Lineup includes new 'Emma' adaptation
LONDON — The BBC flagship web, BBC One, has unveiled a fall schedule that shows little evidence of the belt-tightening that is affecting rival U.K. webs.
High-end drama is prominent, together with a beefed up version of “Strictly Come Dancing” — known in the U.S. as “Dancing With the Stars” — and a new comedy mixing wildlife footage with voiceovers from celebs including Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, and Richard E. Grant.
The drama includes a new “Doctor Who” special, “The Waters of Mars,” and a four-part adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” starring Jonny Lee Miller and Michael Gambon.
There is also a film based on Andrea Levy’s best-selling novel of what it was like to be a black immigrant in post-1945 Blighty, “Small Island.”
The lineup is the first to be entirely masterminded by Jay Hunt, who took over as BBC One controller a year ago.
She declined to be specific about budgets, but it is clear from the schedule that while the corp. has not been completely unaffected by the downturn, its program budgets have not been cut to anything like the degree affecting rivals ITV, Channel 4 and Five.
In an effort not to be outdone by BBC One’s main competitor ITV1, this fall’s “Strictly Come Dancing” will bow with a special show to run across both Friday and Saturday evenings.
Joining the judges is former Royal Ballet star Darcey Bussell, a move designed to give the show more clout with up-scale auds.
“Walk on the Wild Side” is the laffer that juxtaposes film from the animal kingdom with celebrity voiceovers.