Letter: Aims of BBC drama

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The Independent Online
How distressing to see Michael Wearing, the head of BBC drama serials, forced to resign over the increased use of American-style focus groups at the BBC (report, 6 February). As one who conducts over 100 such groups a year, for a whole variety of clients, I know their limitations as well as their advantages.

Group discussions, as we call them, are a great way to find out what viewers think and feel in detail and depth; but are not a substitute for artistic judgement. Had group discussions existed in Shakespeare's day, I expect the ending of Romeo and Juliet would have been changed.

We all want to see BBC drama that is aimed at both minorities and majorities, which pushes forward the boundaries as well as reflecting current preferences. That is why the BBC must not be afraid of taking artistic risks, but at the same time listening to viewers' opinions.

JUDITH WARDLE

London SE5

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