Monday 15 March 2010, 10:06
It's been an interesting start to the year for BBC Daytime: A Broadcast award for our WWII-based drama Land Girls, a Strategic Review discussion around a significant increase in daytime funding and then a sideswipe from ex-communications minister James Purnell on the value of BBC Two daytime.I must admit I was more than a bit taken aback by the piece in the Guardian, given the range of what we do in daytime with what are in TV terms quite modest budgets.
Overall, we have around £80 million across both channels, which runs from 9.15am all the way up to early peak slots such as the The One Show on BBC One and Eggheads over on BBC Two, with both channels covering almost every genre you can imagine.
To give you an example of the variety of output in BBC Daytime, last week we had a current affairs series Fake Britain, gaining more than 1.6m viewers at 9.15 in the morning, a tremendous achievement against Jeremy Kyle on ITV1.
This week-long event series saw Dominic Littlewood follow the law enforcement agencies as they confront the gangs responsible for bringing counterfeit goods into the country with often tragic consequences. One of the main aims of the series was to show viewers how to avoid the being duped by bogus products and salesmen, so it's great to see the reaction it has had.
Another example would be Missing Live which starts this week at 9.15am and is paired with a two-week run of the Missing drama, starring Pauline Quirke, at 2.15pm.
The previous series was great to have on BBC Daytime, successfully reuniting many missing people with their families and even being commended in the House of Commons for being exactly the kind of programming only the BBC can provide.
This pattern of pairing afternoon dramas with factual programmes in the morning has been hugely successful for us. When you look at the feedback and audiences to Missing or Land Girls and The Week We Went to War, I'm convinced this is due in no small part to the fact that we've given these events so much space in the schedule, showing how much we believe in them.
BBC Two daytime also has its fair share of events. Great British Menu is about to return at 6.30pm and this year the professional chefs are competing to cook at a banquet celebrating the wealth of produce grown, reared and fished across the UK. Earlier this year, Michael Portillo followed the Victorian guidebook of George Bradshaw in Great British Railway Journeys, which received great plaudits and will return early next year.
I'm pleased that BBC Daytime has been identified in the strategic review as an important part of the BBC's future and if it is decided to increase our level of funding for in daytime, I'd hope you'd see a lot more of this kind of programming across BBC One and Two.
While we might not always get it right, and it would be interesting to hear what you think, I've always thought BBC Daytime's strength is based in the range of what we do and this is ultimately why programmes such as Missing and Rip Off Britain can sit happily alongside Bargain Hunt, Doctors and Eggheads.
Liam Keelan is the controller of BBC Daytime
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