New programming will take more immersive approach to film on the BBC

The BBC today announced refreshed coverage of film across TV and online with two new commissions. The new commissions are intended to enhance existing coverage across BBC platforms, giving audiences a richer and deeper examination of film.

Published: 4 April 2019

In a competitive invitation to pitch process, Somethin’ Else and Little Dot Studios won their first BBC arts commissions to produce film content.

Somethin’ Else will create 5x60’ BBC Four programmes exploring the art of the ‘perfect film’ with Little Dot Studios creating 40x2-4’ weekly online video essays and social media content plus two long form 60’ video essays for BBC Four.

In addition to the new programmes, BBC Four also has plans to bring the nation together to celebrate film with a series of guest curated film nights by exceptional names in the industry.

New programming

The 5x60’ Somethin’ Else BBC Four programmes will explore the art of filmmaking, and will feature key names from in front of and behind the camera, across English language and world cinema films. Little Dot Studios have been commissioned to produce two specially crafted long-form 60’ video essays for BBC Four on key film themes and issues.

The television offer will be supported through intelligent and engaging weekly digital video essays of 40 two-to-four minute films also from Little Dot Studios, which will explore new releases and the latest film debates, criticism and analysis - engaging with online audiences hungry for film content. Short social media content will also be produced for Instagram stories, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter concisely covering topical themes and providing community engagement.

These new programmes are the result of an invitation to pitch process as part of the Compete Or Compare strategy launched by the BBC in 2014, which underlined a commitment to commission the best programmes for audiences, regardless of who makes them.

Scheduling and the BBC’s overall audience offer

The new programmes will form part of a new regular commitment to film programming across the year, taking advantage of key moments in the film calendar (such as the February awards season and the autumn festival season) to create an enhanced and consistent offer for lovers of film on television and online.

This new programming complements the BBC’s existing film offer for audiences, which includes the exhibition of a variety of films across channels and on BBC iPlayer and a wide range of film review, analysis and interview programmes, including;

  • Film talent interviews on BBC One’s Graham Norton Show, The One Show and BBC Breakfast,
  • BBC Two’s Front Row Late,
  • BBC Four’s Secrets of Cinema with Mark Kermode,
  • BBC World News’ Talking Movies programme with Tom Brook,
  • Radio 1’s Movies with Ali Plumb and Screen Time podcast on Sounds
  • Radio 2’s  Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, Steve Wright in the Afternoon and Elaine Paige,
  • Radio 3’s Sound of Cinema and topical show Free Thinking
  • Radio 4’s The Film Programme and topical shows; Loose Ends, Saturday Review, and Front Row
  • 5 Live’s Kermode and Mayo Film Review,
  • 6 Music’s, Lauren Laverne, Radcliffe and Maconie have regular film related guests
  • BBC News Online and Mark Kermode’s weekly BBC News review slot

Lamia Dabboussy, Executive Editor for BBC Arts says: “Film programming is a key part of the BBC’s arts commitment and for this invitation to pitch we asked for fresh ideas to evolve and complement our existing offer across all platforms. Audiences were at the heart of both pitches. The winning bids responded to the changing ways that audiences are consuming film-related content and got to the crux of how films make us think and feel. We now have a consistent and clear strategy for film coverage across the BBC reflecting important moments in the film calendar. The Little Dot Studios and Somethin’ Else bids were the strongest of a number of excellent pitches and I would like to thank all the producers who took part in the process for their hard work.”

Cassian Harrison, Controller of BBC Four, says: “As the home of film on BBC TV we will be the place to explore and delve deeper into key film themes and topics for debate through regular programmed series. We’re looking to bring the nation together twice a year for film nights whilst radio and topical TV shows like Front Row Late on BBC Two will continue to offer their extensive support to new releases, film review and criticism. The compelling online and social offer will complement key moments in the film industry year through intelligently crafted essays and entertaining content.”