BBC Two has moved its new sitcom The Persuasionists out of its prime-time schedule. Episode 4 was originally due to be broadcast tonight (Wednesday 3rd February) at 10pm, but the channel has replaced the under-performing sitcom with a repeat of Grumpy Old Women instead. This is a fairly drastic step, as the listing magazines and the schedules printed in many of today's papers still show The Persuasionists as broadcasting tonight, which is likely to lead to some viewer confusion.
BBC Two says the remaining three episodes of the series will now instead be broadcast on Thursday nights at 11:20pm. This post-Newsnight position is often referred to as a 'graveyard slot' by those in the industry: it's a low-profile area of the schedule normally only employed to host repeats of programmes like The Culture Show.
The Persuasionists, a sitcom about creatives who work in the advertising industry, stars Adam Buxton, Simon Farnaby, Iain Lee, Jarred Christmas and Daisy Haggard. It was created by Bwark Productions, the company behind The Inbetweeners, and written by Jonathan Thake, a former advertising executive.
It would be fair to say the sitcom hasn't performed as well as expected, with last week's episode only managing to muster an audience of 330,000 - a figure significantly below the average for BBC Two's 10pm slot. The comedy has also attracted many negative comments. A review in The Stage said: "The Persuasionists is a mess, infused with that embarrassing mania that invariably takes hold of sitcoms free from humour, plot or characterisation", whilst The Guardian labelled the show as "the eighth circle of sitcom hell". Viewers haven't been kind either, with one blogger suggesting that Trading Standards should investigate why the programme has been labelled a comedy. Last week the negative comments on a BBC blog resulted in star Adam Buxton taking time out to record a humourous video response to the criticism.