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Trust says BBC needs to be more ambitious and take more risks

The Trust that governs UK public broadcaster the BBC said the Corporation needs to “harness its scale and size by being more ambitious and taking more creative risks in peak time”. It added that the BBC’s second channel BBC Two should work harder to differentiate itself from BBC One – even if that means losing viewing share.

The BBC Trust was following up on its interim report, delivered earlier this year and in which it criticised the broadcaster for airing too many similar long-running factual entertainment formats.

In its final report, issued today, it says BBC One and Two are performing well in many respects, but adds that its research shows it is disappointing viewers in terms of delivering new and fresh ideas. The Trust pinpointed pre-watershed primetime as one area where there needs to be more risk-taking and, separately, called on the BBC to show greater ambition in the 9pm slot.

Focusing on BBC Two the Trust said: “The clarity of BBC Two’s role as a challenging and distinctive alternative to BBC One has diminished in the multichannel world.” It added: “Its aim should be to re-establish its position as providing something to audiences which is manifestly different from BBC One, even at the risk that BBC Two’s reach may fall.”

“The biggest area of concern in the research we carried out for the review was the need for more ‘fresh and new ideas’,” noted BBC Trustee Diana Coyle. “This is a theme which we have heard consistently from audiences over the past four years, with viewers keen to see the BBC be more ambitious and take more creative risks.”

The full report can be read here.