BBC Four being cut

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Sitcomfan64

  • Tuesday 30th March 2021, 11:47am
  • England
  • 820 posts

In the BBC's seemingly never ending crusade against paying writers to produce original sitcoms and dramas, BBC Four is being made an archive only channel. Given the list of comedies that originated on BBC, almost all of which were hits, or at the very least critically acclaimed, this seems like a ridiculous decision. I appreciate that BBC 3 is coming back, which I suppose means that some original comedy will be made, but BBC Four was where fare like The Thick of It and Detectorists were allowed to find an audience.

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Lazzard

  • Tuesday 30th March 2021, 11:49am
  • Ludlow, England
  • 5,061 posts

And still there's endless Dad's Army on BBC2.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Wednesday 31st March 2021, 7:21am
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,481 posts
Quote: Sitcomfan64 @ 30th March 2021, 11:47 AM

but BBC Four was where fare like The Thick of It and Detectorists were allowed to find an audience.

But why not on BBC2 where they'd have got a far bigger audience they deserved? I remember watching Detectorists all the way through and thinking 'what the hell is this still doing on BBC4?'.

It's a great little channel for docs and reruns of old sitcoms like YM and TFARORP and that's what it should stick to, so the Beeb have finally got something right. :O

Or have they? I wouldn't stop making original docs for it, that has been its main success imo.

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Aaron

  • Wednesday 31st March 2021, 8:56am [Edited]
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,810 posts

Yesterday's Guardian report - or at least its headline - is, I must say, not quite what I understood of the BBC's plan when it was published on Monday (http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/reports/annualplan/annual-plan-2021-22.pdf).

The Beeb actually talk about moving to more "series of scale" in the arts and music genres, and that "This approach will necessitate a shift away from commissioning a high volume of lower cost programmes on BBC Four, which are less effective at reaching audiences".

Thus, "BBC Four will become the home of the most distinctive content from across the BBC's archive. It will also remain the home for performance, such as the BBC Proms, BBC Young Dancer and BBC Young Musician. It will continue to showcase arts and music acquisitions and maintain its unique role in partnering with arts institutions."

(Indeed, the plan to move the bulk and focus of such original programming from Four to Two was outlined in May last year, so even that is not news.)

So explicitly not an archive-only channel, but certainly more archive-focused. Comedy-wise, if that means more under-seen gems from the archive being aired, that's no bad thing in my book; whilst I'm sure it was announced at least two years ago that they would be cutting their comedy commissioning to effective zero. Indeed, they only broadcast one single half-hour of new comedy in the whole of 2020 (A Year In The Life Of A Year).

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jsg

  • Wednesday 31st March 2021, 5:39pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 454 posts
Quote: Alfred J Kipper @ 31st March 2021, 7:21 AM

But why not on BBC2 where they'd have got a far bigger audience they deserved? I remember watching Detectorists all the way through and thinking 'what the hell is this still doing on BBC4?'.

There doesn't seem to be much of a difference between the comedy of Two and Four, no, and Detectorists is basically the only original comedy from BBC Four that didn't go there after the first series. It seems a bit pointless.