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BBC to demonstrate renewed commitment to prime time Arts programming and partnerships

16th February 2015

BBC announces major new partnership to boost creativity and participation.

  • BBC to unveil bigger commitment to arts in prime time, with a raft of Saturday night arts specials on BBC Two and new seasons on theatre, poetry and cinema
  • New shows to include a new topical arts series on BBC Two, with guest editors including Maxine Peake, Sunday Times journalist Lynn Barber, Armando Iannucci, and Director of Tate Modern, Chris Dercon; and Artists Question Time on BBC Four

Ahead of a major new partnership announcement between the BBC and UK-wide Arts organisations to encourage creativity and participation in the arts, the BBC today announced a raft of new programme commissions that put creativity and the arts at the heart of the schedule.

The campaign, to be launched next week by the BBC and cultural movement What Next? is a year-long initiative to get more people than ever before inspired to do something creative.

Tony Hall, BBC Director General, says: “I want to put arts centre stage at the BBC. I strongly believe that arts should be for everyone with more prime time arts content on the BBC.

The BBC also needs to play an even greater role in getting the wider public to participate in the arts – particularly young people and children, as creativity can help boost innovation and help forge a life-long passion that can raise aspirations. That’s why the BBC will be forming a range of new partnerships to help that happen.”

The BBC is supporting the campaign with a bigger commitment to arts programming in prime time. There will be Saturday night arts specials on BBC Two accompanied by other content across the BBC with seasons planned on dance, film, theatre and poetry.

Kim Shillinglaw, Controller, BBC Two and BBC Four, says: “We need a new generation of arts programmes on BBC Two that will sit at the heart of the prime time schedule, engage and surprise the public, and be bold in their story telling and ambitious in their content. We will see more drama, live events and documentary. I hope to reach not only those who already love the arts, but also draw in new converts to the joy that the arts can bring.”

The new prime-time content launches this spring with a major new season on cinema in collaboration with the BFI. Film aficionado and lover of the silver screen Jonathan Ross presents The Secrets Of Pinewood on BBC Two; this fascinating documentary will go behind the scenes of Britain’s most iconic studios to bring the extraordinary story of Pinewood to life. Ross will be joined by a host of famous faces who will help open up the studios secrets.

On BBC Four, In Conversation… will present conversations with some of Britain’s foremost actors and directors, filmed with an audience at BFI Southbank. And BBC Four’s flagship arts documentary series Arena presents the first major profile of the great British film director Nicolas Roeg in which he has actively participated. The film examines his very personal vision of cinema as found in his films Don’t Look Now, Performance, Walkabout and The Man Who Fell To Earth.

BBC Arts online celebrates the British movie mavericks – the edgy directors and actors who were determined to do things their way. When the Hollywood studios pulled out of London in the early 70s, the British film industry could have headed south. But determined figures such as Ken Russell, Tilda Swinton, Derek Jarman and Shane Meadows were just some of the Brits-with-brio who went on to enjoy brilliant careers. Mixing filmed opinion pieces and lashings of great archive, BBC Arts tells their stories – when budgets were low but ambitions were high.

Read more on the BBC website