The BBC regularly partners with other organisations to bring new and interesting approaches to its programming. This latest round-up throws light on some of that work.

This week we announced two new partnerships with the National Theatre and English Heritage respectively. BBC Two will be marking the 50th anniversary of the National with a one-off celebration from the Olivier Theatre, whilst Arena on BBC Four will host two one-hour specials featuring interviews with famous NT alumni including Alan Bennett, Judi Dench, David Hare and Sir Ian McKellen. Also, this spring BBC Four will also be showing a new three-part series exploring the history of the UK’s heritage movement; called ‘Heritage! The Battle For Britain’s Past’, it will be accompanied by a series of English Heritage exhibitions around the country.

Partnerships of a different kind will be forged when musicians including Blur’s Graham Coxon, Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford from Squeeze and Joss Stone join forces for BBC Radio 2’s Beatles special on Monday 11 February. Hosted at Abbey Road studios by Stuart Maconie, the artists will attempt to ‘recreate’ the classic album ‘Please Please Me’ (which also celebrates its 50th birthday) over 12 hours.

And Doctor Who also joins the quinquagenarian ranks this year; to mark the occasion, Mark Gatiss has written a drama for BBC Two that tells the story of the birth of the programme (first aired on 23 November 1963), with acclaimed actor David Bradley in the role of the first doctor, William Hartnell. Called ‘An Adventure In Space And Time’, it also stars Brian Cox, Jessica Raine and Sacha Dhawan. Filming begins this month.

Former Doctor, David Tennant, is due to star in a new drama on BBC One called The Escape Artist, which was also announced this week. An original three-part thriller set in the world of criminal law, Tennant plays a talented junior barrister who specialises in spiriting people out of tight legal corners. But when his talents acquit the prime suspect in a murder trial, that brilliance comes back to bite him with unexpected and chilling results.

Also added to the BBC One roster will be a new monthly news programme. Hosted by John Simpson, and called ‘BBC News: The Editors’, the half-hour slot will showcase the journalistic skill on offer from the BBC’s on-air editors in a selection of short and engaging films on a variety of topics, including arts, sport and science, alongside business, politics and foreign affairs.

Finally, CBeebies have announced a new animated show featuring the adventures of a girl called Sarah and her best friend, Duck (he’s a duck). Naturally enough, it’s called Sarah & Duck! I know my friends with kids will welcome this one, and with episode descriptions such as “Duck isn't careful enough with his favourite toy robot” and “Scarf Lady welcomes Sarah & Duck to her house full of scarves”, I’ll probably be tuning in too!


Ben Murray is Editor of the BBC Media Centre.

Follow @BBCPress on Twitter.

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