Edinburgh TV Festival 2013: A year of highs for BBC Two
Controller, BBC Two
Vicky McClure in acclaimed BBC Two drama The Line of Duty
I’m at the Edinburgh TV Festival today and have just finished my ‘Meet the Controller’ session with Cathy Newman from Channel 4 News. It’s been a chance to look back at what has been a fantastic year for BBC Two as well as look ahead to another exciting year to come. (You can read a summary of some of the points discussed here.)
It has been a year of real highs for the network, winning Broadcast Channel of the Year and MGEITF (Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival) Channel of the Year. BBC TWO also won more BAFTAs than any other channel this year including awards for: 7/7, Murder, Twenty Twelve and Great British Bake Off plus eight RTS Programme Awards. Drama has continued its resurgence, from the acclaimed series Line of Duty, which was the biggest new drama series on the channel since 2005 (peak of 4.2m) to The Fall (4.7m watched the final episode).
Great British Bake-Off (l-r: Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc and Mary Berry)
In factual, one of my guiding principles has been to make the intelligent popular, and the popular intelligent. I believe the success of programmes like Great British Bake Off, Great British Sewing Bee, The Last Days of Anne Boleyn and The Secret Life of The Cat is down to the fact that they are content rich and informative, but also compelling and they ‘feel’ distinctively BBC Two.
‘Talent’ has continued to be central and I’ve been delighted to see the success of new expert presenters such as Joann Fletcher and Michael Scott as well as the on-going popularity of established faces such as Mary Beard, Lucy Worsley, Mary and Paul, Dara O Briain and Brian Cox.
Of course, the DQF (Delivering Quality First) cuts have been challenging, but BBC Two is still ahead of its main competitors in peak, and audience appreciation is as high as ever.
On top of all this, I’ve relished the challenge of taking on responsibility for BBC Four, following the departure of Richard Klein in May. I was Controller of BBC Four for four years, and the channel has always held a really special place in my heart.
My ambition is to find ways to increase collaboration between the channels whilst ensuring that BBC Four retains the unique and distinctive voice that I know its viewers love. Today I announced two examples of this new collaborative approach: a major season looking at the art and music of the 18th century and an exciting science moment taking us closer to the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as a number of other new commissions which demonstrate the confidence and range of both channels.
Over on the BBC Media Centre website, you can find out more about the announcements I made including a landmark factual drama about the countdown to the First World War; a major new season about the 18th century across both channels and new series fronted by Ian Hislop, Lucy Worsley, Kate Humble and Fern Britton.
Janice Hadlow is Controller BBC Two and Interim Controller, BBC Four.
A summary of tweets posted during Janice's 'Meet the Controller' session can be found on Storify.
The BBC Academy will be running free 'EdTalks' sessions throughout the day. More information about those industry sessions can be found on the Academy website.
Danny Cohen introduced the Edinburgh International TV Festival coverage on the About the BBC Blog earlier today.