New BBC2 chief Keating will keep faith with lifestyle shows

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The Independent Online

The television series Top Gear and Gardeners' World are to be kept by the new controller of BBC2, defying critics who have accused the channel of showing too many lifestyle shows.

The television series Top Gear and Gardeners' World are to be kept by the new controller of BBC2, defying critics who have accused the channel of showing too many lifestyle shows.

Roly Keating, the chief of the digital arts channel BBC4 who was revealed as the new head of BBC2 yesterday, has been widely viewed as someone who would bring a more highbrow agenda to the channel.

Setting out his vision for the future of BBC2, he said he felt the balance of lifestyle and makeover shows on the channel was just right. "There is a place for lifestyle programmes, otherwise it would not be doing its job of reflecting people's lives," he said. "I think the balance is rather good. Top Gear and Gardeners' World have completely earned their place." BBC2 has been criticised by the BBC's governors for relying too heavily on leisure shows. The current controller, Jane Root, has attempted to redress the balance and at one point took Top Gear off air, although she later restored it.

Mr Keating, who was one of the founding producers of the influential arts magazine programme The Late Show, also said that he was more interested in "memorable programming" than chasing ratings.

"We want lots of people coming to the channel, but for me the big target is building a generation of memorable programmes for the audience," he said, "and that's what I would want to be measured on at the end of my time here."

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