BBC marks commitment to current affairs

The BBC has promised a boost in resources for news and current affairs in the coming year, which will include a “revival of documentary programming” and fewer lifestyle shows on BBC Two in particular.

Last week, the broadcaster laid out its plans and interpretation of public service broadcasting in the run-up to charter renewal in 2006.

In its statements of programme policy for 2004/ 2005, the broadcaster pledged “a commitment to more arts, current affairs and documentaries in peak time” as both BBC One and BBC Two will each broadcast an extra 10 hours of current affairs programming this year.

BBC Two’s output will include new documentary series on subjects “from terrorism to disability to parenting” and will run in addition to the forthcoming arts and cultural journalism strand from which The Culture Show will launch later this year.

BBC One will focus particularly on consumer programming with its factual output, in the vein of Kenyon Confronts, The Real Story and The UK’s Worst…

series. BBC Four will air a new programme that analyses the UK and international media. And the BBC News website will launch a Quick Guides section this summer, which will offer insight and context to daily news stories.

The BBC’s proclamation of stronger news and current affairs output comes a fortnight after the first phase of Ofcom’s review of public service broadcasting was concluded, in which the regulator stated that the BBC must reaffirm its position as the standard-bearer for high-quality television.

“The BBC is committed to providing something of value to everyone in the UK and this year’s statements show how the BBC is responding to the high expectation of its licence payers with programmes that inform, educate and entertain,” the broadcaster said in its statement.

It added: “To meet the governors’ request for programme plans to be presented in a way that demonstrate how they contribute to delivering the BBC’s public purpose, this year’s statements are framed around a description of how the BBC contributes to society as a whole and people as individuals in five key areas: informing citizenship; enriching the cultural life of the nation; contributing to education; connecting communities; and supporting the UK’s role in the world.”

By Wale Azeez

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