinvesting the budget previously committed to Steph's Packed Lunch into other nations and regions productions."

“We have almost 500 roles outside of London and this will continue to increase over the next few years. We will continue to build on the legacy of the show, evolving what we do in line with our digital ambitions whilst continuing to reflect the lives of, and give a voice to, all our audiences across the UK and hope to work with Steph on other projects soon.”

The lunchtime show launched in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown and was initially broadcast from McGovern’s living room in Harrogate.

Channel 4 also brought the debut air date forward, saying it hoped it would bring some positivity into the lives of viewers. It later moved to its current studio setting in Leeds.

The news comes just a day after the BBC announced long-running soap Doctors will come to an end after 23 years because of increasing costs.

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