Entertainment and music programmes which encourage young performers and help them realise their potential are very popular with BBC audiences. Such programmes aim to offer prizes which further the careers of the winners. In order to provide such opportunities the BBC needs to enter into arrangements with third parties who are in a position to offer real and substantial opportunities. For example "Howdo You Solve a Problem Like Maria" and "Any Dream Will Do",which drew very high television audiences, gave the winners the chance to take the lead in a West End musical. Other shows have offered concert or touring opportunities to winning contestants. Talent contests for popular or classical music performance, such as "Classical Star", may offer a recording contract to the winner.
When offering recording contracts as prizes for talent shows it is important that there is a fair tendering process to decide which recording company will provide the prize. Such a process needs to be approved by BBC Fair Trading and Editorial Policy. The BBC must always remain clearly editorially in charge of the programme and the recording company must not be in a position to choose the winner. The programme must not be used as a vehicle for promoting the recording company or its products.
It will be necessary to say that the prize is a recording contract, but it is important that the programme is not used as a vehicle for plugging any record release. Any proposal to make on-air references to releases must be clearly editorially justified and should be checked with Editorial Policy.
As far as possible, efforts should be made to vary the companies offering such opportunities across BBC output.
Tours and contracts as Prizes
The choice of touring companies and concerts must be editorially justified and we should not favour one promoter over another. We should take care not to plug the tour or concert on air and any references must be editorially justified.
Winning a part in a professional production
The BBC may enter into a partnership with a production company or an artistic institution or to offer a part in a professional production, such as a musical. In such cases there must be robust editorial criteria for the choice of production. The producer, director or writer of the show, play or opera may be involved in the judging process, but the BBC must retain editorial control. The arrangements for the partnership must be referred to Editorial Policy. A series of safeguards, to ensure that there is no undue promotion of the production on air, should be agreed with Editorial Policy.