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I consider the change in format made this afternoon by Rangoon11 to be undesirable as the two-tier format is unnecessary, adds no value, makes the table less readable and breaks alignment with other BBC radio templates.
I also consider the few external links in this template to be useful – a consideration which in my view outweighs their deprecation.
I made a few changes this afternoon and it might be helpful to list them all:
Addition of the Radio 4 logo (which is regarded as being in the public domain according to its licensing tag). Templates very often have an image, including BBC templates (e.g. BBC News, BBC Radio and the main BBC template). A field exists for this purpose.
Addition of a 'below' bar with a link to the topic Category. Perfectly standard.
Removal of embedded external links from within the template. These are highly deprecated and non-standard.
Removal of external links from bottom of template. These are deprecated, but I can see a case for inclusion, although personally I don't favour it.
Use of sub groups. This is a very common organising approach used in WP templates, and the scripting specifically supports it. The main BBC Radio template, which is the only other BBC template included in the Radio 4 article, uses sub-groups. It is true that some of the other BBC Radio station templates do not at present, but they are all in need of work. Also they do not appear together on articles.
Changed state to collapsed. The template is of a size that a collapsed state is in my view most appropriate. Rangoon11 (talk) 17:30, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
Jim - I'm unsure what your concern is with the sub groups as they organise the info in the template in a logical and neat manner. (talk) 17:39, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
Well done for putting in the effort to improve this table Rangoon11. I am going to remove the red links from the announcers section of the table. But my main concern is the sub groups system. Although it is useful for clasifying the many programmes on the station, my first thought was that this made the box far too large. I don't have strong opinions either way at the moment, but I will take another look later. Uvghifds (talk) 16:25, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
I support the removal of the red links.
I don't think that the sub groups have added much to the template size, as it makes little difference to width whether the word 'programmes' is in a parent group or repeated each time in each separate group. The addition of an image has made the template a little larger as has the 'People' parent group. It is worth noting that the template is now defaulted to collapse.
Another benefit of sub groups is the additional flexibility which they offer. For example, the option of having an 'other' section for programmes and the ability to be more flexible with sub divisions. Rangoon11 (talk) 17:19, 12 June 2012 (UTC)