Beeb waging ‘War’

Terrorism telepic among BBC1's fall fare

LONDON — “Dirty War,” a 90-minute disaster movie co-produced with HBO about a terrorist attack on London, is the centerpiece of the BBC’s $375 million fall sked on flagship web BBC1.

HBO, whose co-prods with the U.K. pubcaster include Emmy winners “The Gathering Storm” and “Conspiracy,” is understood to have put up around 40% of the movie’s $2.8 million budget.

” ‘Dirty War’ is not about scare-mongering,” said Jane Tranter, the BBC’s commissioning editor for drama. “The intention is to raise the debate about the reality of the terrorist threat we face and the U.K.’s preparedness.”

On Monday, the government announced it was spending $13.5 million on a public information campaign to help people prepare for and survive a terror attack.

The fictionalized account uses drama and documentary techniques to show what could occur in the aftermath of an attack by Islamic terrorists on a London train station.

Other highlights of the fall season include costume drama “North and South” based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel, and “Fat Nation — The Big Challenge,” a skein designed to help Brits adopt more healthy eating habits as part of the government’s war on obesity.

“Spooks,” which has transferred successfully to the U.S. as “MI5,” returns for a third season. Also due is “Space Odyssey — Voyage to the Planets,” a series re-creating the experiences of five astronauts exploring the limits of the solar system, from the makers of “Walking With Dinosaurs.”

Much of the BBC1 fall sked is slanted toward upscale fare to help persuade policymakers that the Beeb’s royal charter should be renewed on favorable terms; it expires in 2006.

BBC1, criticized for being too concerned with chasing ratings under the old regime of director general Greg Dyke, is under review by its ruling board of governors.

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