BBC promises to focus on current affairs

The BBC is placing current affairs programmes at the heart of its schedule, after calls for the broadcaster to re-establish itself as the "standard setter" for public service television.

The corporation is launching two new documentary strands in peak times and is boosting the number of hours devoted to current affairs shows. Arts programmes and rural affairs are also to be made more prominent, the BBC revealed today in its third annual statement of programme policy.

The statement follows a warning last week from Ofcom, the media watchdog, in its first overview of public-service broadcasting, that "specialist programming on topics such as arts, current affairs and religion was increasingly pushed out of peak viewing hours".

The BBC said in its statement, The Year Ahead: "Editorially, in 2004-2005 we will increase the prominence of current affairs on BBC Television." BBC1 intends to show an extra 10 hours of current affairs programmes including the Real Story, presented by Fiona Bruce, which is broadcast at 7.30pm in the evening, and a new set of one-off documentaries.

"This year will see the channel continue to extend its range and depth in every genre, in particular with an increase of 10 hours on our current affairs commitment," the statement said.

BBC1 is also looking at new ways to attract audiences to existing programmes, including Question Time, which will be revamped with shows focusing on single issues, and themes for specific days and seasons.

Following on the heels of its acclaimed season which looked at children in care, BBC1 is launching a new series that will investigate childhood issues.

The channel is also raising consumer issues to the top of the agenda, with two new series, Brassed Off Britain, which will investigate customer service, and Should I Worry About?, which will provide viewers with unbiased information on public health topics such as mobile phone radiation.

BBC 2 is launching several new documentary series investigating subjects that include terrorism, disability, parenting and mental health.

The channel is continuing with its new analysis series If..., which looks at the decisions that need to be made to safeguard against future disasters. The BBC's governors said If... "embodies a renewed commitment to major current affairs in peak time".

There are also plans to build on the Newsnight brand, extending the programme beyond its current late-night slot and producing more one-off shows, similar to a recent special about Iraq.

Radio 2 is increasing its focus on the arts over the next year, with a new two-hour Friday night arts show, The Green Room, hosted by Mariella Frostrup, and more than 100 hours of arts programming.

The countryside is also being pushed up the corporation's agenda. BBC1 is extending Countryfile from 30 minutes to one hour, while BBC News 24 plans to make more use of local reporters to increase its focus on rural affairs.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Social Media Account Writers

£12000 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This social media management pr...

Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor (Magazine Publishing) - Wimbledon - £23-26K

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor - Wimbledon...

Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publishing) - Wimbledon - £26-30K

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publish...

Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago