Your commissioning documentation will specify a slot duration for the programme.
The physical programme you deliver must conform to the actual duration requirements shown below.
Slot Duration: the length of the slot in which your programme transmits eg for Watchdog this will normally be 30 minutes (7.30 - 8pm).
Actual Duration: the running time at which you should deliver your programme The actual duration is less than the slot duration to allow for promotions and previews eg for Watchdog this would be one minute less than the slot duration (29 minutes).
BBC One Peaktime
BBC Two/BBC Four
BBC One Scotland/BBC Two Scotland
BBC One Northern Ireland/BBC Two Northern Ireland
BBC One Wales/BBC Two Wales:
Any slot duration = Actual duration one minute less than slot duration
Actual Duration - Slot Duration
15 minutes - 14 minutes
30 minutes - 28 minutes 30 seconds
45 minutes - 43 minutes
60 minutes - 57 minutes
Other slots - To be advised
(BBC Three has reduced durations to allow for BBC Three news 60 Seconds which will play directly after programmes.)
BBC One Daytime:
Actual Duration - Slot Duration
15 minutes - 13 minutes 45 seconds
30 minutes - 28 minutes 45 seconds
45 minutes - 43 minutes 45 seconds
60 minutes - 58 minutes 45 seconds
Other slots - To be advised
CBBC and CBeebies:
Actual Duration - Slot Duration
5 minutes - 3 - 5 minutes (to be agreeed with the Head of Scheduling)
10 minutes - 10 minutes
15 minutes - 14 minutes
20 minutes - 19 minutes
25 minutes - 24 minutes
30 minutes - 28 minutes
45 minutes - 44 minutes
60 minutes - 58 minutes
Why this is important?
Programme tapes must be delivered at the correct duration, this is essential in order to ensure that schedules can be made to work to time and that key junctions are met (eg with live News).
Programmes delivered which are not at the correct duration will be returned to the programme department or independent company for re-editing to the correct length and will require a new transmission review and copies to be re-run at production expense.
Opening Credit Durations
Opening credit sequences for programmes for BBC Three must not exceed 10 seconds. This should be taken into account when commissioning any music or graphic intended to accompany them.
End Credit Durations
End credit sequences must not exceed the following durations, which should be taken into account when commissioning any music or graphic intended to accompany them:
Maximum credit duration
BBC N. Ireland
25 to 30 seconds
BBC Wales (except Drama)
BBC Wales (Drama)
CBeebies, CBBC Channel
End Credit durations for programmes such as daily quizzes, magazines and continuing sports coverage should not exceed 10 seconds.
They may be longer for first and last editions provided they do not exceed the timings listed. This must be agreed in advance with the Commissioning Editor.
These durations are not targets to be achieved, but maximum durations which must not be exceeded. There may be occasions when the credits can be shorter, bearing in mind the need to ensure credits are fully legible (see Readability). There may even be occasions when credits are not necessary.
UID numbers are used in all BBC commissioning, scheduling and transmission systems for public service channels to track and playout programmes. The UID replaces the Prog ID/Clock number.
It is mandatory that the correct number is used by all suppliers on all submitted tapes (including the programme clock and tape case) and all data forms.
Production must request versions from the transmitting channel. Do not issue your own versions. This will prevent the wrong version of your programme being transmitted.
This number will follow the programme episode for its entire life and is used for all filing, documentation, music reporting, archive and retrieval.
Every programme episode version has its own UID.
UID numbers are available from:
Note: Red Bee Media, BBC Resources (post production), and Information and Archives (I&A) cannot supply these numbers.
e.g. 01 /
e.g. / 01
e.g. 50 /
e.g. / 02
The PREFIX plus CORE NUMBER is called the PROGRAMME NUMBER
The CORE NUMBER plus the SUFFIX is called the UID (PROGRAMME ID NUMBER)
The core number is standard and must be adhered to at all times. It is four letters, followed by three numbers followed by a single letter.
The suffix indicates a version of the episode which has been Technically Reviewed. The suffix 01 is the first version. If a new version of the episode is made after initial version has passed tech review then a new version suffix has to be issued. The suffix will be in the 01-49 range: 01 indicates that this is the first edited version of a complete programme, 02 for the 2nd edited version, etc - these numbers can not be assumed and must be issued by the indie delivery team.
Typical programme ID number with suffix
DRIA419R / 01
Denotes the first edited version of a complete programme
DRIA420K / 02
Denotes the second edited version of a complete programme created after the first version has passed tech review
The rules for the suffix are the same for independents and in-house productions
It is vital that anyone making a new version of a master transmission tape checks on Infax (the BBC tape library system) that they are using the most up to date version of the programme. Producers must note that others (such as Signing) will make new versions of their programmes. Similarly, anyone copying or working on another programme's transmission master must note that productions may have updated or otherwise re-edited the master to produce a new version since the original was made.
The CORE part of the Programme Number and the Programme ID Number will not always be the same. A Programme Number might be used to number a strand or series and different Programme ID Numbers will be used to identify each programme episode within the strand or series. If in doubt, please check with whoever issues your programme numbers.
