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BBC Four - curating content on-air and online

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Richard Klein Richard Klein | 13:00 UK time, Friday, 26 August 2011

Thank goodness my interview at the Media Guardian International TV Festival is over. It's always slightly terrifying and good to get some fresh air afterwards, but actually Penny Smith, who was interviewing me, was delightful. Hopefully the audience found it an informative and lively session.

Naturally there was quite a bit of interest in what the future holds for BBC Four post-DQF (Delivering Quality First). While there are no final decisions yet, there's one thing we do know: we've all got to take our share of cuts. Of course no one welcomes being cut back and it will bring changes. I'm not at liberty to talk about it what these changes will be yet as we don't know the outcome, but I promise I will do everything in my power to keep the essence and spirit of the channel - appealing to people who love to think, be entertained on every subject and who enjoy a channel that has an opinion and offers perspective.

In my session, I was keen to talk further about BBC Four's new role as the curator of content online as well as on television. It was recently announced that BBC Four will be the gateway through which audiences can explore the rich heritage of BBC TV programming. BBC Four's collections will be curated around seasons/themes, something I think we are very good at, and will take the viewer on a deeper journey through the subject via the BBC's extensive archive, with content from all genres and channels. Today I announced our first 'collection', which will be around the channel's Army Season in September. We've managed to find some amazing gems from the archive which chart the British Army from the 1950s to 90s, brought bang up-to-date with our programmes that form part of the season on BBC Four.

You can read more about our new 'collection' on the BBC Press Office web site, where we also announce a new arts series for BBC Four, Art Noveau, which explores the short but brilliant life of this movement at the end of the 19th century. I also announced two 90-minute film adaptations of Alan Furst's novels, The Spies of Warsaw - yes, I am still commissioning drama on the channel. The video is the one I showed in my 'Meet the Controller' session at the conference, which features some of our recent successes and offers a sneak preview of The Killing 2. (Talking of The Killing, I hope you are managing to catch our repeat showing of the first series which is stripped across the schedule at 10pm, continuing until 15 September.)

Richard Klein is Controller of BBC Four


  • Comment number 1.

    Chin up, old fruit. I'm pleased to see you are trying to put a brave face on the impending cuts to what is the most distinctive BBC TV channel. Your message subtexts of 'curating' and 'heritage' indicate BBC4 will be very much poorer than it has been up till now. Looks like you've drawn the short straw to bolster the ailing BBC2 (particularly on drama).

    I think the BBC has completely lost its public service broadcasting balls. If I were god, I'd butcher BBC1, which costs over 20 times what BBC4 does.


  • Comment number 2.

    I am a documentary fan and respect the work that BBC4 has been allowed to do over the last few years, but my skin crawls at the thought of "curator of content" as a mission statement of any kind. This kind of phrase is the business speak death knell of impartial thinking.

  • Comment number 3.

    What on earth is going on at the BBC? All the good things the Beeb does - BBC4, 6 Music, F-One coverage are being cut or under threat, while money is pumped into absurd department relocations, tired, dumbed-down talent shows and lame 'comedies'.

    I hope the BBC4 budget is not too severely slashed - it's just about the only thing left worth watching that the BBC currently serves to us license payers.


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