BBC programming chief Charlotte Moore plans to place factual programming at the centre of the BBC Two schedule, as the debate over ‘distinctiveness’ at the UK’s pubcaster rages.
Moore recently became controller of BBC TV channels and iPlayer, replacing Kim Shillinglaw at BBC Two, and plans to put factual “proudly at the heart” of the UK free-to-air network, ahead of entertainment, drama and comedy.
Moore said the rebooted factual entertainment series Top Gear was “looking fantastic” ahead of its May debut, but added: “I want to embrace all the specialisms from science, history and religion to current affairs, natural history, documentaries, music and the arts.”
The network should, she said, “be the flagship channel for contemporary arts and music – part of the major increase in music and arts spending we have made across all of television in the past few years”.
Moore, who was named controller of BBC One in 2013, comments came at the Voice of the Listener & Viewer event in London, in which she suggested restructuring and “new systems” at the UK’s pubcaster had inevitably ended in management-level redundancies .
The comments come ahead of a government White Paper next month, which will make recommendations on the future governance of the BBC. Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has at various times in recent years called into question the BBC’s distinctiveness, highlight formats such as entertainment show The Voice.
Moore referenced a new BBC report that highlighted around three-quarters of 200,000 respondents thought the organisation’s programming was “high-quality and distinctive” and that more than four-fifths believed it service the audience well.
“Because of the unique way we are funded, through the licence fee, we have the unique privilege of creative freedom,” said Moore. “We don’t need to be led by the market – by what has worked before or by what people think might work next.
“We can be led by creativity – by giving the country’s best creative talent the freedom to pursue their best creative ideas. Yes, it means risking failure – but that is part of aiming for the best. It also means programmes that are defined by their ambition: to take risks, push boundaries, try new things.”