The BBC is moving its main arts and culture programmes to BBC Two, as it takes on part of BBC Four’s remit.
Investment in arts and music programmes on BBC Two will be doubled over the next two years and commit to up to eight major arts and music boxset series for BBC iPlayer each year. This new commitment will be added to the channel’s remit and published in the next Annual Plan.
Plans to refocus BBC Two first appeared in the 2020-21 BBC Annual Plan. As a result, BBC Four will be turning in to an archive channel, with the addition of specialist cultural programming. It’s part of a wider reinvention of the BBC’s linear TV channels that includes the return of BBC Three in 2022 and the launch of a new BBC One North of England service. Meanwhile, as BBC Two focuses on the arts, most drama will now be split between BBC One and BBC Three.
New on BBC Two
Among the first of a new wave of arts and culture programmes to debut on BBC Two are:
- The Making Of Us: A History Of British Creativity. A landmark seven-part series for BBC Two. It tells the story of 1,000 years of British creativity through a range of seminal cultural works from across centuries. A company of renowned creatives including working artists, actors, poets, commentators and curators explore works of art, literature, music and craft that take us to the heart of seven moments of historic flux, including the Black Death, the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution.
- Mary Beard On Forbidden Art. A two-part documentary for BBC Two this spring, which sees the Professor exploring ‘forbidden’ themes and ideas in art, featuring works from Classical times to the present day. The documentary will consider the many ways artists have engaged with subjects which have been considered forbidden in some way, whether socially, politically or in their physical manifestation.
Other BBC Two shows include a one-off documentary about the impact of blackface on society and a second series of Secrets of the Museum. There will also be a three-part series about the New York’s Metropolitan Museum 150th year.
BBC Four will screen new opera productions, plus the The Leeds International Piano Competition in September and a share of BBC Proms coverage. Under its revised remit, the channel will mainly feature programmes and performances from the BBC’s archives.
The changes mean the BBC is making managerial changes affecting who is responsible for commissioning new content. As a result, arts and classical musical programmes will sit under factual. Patrick Holland will take control of this expanded area. Secondly, pop music will split from the rest of music and become its own area. Lorna Clarke will take the lead for all pop music output across BBC TV and radio.
Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore said:
“The BBC has always prided itself on having a world-class arts and music offer. The BBC wants to build on that to expand the reach of Arts and Music programming and deliver even more unique, high-impact content for the public. Alongside that, we want to be Britain’s creative partner and platform for talent. I am excited about the content we have commissioned and how our new approach will help that reach more people.”