About the BBC

Statements of Programme Policy 2008/2009

BBC programmes

Director-General's statement

In October 2007 the BBC Trust approved the BBC's Delivering Creative Future strategy setting out a vision and roadmap for the next five years. It is a strategy focused on delivering the BBC's six public purposes by providing value to all audiences, investing simultaneously in linear and non-linear services, serving the whole of the UK, and helping the UK prepare for a digital future. At the heart of this strategy is a focus on distinctive and innovative content.

Building on this strategy, the Statements of Programme Policy (SoPPs) set out editorial priorities for each of our services for the coming year. The SoPPs also include the BBC's commitments and conditions as set out in the service licences and by Ofcom.

Last year was a challenging one for the BBC with editorial issues around competition voting and controversy around programmes featuring the Queen and children's content. We responded strongly with new guidance and approval procedures and an extensive training programme, Safeguarding Trust, for all staff involved in editorial decisions.

Our commitment to international, national and local journalism of the highest quality and integrity remains as strong as ever. We will continue to broaden the reach of news, building on the success of the 8pm bulletin in attracting audiences who do not watch our other bulletins. In radio, Radio 1 will take Newsbeat on the road, hearing directly from young audiences and reflecting their concerns on air.

2008/2009 will see us broadcast a range of inspiring and thoughtful knowledge-building content. We will mark the 150th anniversary of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, for example, while Simon Schama will examine American history in the run-up to the US election. Radio 4's ambitious natural history project World on the Move will cover animal migration on five continents.

In drama we will build on our strength in high-quality returning series with innovative new programmes such as Bonekickers (about a team of archaeologists), complemented by distinctive series such as The Diary of Anne Frank and a new adaptation of Little Dorrit. BBC Two will focus on single plays and authored pieces including Burn Up, a two-part thriller from Simon Beaufoy, and a thought-provoking piece from Frank Cottrell Boyce, God on Trial.

Highlights in music programming will include a landmark collection of newly commissioned recordings to celebrate the work of British songwriters on Radio 2, and the marking on Radio 3 of the anniversaries associated with Vaughan Williams in 2008 and Purcell, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn from the beginning of 2009.

2008 will be a major year of sport, with BBC One leading the multi-platform coverage of Euro 2008 and the Beijing Olympics. We also look forward to live Formula One motor racing returning to the BBC after an absence of 14 years.

Building on the success of the BBC iPlayer, we want to develop bbc.co.uk to include a broad range of the BBC's broadcast content, as well as new and interactive forms of media that enable audiences to interact with and contribute to the website.

I believe that the editorial priorities and related activities that we have set out in the 2008/2009 SoPPs will make this an exciting year for the BBC and its audiences.

Mark Thompson

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The whole SoPPs document is available in two large PDF files, one in English and one in Welsh.

BBC Statements of Programme Policy 2008/2009 PDF (English) (459KB)

BBC Statements of Programme Policy 2008/2009 PDF (Welsh)

To open a PDF file you need Adobe Reader software, which you can download free via BBC WebWise.

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Note to 2008/2009 Statements of Programme Policy

Under the BBC Agreement, the statutory duties of the Executive Board charge it with, amongst other duties, the direction of the BBC's editorial and creative input, the operational management of the BBC and the conduct of the BBC's operational financial affairs in a manner best designed to ensure value for money. In view of the exceptional circumstances of the licence fee settlement and the current review of the BBC's service strategies, those obligations may require the review of the BBC Statements of Programme Policy 2008/2009 following the end of the current reprioritisation and service strategy process, which is expected in autumn 2008 in order to take account of the outcomes of that process.

Any review of the SoPPs will be prepared by the Executive Board and will be submitted to the BBC Trust for approval in compliance with section 21 of the BBC Agreement in order to allow the Trust to exercise its responsibilities in light of its own duties. In parallel with this process, the Trust will consider any variations to service licences which arise as a result of the service strategy proposals and review these alongside the varied SoPPs. The Trust's process for making variations to service licences will be in compliance with relevant clauses in the BBC Agreement and with its Service Licence Operating Framework which can be found on the Trust's website at bbc.co.uk/bbctrust. If any amendments to the SoPPs are approved pursuant to the duties of the Trust, the relevant SoPP for the year will be deemed to comprise each policy as set out in the attached statements and, for the remainder of the year, any changes to that policy which are approved by the Trust.

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