Mail on Sunday axes Jaci Stephen's TV column

TV critic Jaci Stephen has been dropped by the Mail on Sunday. By Maggie Brown

Jaci Stephen, the ebullient and highly readable television critic, has been dropped by the Mail on Sunday.

Her last column will appear on Sunday, December 23. Stephen said today that the paper's editor, Peter Wright, has decided to follow the path of Associated Newspapers' sister title the Daily Mail, which dropped its TV review column last year.

Stephen was told of the decision earlier this month. The paper is in the process of revamping its review section and has decided that in the multichannel age people no longer watch a narrow range of programmes.

She added that, while she still feels a strong loyalty to the paper, the decision is wrong. "I think television still needs reviewing. it is still the most important medium in the arts," Stephen said.

"But I think television reviewing needs reinventing. Newspapers haven't changed their approach: they need to keep up with the times. However people are still talking about the main shows, whether they are The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, Spooks or Cranford."

Wright said: "I've worked with Jaci Stephen for 20 years. She is a brilliant TV reviewer, but TV has changed and in a multichannel age I'm afraid I just don't think reviews have the appeal they had in the past."

Stephen will continue to write her column on the soaps for the Saturday edition of the Daily Mail. She is also in demand as a features writer, recently contributing a heartwarming piece about reaching the age of 50 for Femail.

She has worked under contract for Associated Newspapers' titles since 1988, and is one of the most high profile of its stable of writers.

The Daily Mail dropped its TV review column in August last year, when the paper's long serving TV critic, Peter Paterson, retired after 20 years in the job.

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Maggie Brown

The GuardianTramp

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