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BBC Two - ancient Rome to London in the fifties

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Janice Hadlow Janice Hadlow | 18:00 UK time, Friday, 26 August 2011

I've just finished my 'Meet the Controller' session at the Edinburgh TV Festival where I was interviewed by Kate Silverton. It was a chance to reflect on what I think has been a really good year for BBC Two. We screened some of the highlights and you can see them in the video.

There's been an amazing resurgence in drama and comedy, with programmes like The Hour, The Shadow Line, Crimson Petal and The White, The Trip and Episodes. We've proved that quality can rate with programmes like Wonders of the Universe, Stargazing Live, Battle of Britain, and we've not been afraid to tackle sensitive subjects in factual programmes, for example Terry Pratchett Choosing To Die and the recent Life Of Muhammad series. We've also nurtured some really engaging and authoritative new presenters on the channel, like Mary Beard, Amanda Vickery, Brian Cox, Lorraine Pascale and Ben McIntyre. We've won five RTS awards and five Bafta awards this year across the range of genres and I'm pleased to say that BBC Two share is up in peak so far this year, which suggests that viewers like the direction that the channel is moving in too. Thank you for all your support.

If you look at what has worked over the last year you can see what the channel needs more of going forward, and this is what we were talking about in the session. I was pleased to be able to announce that The Hour will be returning - a programme that has had tremendous impact and has seen its audience appreciation figures rise over the series. We have agreed with writer Abi Morgan that the next series will be set ten months later and it will be interesting to see how the plot develops. You can read more about it on the BBC Press Office web site.

I'm also delighted that Mary Beard will be returning to the channel with a three-part series on Rome. Following her ratings-busting first appearance on the channel with a one-hour documentary on Pompeii, we have persuaded her to put academia aside for a few more months in order to make a series for us on what life was like for ordinary people in ancient Roman Society. Mary is a wonderfully engaging and charismatic communicator, with a wealth of knowledge on her subject - always compelling, always passionate, she's a joy to watch. There's more about the new series in the press release and if you'd like to know more about our forthcoming programmes, take a look at our summer and autumn press pack.

Janice Hadlow is Controller of BBC Two

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