What the suffix ranges mean:
Rushes, Rough Cuts, Pre Astons and other non broadcast versions
/01 to /49
Broadcast versions on BBC One - Four, CBBC or CBeebies, iPlayer. Must be issued by transmitting Channel using OnAir system
/50 to /65
Version numbers for production to use to deliver material to other commissioning partners e.g. WorldWode, Discovery (not recorded in OnAir system)
/66 to /69
Version numbers for iPlayer Premieres. Must be issued by the Channel team using OnAir systems
/70 to /79
Only used on material already delivered before 19 November 2007 or current commissions that have not already delivered
/80 to /95
Version numbers for UKTV versions (not recorded in OnAir system)
Acquired Programme source tapes Must be issued by Programme Acquisitions using OnAir system
The correct number must be used by all suppliers on all submitted tapes (including the programme clock and tape case) and all data forms.
If any editing is done on a master transmission tape which has been Technically Reviewed and passed "T" status (transmission status), then the suffix on the UID (see above) must be incremented on the clock and all paperwork. If a security copy of the master tape exists its clock and paperwork will also need to be adjusted. This applies even if the edit is onto the same tape.
All edits which affect duration, dialogue (for subtitling) or which are done for legal reasons must be re-Technically Reviewed and a new VHS produced and a new UID will need to be issued.
However, if a programme only undertakes a minor edit, which does not affect the duration or the dialogue, there may not need to be a new Technical Review provided the clock is amended. Those which are agreed by BBC Resources as not requiring a new Technical Review should have this noted on the VTRR (Recording Report) and VHS no new UID is required as long as there are not copies of the original version around. If copies have been made of the original version then no matter however minor the change is a new UID is required.
A dub of a recorded programme which has encoded subtitles added to it should be given a different suffix to the master tape.
PASB recordings will have the suffix of /70 (this will remain if and when it repeats providing it is not edited.)
It is the responsibility of Production to decide which version is to be transmitted, especially when alternative versions exist, and ensure that the VT Clock and paperwork are all 100% accurate when submitted for playout.
TV programmes are numbered and identified for Network and Nations and Regions with a UID.
Now that content is made available on so many more platforms this helps everyone in the programme production chain identify the different versions in the life of a programme. As suppliers to BBC production departments you will need to be aware of this.
The UID is made up of two parts:
Together they make the UID: DRA A479U/01
Only Commissioners will issue UIDs for new commissions. The transmitting Channel will create versions for existing programmes. If a new version is required, the Producer must ask the transmitting Channel to generate and issue it.
Production must not increment the version number.
Programmes which have an old format number will keep that number. If a programme with an old format number is now reversioned then the version element will now increment to a /01 ie a reversion of a /71 version will be a /01.
The new rule is as follows:
If there is no version code below /50 for the episode then indie delivery team will allocate the new version with a /01 suffix.
Example: three versions of an episode exist with the following numbers DRIA413B/71, DRIA413B/72, DRIA413B/73. If this programme is reversioned again it will be given the number DRIA413B/01.
If there is a version code below /50 for the episode then the new version will get the next highest version number.
Example: there are three versions of an episode as follows: DRIA416J/71, DRIA416J/01 and DRIA416J/02. If this programme is reversioned again it will be given the number DRIA416J/03.
The BBC spends over £1 billion each year creating its TV, Radio and bbc.co.uk content. To maximise the value of this content, appropriate media management standards must be applied across all divisions. BBC Information and Archives sets the minimum standards for achieving this and has responsibility for reporting non-compliance.
BBC policy for TV is as follows: a Master copy of all transmitted Network programmes, whether in-house or independent, should be deposited in the BBC Archive within five days of submission (Master and a clone for all BBC one and two peak time transmissions). BBC Regions and Nations output programming may be logged and stored locally but recorded in the central database. All recordings made are the property of the BBC (unless contractual arrangements indicate otherwise) both broadcast and non-broadcast.
I&A are required to keep all transmitted programmes in the Archive for a minimum of five years. In line with the Legal, Historical/Heritage and Charter requirements, transmission tapes that require reversioning must be cloned and the original transmission tape returned to the Archive. New versions can then be reworked from the clone and deposited with the Archive as a new version. The Policy states that all transmitted versions must be maintained in the Archive, regardless of reasons for reversioning.
Additionally, there are critical business reasons for supplying separate instances of each reversion. Primarily this is to ensure legal traceability as to what exactly has been broadcast at any time and to ensure correct versions are made available for future transmissions. Maintaining these versions as distinct, separate entities is an absolute necessity in the digital multi-platform environment - where publication and transmission will require separate 'instances' or versions in order to allow automated delivery. Any blurring of this principle in the current 'tape based' environment will severely hamper the re-use of content in the future.
All production areas must comply to this policy. To facilitate this all programmes that require reversioning for whatever reason should adhere to the following process.
**Where independent production companies maintain their own masters, it may not be necessary to order tape from I&A. You can simply conduct the edit on your master and then submit a copy to I&A of the new version.
Please note: you must not conduct any editing/reversioning on any I&A TX master material as this is in direct contradiction of the BBC policies and obligations.
I&A need to monitor non compliance and will follow up directly where appropriate. Should you have any issues with adhering to this policy please contact Maggie Lydon directly to discuss in advance of any work commencing on any TX masters.
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