BBC One unveils new weekday documentary strand

The BBC is to broadcast a behind-the-scenes programme looking at the work of libel lawyers as part of a new weekly documentary strand due to launch on BBC One next year.

BBC One controller Jay Hunt told an industry conference in London this morning that a new series of single documentaries would air after the 10 O’Clock News on Tuesday nights starting next spring.

Documentaries already confirmed include a programme looking at the sinking of the Marchioness riverboat in 1989, featuring interviews with people suffering from survivor guilt.

“I want to find a bespoke home for documentaries,” Hunt told the Voice of the Listener and Viewer autumn conference.

“In a way the focus of it is it hasn’t got a focus. I think sometimes historically when you create documentaries there’s a desperate attempt to craft a story to make it fit a strand.

“What I want to do is create a place on the channel where the widest possible range of voices can be heard.”

Hunt also confirmed that BBC One would be introducing more factual science programming next summer, including a new magazine show.

In 2003, BBC One axed its long-running science show, Tomorrow’s World, blaming poor ratings.

“I want to bring science back to a regular slot on the channel,” Hunt said. “Next summer a brand new magazine show with a brand new title featuring a diverse team of presenters will come back to BBC One.”

Hunt said the BBC was in something of a “luxurious” position to continue producing news and current affairs at a time when ITV looks to be retrenching.

“To me that’s not a burden but a real luxury,” she said. “Is there an opportunity there for the BBC? It’s absolutely core to what the channel should be doing anyway and one I embrace whole-heartedly.

“Certainly they [ITV] are doing less of it, yes I think they are. Is that a burden that we pick up? Yes, but I suppose my point is we do it willingly.”

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