Proposed BBC Four changes
As part of the BBC’s Annual Plan, under proposals submitted to Ofcom today, most of BBC Four’s original programming would switch to BBC Two, with BBC Two becoming the home of the BBC’s specialist programming
“BBC Two will become the home of the BBC’s specialist programming with a renewed focus on premium and distinctive factual content from documentaries, science and history to the arts, music and religion – helping audiences to discover and understand the world in all its complexity. It will remain a mixed-genre channel that will provide a vital creative pipeline to BBC One for scripted and factual entertainment content in order to grow the hits of the future and continue that strong and successful tradition. BBC Two will be enriched by taking the best of BBC Four’s originations, giving these programmes a bigger shop window”
The BBC is considering plans to turn BBC Four into an archive channel, which would be also be available internationally. BBC Four would be converted to an archive channel, bringing together collections of content from the BBC’s programme library. The channel will still showcase arts programming.
BBC Four will increase focus on bringing together collections of the most distinctive content from the BBC’s rich archive. Arts will continue to be a centrepiece of Four as we carry on showcasing Culture in Quarantine through this period. Outside the UK, we are exploring potential commercial opportunities for BBC Four to become a new global subscription service that takes our strengths in specialist factual to the world stage.
While the new BBC Four service would continue to be available in the UK as part of the licence fee, outside of the UK, the BBC has confirmed it’s exploring “potential commercial opportunities for BBC Four to become a new global subscription service”.
However the BBC is considering the case for bringing back BBC Three as a regular TV channel, four years after it was taken off air and moved online. The youth channel, which commissioned hits like Normal People and Fleabag, will also have its budget doubled.
It left linear TV in 2016 to save £30m, and because the corporation said young people were watching more shows online.
The BBC now says it is “considering the case” for returning the channel to “linear television”.
A BBC spokesman said “we’d be wrong not to back a service that is doing better than anyone could have ever conceived”.
The corporation warned that putting BBC Three back on TV will mean reductions in other areas, especially as the BBC’s income has been reduced by £125 million during the coronavirus outbreak.
But it says those decisions won’t be made until the autumn when there is a clearer picture of the BBC’s finances.
However, the BBC did say it had no plans to close BBC Four at the moment.