BBC4 to continue to acquire drama

Despite cuts, channel chief looks for shows

LONDON — BBC4 — the pubcaster’s digital web, which airs “Mad Men” — will continue to buy acquired shows, despite plans to cut the overall BBC acquisitions budget by 25%.

BBC4’s controller Richard Klein, launching his spring-summer season, which includes John Lennon biopic “Lennon Naked,” said shows like “Mad Men” are cost-effective for the channel.

“We are always in the market for acquisitions,” Klein said. “At the moment I am looking for a replacement for ‘Flight of the Conchords,’ which has the same iconic value.”

The web is also scouting documentaries for its acclaimed “Storyville” strand and music shows.

It recently bought Peter Bogdanovich’s four-hour epic about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Runnin Down a Dream.”

Klein said the 90-minute “Lennon Naked,” which stars Christopher Eccleston as the Beatle during the Fab Four’s fraught final days, would be shown as part of a BBC4 season exploring fatherhood.

In “Lennon Naked,” the rock star is reunited with his estranged father, Freddie.

BBC4 has won a reputation for low-budget biopics such as last year’s “Enid,” starring Helena Bonham-Carter as children’s author Enid Blyton.

Klein said the channel would continue to back fare of this ilk while broadening the mix of original drama.

An example of this more wide-ranging approach was an upcoming film based on the early days of rival web ITV1’s long-running, blue-collar soap “Coronation Street,” which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.