ITV1 is to air a Tonight special edition covering Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain but, unlike BBC1, will not be changing its schedule to air live coverage of the papal trip.
Julie Etchingham has been investigating what kind of reception the Pope will receive when he arrives, for Tonight: Keeping the Faith?, which will air on the first day of the papal visit, Thursday 16 September.
Tonight has also commissioned a nationwide poll to reveal “what impact abuse allegations have had on the reputation of the Catholic church and the Pope”.
ITV news provider ITN will be covering the papal visit in a number of ways but unlike the BBC which is planning around 12 and a half hours of live network television coverage on BBC1 and BBC2, will leave most of its coverage to its news bulletins.
Etchingham will kick off proceedings by sub-anchoring ITV News at Ten from Rome on 15 September as the Pope leaves Italy.
Some of ITV News’s most experienced correspondents will then be covering the visit for the bulletins â€“ including, according to ITV, “the reception among the UK Catholic community at various events, the context of the Catholic church abuse scandals, and the security operation in place to ensure the visit goes smoothly”.
New ITV breakfast show Daybreak will also air coverage of the visit.
ITV News is also undertaking numerous pooled filming obligations with other broadcasters to cover live events during the visit.