BBC publishes Annual Plan for 2017/18

The BBC has published its Annual Plan for 2017/18.

Published: 4 July 2017

Under the Corporation’s new 11-year Charter the BBC has an obligation to publish its creative and work plans for the forthcoming year. The Annual Plan is a key document in the relationship between the BBC and Ofcom, and an essential part of accountability to licence fee payers.

As part of this publication the BBC is announcing its biggest investment in children’s services in a generation - an additional £34 million across the three years to 2019/20, over and above existing budgets. The document also contains further information on some of the BBC’s biggest content in 2017, including the major new pan BBC season Civilisations.

Speaking about the Annual Plan, Sir David Clementi, BBC Chairman, says: “This Annual Plan outlines how we will strengthen the core values of public service broadcasting for all audiences - first and foremost through the brilliant year of programmes and services that it describes. And it offers a framework against which the Board will be able to assess the performance of the BBC and monitor progress. We are united as a Board in implementing these plans with one voice.”

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, says: “Our ambition to reinvent the BBC for a new generation is our biggest priority for next year. Every part of the BBC will need to contribute to meeting this challenge. In this plan we set out our creative vision and some of the strategic decisions we will need to take to help us achieve that goal.

"The new funding we’ve announced today for our Children’s services - the biggest investment for a generation - will help us ensure we can maintain our reputation for world-class programmes across our linear channels, but also increasingly offer a personalised online offering for our younger viewers. By keeping our focus on our audiences we’ll be best placed to meet the challenges ahead of us and will ensure the BBC of 2022 continues to serves the whole of the UK.”

The Annual Plan contains information on three areas.

  • The BBC’s creative plans for 2017/18
  • The BBC’s three-year strategy and work plan for 2017/18
  • Each BBC services’ contribution to distinctiveness

More detail about each of these areas is below:

The plan contains information on content across the BBC services. Some of the key content highlights set out in the document include:

  • A year-long season of science and technology programming under the banner of Tomorrow’s World. Taking science out of the lab and into peoples’ homes we will use the biggest scientific partnership the BBC has ever convened to answer the big questions relevant to everyone.
  • Civilisations - a major season across television, radio and online telling the story of art from the dawn of human history to the present day, for the first time on a global scale. A landmark nine-part series on BBC Two will be accompanied by programming on BBC Four, BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4.
  • Continuing to showcase Hull as the UK City of Culture 2017 over the coming months, with hundreds of hours of coverage of Hull 2017.
  • Other anniversaries commemorated this year across the BBC will include the 500th of Martin Luther’s sparking of the Protestant Reformation, the 100th of the Russian Revolution, and the 70th of the partition of India.

The BBC’s three-year strategy and work plan for 2017/18

The BBC’s three-year strategy and work plan for 2017/18
Key announcements include:

  • An additional £34 million invested in BBC Children’s content across the three years to 2019/20, over and above existing budgets. This new investment will enable the BBC to reinvent how it serves its youngest audience in the years ahead. It will fund an enhanced online offer for children, with new forms of content and interactivity. The funding will mean that this can be delivered alongside the BBC’s children’s television channels, CBeebies and CBBC.
  • Data and journalism teams will strengthen the BBC’s capability for interrogation of data, facts and presentation. Reality Check will be expanded and will fact-check the most popular outliers on social media and refute claims if they are found to be false. Work is also continuing with Facebook on how we can be most effective at building trust and reducing the impact of ‘fake news’.
  • The BBC is determined to rise to the challenge of better reflecting and representing a changing UK. The biggest investment in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for decades has recently been announced and will be implemented over the next three years.
  • A key focus will be on personalisation. The BBC’s goal is to provide audiences with a better service if we know who they are and what they might be interested in. Audiences should be able to discover BBC content across all BBC services, powered by sophisticated, intelligent search.

Each BBC service's contribution to distinctiveness

This section covers the distinctiveness of the BBC in a more focused way, by showing how each service will contribute through a combination of Ofcom conditions, BBC commitments and creative plans. Full details of each service are available in the document; however in many cases the BBC has gone above and beyond the Ofcom conditions and set more stretching targets for itself. BBC commitments include:

  • BBC One will continue to broadcast a demonstrably broader range of genres in peak time than any comparable channel.
  • BBC One will continue to broadcast more news in peak time than any other comparable channel.
  • More than 95 percent of BBC Three long-form commissions will be made in the UK.
  • Radio 1 will play a more distinctive mix of music than comparable providers, with a daytime playlist which features a greater range of songs.


Usually the Annual Plan will be published in advance of the year it describes. However, this first year of the Charter allows a period of transition whilst certain documents and policies are put in place. From next year, the Annual Plan will appear before the year it applies to.

The Annual Plan published here is an interim document, and we welcome feedback on it. If you wish to give feedback on the plan please email ideally by the 30 September 2017.

We will publish a final copy of this plan later this year, following publication of Ofcom’s finalised Operating Licence for the BBC.

BBC Press Office

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