Letter: BBC drama is alive and well

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Indy Lifestyle Online
In the understandable passion he expresses about the scheduling of Food for Ravens ("Halt the agonising death of BBC drama", 16 November) Brian Cox overlooks one important fact. BBC Wales decided to commission this production solely for the benefit of viewers in Wales, after it had been offered to the network, and rejected, at script stage 12 months ago. There was no betrayal of promise or principle in this - everyone involved in the project knew that they were making it just for the audience in Wales.

The subsequent request to give this programme a network screening duly came to me, and with hindsight I would have wished it to have had a more prominent placing in the BBC2 schedule. However, we decidedto observe the centenary of Nye Bevan's birth, and to transmit it last weekend to coincide with this anniversary.

As for Brian Cox's sweeping condemnation of BBC drama, I can only think that his busy schedule in Hollywood has prevented him from seeing much British television in recent times. It is ludicrous and insulting to his fellow professionals to be so dismissive of the wonderful body of work which has appeared on BBC Television in 1997 - an unrivalled range of drama extending from Tony Marchant's Holding On and Tony Garnett's This Life to Jimmy McGovern's The Lakes, and the adaptation of Iain Banks' The Crow Road. The BBC's commitment to work of such originality and imagination is undiminished.

Mark Thompson

Controller BBC2