BBC makes ‘impact’ plans

Pubcaster to boost quality of arts, current affairs shows

LONDON — The BBC unveiled plans Tuesday to offer more “high impact, memorable programming” this year in a bid to justify its £2.56 billion ($4 billion) in annual funding.

The BBC is renegotiating its charter, which expires in 2006, and could risk having its funding slashed if it does not deliver on its public service remit. The channel has been criticized as being too commercial.

The pubcaster is boosting the number and the quality of arts and current affairs programs. Flagship channel BBC1 is getting two new strands on the arts and documentaries.

BBC2 will broaden its range of genres in peaktime to include more arts, politics and current affairs. That means less reliance on lifestyle programs. It will also launch two new politics series.

The two channels will work more closely to avoid scheduling clashes. The pair have a tendency to program the same genre at the same time.

“The BBC needs to make further progress, especially in the areas of arts and current affairs,” said BBC chairman Gavyn Davies. “We believe that a further improvement in quality and distinctiveness can be achieved.”

This is the second year the Beeb has published its programming strategy — a requirement under new regulations. The BBC governors will report on the pubcaster’s performance in its annual report in July.

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