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BBC4 buys ‘Parks and Recreation’

Channel plans P.G. Wodehouse biopic

LONDON — Upscale U.K. web BBC4, the channel that brought British audiences “Mad Men” and “The Killing,” has bought NBC laffer “Parks and Recreation.”

BBC4 controller Richard Klein, speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch Wednesday, said he had acquired the first two seasons of the U.S. comedy.

He said: “It’s well written, ambitious and the characters are complex but flawed.

“Another of the things I really like about ‘Parks and Recreation’ is that it doesn’t have one of those patronizing homilies at the end of every episode.”

Klein confirmed that BBC4’s acquisitions budget would remain unaffected by economies being made as a result of a freeze to the Beeb’s license fee.

From next year, as the channel implements cuts of around 8%, BBC4 will become more of an arts, music and cultural channel, and stop commissioning original drama and entertainment.

Klein said: “I am not going to pretend it is going to be easy (making these cuts), but BBC4 will still be an eclectic, mixed genre channel, although there will be few originated shows.”

In the past the web’s profile has been boosted by showcasing single dramas focusing on such distinguished British figures as Enid Blyton, played by Helena Bonham Carter, and John Lennon, played by Christopher Eccleston.

The latest of these biopics is the story of British novelist P. G. Wodehouse, starring Tim Piggott Smith, and his apparently unwitting involvement with the Nazis during World War II. “An Innocent Abroad,” made by Great Meadow Prods., co-stars Zoe Wanamaker as Wodehouse’s wife, Ethel.

Other shows being lined up for 2013 include a three-part series looking at the golden age of the record album. presented by London DJ Danny Baker.

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