BBC HD: Autumn Schedule
There has been a communications lull from me over the summer - although I know that a number of you have been engaging vigorously with Andy Quested's entries about our new encoders, and debating picture quality.
Unfortunately I've not spent the last six weeks with my feet up in hot and sunny places where BBC HD doesn't penetrate - unless a week in Devon experiencing analogue/digital swtichover at first hand in a rented cottage counts. I have been working on a range of issues relating to the future of HD and the BBC.
They don't address entirely the points that many of you regularly raise with me around your desire to see all the BBC channels, and certainly all the programmes you regularly watch, in HD. But the demand for more HD from the BBC has been heard and understood, and this Autumn will see a wider debate within the BBC around the pace at which we can grow our offer to you.
When I started as Head of BBC HD a year ago, I was concerned at what I perceived as the gap between the BBC HD promise - the best content from the BBC - and the reality. I also felt that the channel broadcast was limited and unpredictable.
Those concerns haven't entirely gone away - and as contributors to this blog you frequently remind me of them too. But looking at the Autumn schedule I do feel that we are moving in the right direction and I would hope that you agree.
Returning to the channel at weekends are Strictly Come Dancing (this time, with the results), and Antiques Roadshow. There are channel debuts for Hole in the Wall, Countryfile, Waterloo Road and political satire The Thick of It. There's a range of new comedy, from BBC Two's Home Time, and series two of Beautiful People, to BBC Three's Lunch Monkeys (pictured) and How Not to Live Your Life, as well as the channel's new horror title Harper's Island.
You'll find the majority of big BBC programmes for the Autumn on the channel, including Life, the Electric Proms, Lost Land of the Volcano, Emma, and The Art of Russia. As well as the Doctor Who specials, we'll be showing the animation series Dreamland, and the next Sarah Jane Adventures, and younger viewers may also appreciate the arrival of Shaun the Sheep and new Justin Fletcher (aka Mr Tumble) series, Gigglebiz, which is a bit like Little Britain for under 6s.
I do try to ensure that we look across everything the BBC is doing, to bring you some pieces that can benefit from HD but might otherwise get overlooked. My personal recommendations for viewing in the next few weeks both fall into this category. Land Girls is a great light drama which looks fabulous, with rich colours and landscapes, and which is running through the week starting 7th September every day at 7.15pm on BBC HD, with a repeat run which will be simulcast with BBC One on successive Sundays at 6.15pm.
Crash is a production for BBC One Wales which can currently only be seen across the UK on BBC HD (and of course BBC iPlayer). It begins on the 9th September (09/09/09) appropriately enough for a drama about junior doctors and the issues they face as they move from the classroom to real live medical situations. The writing is really fresh, the young cast do a good job, and the story moves fast to a dramatic conclusion in episode one - subsequent episodes are lighter, and funnier, and each offers a separate story although there are some running threads.
Finally, please don't feel your thoughts/ pleas/ paeans of praise for Top Gear have disappeared into the ether, or into my recycling bin. I really value your contributions to our thinking, and hope to be able to update you very soon. But I also want to work through this Autumn to make it easier to get information about what is on BBC HD when so that I can tackle the frustrations you air around missing programmes in HD or not knowing what is available.
I'd value insights from you about how you decide what you are going to watch and where you get information about schedules (not just for BBC HD) from.
Thank you as ever for the part that you are playing in developing BBC HD.
Danielle Nagler is Head of BBC HD, BBC Vision
Editor's note: Comments about BBC HD picture quality will be considered off-topic for this post. If you wish to continue to comment on HD picture quality, please do so here. (NR)