×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

BBC issues response to Green Paper

The British Broadcasting Corp. made its first public contribution Thursday to the debate about its future role and financing, unveiling a detailed policy document in response to the government’s BBC Green Paper published two days earlier (Daily Variety, Nov. 25).

The document, a draft of which was leaked to the press two months ago, argues that the BBC can justify retaining its funding by the license fee only if its TV and radio services “extend choice,” rather than offering “more of the same.”

In the future, it says, the BBC “should clearly focus its activities on areas where there is a strong public need which commercial broadcasting may not fully meet.”

This means that the BBC will place a special emphasis on news and current affairs, a broad range of entertainment programs showcasing British culture, educational programming and communication between the U.K. and the rest of the world through World Service Radio, World Service Television and program sales.

Not ratings-driven

The BBC will not abandon its ambition to reach the mass audiences, which it needs to justify public funding, but it will not become preoccupied with fighting head-on for ratings against the increasing number of private TV channels.

John Birt, who takes over as BBC director general next month, said the BBC expected to attract a third of the TV and radio audience by 2000, compared to its historical share of about 50%.

But for all the rhetoric about “change and adaptation,” the BBC blueprint for survival in fact argues for little more than the continuation of current BBC policies and services, with added efficiency and public accountability.

Innovation stressed

Although it talks of withdrawing from program areas “abundantly provided” by commercial broadcasters, the BBC remains committed to providing the full range of entertainment, including game shows and soaps. However, it will attempt to innovate in these areas, as in all others, and to avoid “derivative” formulas.

Birt indicated that the policy of withdrawal referred “chiefly to acquired material,” the kind of cheap Australian and U.S. imports that are likely to be the staple of new satellite TV channels.

Yet the BBC has not been in the market for such shows for many years, and will continue to compete for major Hollywood movies and upscale series like “Quantum Leap.”

More TV

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Empire

    Chicago Police Want to Talk to Jussie Smollett as New Evidence Emerges

    Chicago police are seeking to re-interview “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, after new evidence emerged in his alleged assault. Smollett has claimed that two men attacked him at 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck. The Chicago Police Department has consistently said [...]

  • Five Takes on Canal Plus, Federation’s

    Just Days Left to Catch Canal Plus’ ‘The Bureau’ on MyFFF

    The most lauded of titles on this year’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, UniFrance’s online showcase featured by over 50 OTT services around the world, may not be a film but a drama series. With four seasons aired, and a milestone in world sales on a French TV show, slow-boiling espionage series ‘Le Bureau des légendes’ (“The Bureau”) is [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content