Last Monday I was at the BBC Drama launch in central London, where Ben Stephenson, the Controller of Drama, set out his plans for the coming year. As well as announcing re-commissions of some firm favourites like Call The Midwife and Death In Paradise, he also outlined details of a new adventure drama for Saturday nights on BBC One called Atlantis, a biopic about Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor starring Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, and confirmed that Doctor Who will be screened in 3D as part of the celebrations of the show’s 50th anniversary. Matt Smith and a host of others feature in the showreel that was screened on the night.

Highlights from forthcoming dramas on the BBC in 2013

Talking of new drama, last year I paid a visit to the set of BBC Three’s forthcoming supernatural series, In The Flesh. On a dark, cold November evening in the wilds of Cheshire, I spoke to the cast and make-up designer, had dinner with a zombie and trekked through muddy woodland to watch the show being filmed, conscious that hordes of the undead might descend upon me at any moment. Sounds like hell, but as a horror fan this was my idea of heaven! All of this material went live on the site last Friday and we’ll be confirming transmission details soon.

Another of my passions is most definitely music. So, I was really pleased to see BBC Two announce a feature-length profile of David Bowie. I’ve been a huge fan of his ever since I first heard 'Hunky Dory' when I was six or seven years old (yes, my parents were that hip!). As well as the documentary the BBC will also have a wealth of other Bowie-related content across radio and television this spring.

Also for BBC Two, Warwick Davis will be returning in a one-off special of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s  mockumentary Life’s Too Short. For those that remember the '80s fantasy film Willow, the fact that Val Kilmer is guest-starring in this episode will make perfect sense. The Hollywood A-lister will be appearing alongside the ‘holy-trinity’ of Keith Chegwin, Les Dennis and Shaun Williamson (best known as ‘Barry’ from EastEnders).

Finally, BBC Four has announced its plans to bid a fond farewell to BBC Television Centre, Controller Richard Klein has confirmed details of a star-studded two-hour celebration of the iconic building. Joining former BBC Chairman Michael Grade in March will be Sir David Attenborough, Ronnie Corbett, Sir David Jason, Jeremy Paxman and many more. Also in the interests of posterity, Google paid a visit to TVC last week to image-map the building. There’s a fascinating blog post from the BBC’s Head of Partnership Development, Bill Thompson, about the initiative here.

 

Ben Murray is Editor of the BBC Media Centre.

Follow @BBCPress on Twitter.

 

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