Joined: 17 Oct 2007
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|Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:55 pm Post subject: BBC to cut back on comedy
|...but not too much
|There will be less comedy on BBC Two, Radio 2 and Five Live following the latest round of BBC cuts announced today.
However, the corporation has avoided making deep cuts in the genre, stating that comedy on BBC One, especially, is a ‘high priority’ for reinvestment.
The moves are outlined in the ‘Delivering Quality First’ report into proposed cost-cutting measures, which mean 2,000 job losses across the corporation. The BBC must save £670million a year as a result of the licence fee freeze and the cost of taking on extra responsibilities such as the World Service.
Director general Mark Thompson has avoided wholesale axing of services, but warned the moves leaves the corporation stretched to the limit. ‘It's my judgment that this is the last time the BBC will be able to make this level of savings without a substantial loss of services, or quality, or both,’ he said.
Comedy is largely protected, as the creation of ‘ambitious original British drama and comedy’ is one of the ‘five pillars’ the BBC will concentrate on in future. The others are journalism, culture and education, children’s programming, and events that bring communities and the nation together.
This move to concentrate expenditure ‘on the things which the public most expect’ from the BBC will protect comedy on BBC One and Radio 4. However, comedy will not escape the axe completely.
The report says BBC Two will lose some of its comedy. It promises that the channel – which will in future screen only repeats during daytime – will be the home of original UK drama and the showcase for BBC Films, but admitted: ‘There will be a reduction in comedy entertainment on the channel.’
Comedy on the digital TV channels will be largely unaffected. The report adds: ‘In future, BBC Three will have a more explicit remit to develop talent and formats.
‘BBC Four's highly valued role in offering the best of foreign language drama and film from across the world (such as The Killing) will be protected, as will its distinctive contribution to UK comedy. BBC Four will also continue its role as gateway to the BBC's television archive, curating the best drama and comedy from the past.’
Radio will be hit harder. The report says: ‘The current limited comedy offer on Radio 5 Live will be scaled back, the volume of comedy on Radio 2 reduced and there will be a reduction in the commissioning budget of Radio 4 Extra. Radio 4 comedy will be unaffected.’
Currently, Radio 5 Live’s only comedy programmes are sports quiz Fighting Talk, with Colin Murray, and the topical Back End Of Next Week, fronted by Nick Hancock. Radio 2 currently has a ‘comedy hour’ from 10pm on Saturdays.
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