BBC Director of Television, Danny Cohen, today announces the next steps in his plan to make BBC Television the very best broadcaster and producer in the world.
Focusing on the creative health of in-house production at the BBC, the plans will energise creativity, support creative talent, and improve in-house production’s ability to compete in a global market.
Creativity and Innovation
To raise the profile and status of development within BBC Television, Cohen is introducing ‘Creative Labels’ built around ‘a creative entrepreneur’ who comes up with innovative and big ideas. Working with a small, handpicked team, they will be encouraged to focus on delivering ground-breaking, world-class content.
Labels will be led by creative, commercial, slot or talent strategic needs. They will be fluid and encouraged to roam across commissioning boundaries, operating for two years with the option of renewal. Labels will be identified by Production, Commissioning and Channels and managed by a ‘home’ Genre Board. This will be a new way to reward stand-out creativity at a senior level, free from administrative or people management responsibilities. The initial Creative Labels will be announced over the coming months.
Cohen says: “At the heart of this idea is a desire to change the relationship between creativity and status and seniority in BBC Television. Up until now, in the BBC you have had to become a manager to gain status and seniority. The Creative Labels aim to change that and give creativity a higher profile in BBC Television.”
World Class Development
To raise the status, visibility and ambition of development within BBC Television, Cohen is launching and sponsoring ‘Development Central’, a new centralised unit for in-house production.
Led by a high-profile creative, Development Central will focus on unscripted ideas across Factual, Factual Entertainment and Formats and Entertainment. The Innovation Unit, Format Lab and iCreate will all come under its umbrella. Development Central will complement the existing genre development teams, providing a resource to draw on and playing a key role in growing the next generation of creative talent at the BBC.
to the Creative Leadership of BBC Production
As the content production business becomes increasingly global, it is no longer realistic for one leader to manage the broader scope. Following Pat Younge’s recent resignation, the role of Chief Creative Officer will now be replaced with two leadership roles: Controller, Factual and Daytime, and Controller, Fiction and Entertainment.
two clear leadership roles will focus on the unique challenges of different
genre areas, strengthening the overall performance of in-house production.
Reporting directly into Cohen, they will also sit on the Television Board. The
Controllers will focus on growing the production business in the UK and driving
creative renewal across the genres. They will also lead on a more collaborative
relationship with BBC Worldwide as part of a more coherent production strategy
around the world. As the position of
Controller, Factual and Daytime already exists, Natalie Humphreys will continue
in the role, taking on the additional global remit. The vacancy for Controller, Fiction and
Entertainment will be advertised shortly and will lead across Drama,
Entertainment and Comedy Production.
with the Stephen Lawrence Trust
Cohen is also launching an exciting new partnership with the Stephen Lawrence Trust to train new talent in broadcasting and production skills. Later this year, 20 socially diverse, BAME individuals will join the BBC at the beginning of their career. The scheme will complement current initiatives The Mama Youth Project and the Apprentice scheme, and together will provide a clear pathway to entry-level employment at the BBC.
All new joiners to Television will also get an invitation to join the First Year Club. The club will provide a range of events for new staff from networking opportunities to masterclasses and opportunities to hear from senior leaders about Television and the wider BBC. The scheme will provide a way for new joiners to learn about the BBC, meeting a range of people from across the division.
Places - Back to the Floor
To ensure senior leaders across Television keep learning and understanding the challenges and issues faced by staff across the division, Cohen is introducing ‘Back to the Floor’, an initiative to encourage the Senior Leadership team to get back to their grass roots by taking opportunities to spend the day with production or other teams across Television.
Cohen says: “Creative brilliance is at the heart of our future success, and development is absolutely integral to the future growth of BBC In-house productions. The very best television starts with a brilliant idea, yet our current structures can stifle the energy and creativity of individuals. These new plans, including the launch of our Creative Labels and a dedicated investment pot of £2 million to super-charge development, will raise the profile and importance of creativity and development within BBC Television. I’m confident it will lead to even more outstanding and high-quality content over the coming years.”
These new plans, including the launch of our Creative Labels and a dedicated investment pot of £2 million to super-charge development, will raise the profile and importance of creativity and development within BBC Television. I’m confident it will lead to even more outstanding and high-quality content over the coming years.”