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BBC Publishes Annual Plan

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OM
Omnipresent
The BBC has published its annual plan for 2021/2022 which sets out its plans to bring BBC3 back to linear broadcast from January 2022.

It also confirms there will be fewer original documentary commissions for BBC4 in favour of an increased budget for arts and music on BBC2:

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/reports/annualplan/annual-plan-2021-22.pdf

Quote:
We will deliver more value to audiences by focusing on unique, high impact content, commissioning fewer but bigger titles of higher quality that can reach more audiences and with more opportunities for creative innovation. This shift in commissioning will mean more series of scale such as Civilisations and The Making of Us: A History of British Creativity, The Romantics and Us with Simon Schama and African Renaissance with Afua Hirsch. We will do more to promote and make this content easy to find – doubling the arts and music spend on BBC Two over the next two years; launching eight major arts and music boxset series for iPlayer each year and building our library of arts and music content on iPlayer. This approach will necessitate a shift away from commissioning a high volume of lower cost programmes on BBC Four, which are less effective at reaching audiences on the channel and on iPlayer. Instead, BBC Four will become the home of the most distinctive content from across the BBC’s archive. It will also remain the home for performance, such as the BBC Proms, BBC Young Dancer and BBC Young Musician. It will continue to showcase arts and music acquisitions and maintain its unique role in partnering with arts institutions (e.g. The Lyric Theatre, Belfast; Opera North; The National Theatre Scotland and The Royal Shakespeare Company).
JK
JKDerry
You do ask why are they bothering keeping BBC Four on air if they are slashing their budget and transferring it to an increased budget for arts and music on BBC Two? Why not end BBC Four and transfer their best home produced programmes to BBC Two?
BR
Brekkie
Because like with BBC3 it sharing spectrum with a childrens service means they might as well air something, and I think a mixture of archive shows and content that doesn't quite fit on BBC2 will probably do quite well.
CW
Charlie Wells Moderator
I can't help thinking that if it wasn't for certain elections and it's political sensitivity that the BBC might consider axing the BBC Scotland channel, and instead have BBC Two and BBC Three with nation opt-outs. Much of the content could easily fit on the other channels with a network airing, and it would also sort out many of the Freeview related issues. However I can't see it happening in the near future, at least not without a fair bit of spin and when talk of a second Scottish referendum is less prominent.
RW
Robert Williams Founding member
You do ask why are they bothering keeping BBC Four on air if they are slashing their budget and transferring it to an increased budget for arts and music on BBC Two? Why not end BBC Four and transfer their best home produced programmes to BBC Two?


My theory is it's because trying to close down a BBC channel is actually a whole load of hassle, as we've already seen with the likes of 6 Music and BBC Three, what with the public consultations it would need to undergo, as well as the inevitable campaigns to save the channel.

Far less trouble to simply skip to the inevitable end result, and just keep it going as a low-cost repeat-heavy channel.
KU
Kunst
Especially as it's a cultural channel, closing it down would be seen as a great impoverishment of the general BBC offer.
JK
JKDerry
If BBC Four is to remain, it should give the BBC an opportunity of airing some very decent archive programming from the BBC. They already do some, but this certainly could be expanded, to include documentary brands that have vanished from the BBC such as One Foot in the Past, Timewatch, the Michael Cockerell documentaries which are nearly all on YouTube now etc.
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JK
JKDerry
As the very decent Only Connect quiz show started on BBC Four in 2008, I would love to see that archive exploited more, as they have plenty of series to air, all going back to 2008.
NJ
Neil Jones Founding member
As the very decent Only Connect quiz show started on BBC Four in 2008, I would love to see that archive exploited more, as they have plenty of series to air, all going back to 2008.


For some reason AFAIK it never been repeated. They did decide to drop a Saturday early evening repeat in a few years ago but it didn't last long. Pretty much a case I presume of if you didn't see it at the time and you missed the iPlayer window you've missed it for good. It did turn up on a satellite channel (Dave?) for a while but that aside, nothing.

Mind you that being said before satellite TV and Challenge and whatnot came along that was often the case for a lot of gameshows anyway - one airing and that's it, maybe an occasional repeat a few months later or possibly in an ITV region somewhere. There were a few exceptions to the rule but otherwise... Of course IIRC Countdown didn't get a repeat until I think it was 1999 where it suddenly turned up in like a 5am slot.
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RD
Roger Darthwell
I can't help thinking that if it wasn't for certain elections and it's political sensitivity that the BBC might consider axing the BBC Scotland channel, and instead have BBC Two and BBC Three with nation opt-outs. Much of the content could easily fit on the other channels with a network airing, and it would also sort out many of the Freeview related issues. However I can't see it happening in the near future, at least not without a fair bit of spin and when talk of a second Scottish referendum is less prominent.

I completely agree with you, all the work that is being made with this channel, could have easily been made with BBC Two Scotland, there has never been a need to launch a completely separate channel, thus sacrificing BBC Two Scotland
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JK
JKDerry
Why was BBC Scotland channel created in the first place? Was it pressure from Scottish Parliament to have the BBC provide a unique dedicated Scottish channel? Was it a case they were getting annoyed that Wales had S4C, Scotland needed to have their own, this one being in English, as BBC Alba covered Gaelic.

With BBC Scotland and BBC Alba, it does seem Scotland is far more served by the BBC than Wales is. Northern Ireland just relies on opt outs of BBC One and BBC Two, no dedicated channel for them.
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DT
DTV
Why was BBC Scotland channel created in the first place? Was it pressure from Scottish Parliament to have the BBC provide a unique dedicated Scottish channel? Was it a case they were getting annoyed that Wales had S4C, Scotland needed to have their own, this one being in English, as BBC Alba covered Gaelic.

With BBC Scotland and BBC Alba, it does seem Scotland is far more served by the BBC than Wales is. Northern Ireland just relies on opt outs of BBC One and BBC Two, no dedicated channel for them.


I don't think it was the result of direct political pressure, but it's almost certain that the channel's creation was political. Scottish independence is not an unlikely possibility and the BBC's future in Scotland, if it occurs, is uncertain. BBC Scotland is almost certainly the BBC trying to a) prove that they can adequately serve Scottish audiences as distinct from British audiences and b) more directly show they are invested in Scotland. The BBC's favoured strategy for an independent Scotland is, after all, to remain a pan-British broadcaster and continue to collect Scottish licence money.

I think the comparisons with Scotland vs Wales and Northern Ireland are interesting. I think that it's widely known that the BBC are responsible for a lot of S4C output and the national BBC has a far more visible investment in Wales than in Scotland - Doctor Who, for instance, has never been shy of it's Cardiff base. Plus there is the lack of political pressure in Wales - I don't think there are any particularly Welsh grievances with the BBC nor is one party trying to stoke them and Welsh independence is definitely not viewed as a serious possibility for at least the medium-term. So I think that the BBC would regard its presence in Wales as about right.

Northern Ireland is more difficult as it is a special case in so many ways, but it does seem to get a fair deal of opt-outs from network. But from the political perspective, I'm not sure what the BBC's plan would be in the case of Irish unification. Where as with Scottish or Welsh independence the BBC would clearly intend to remain a cross-national public broadcaster in those countries, I'm not sure about NI. Ireland already has a public broadcaster and losing NI is not that big a hit to BBC finances (unlike losing Scotland or Wales). Plus, there almost certainly would be no appetite for a publicly funded BBC in Ireland. As such, there is no real need for the BBC to curry favour with NI or ROI audiences or political organisations in order to secure a post-reunification future, if that were to happen.

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