BBC Two, BBC Four Make Several New Commissions


LONDON: BBC Two and BBC Four have ordered a number of tentatively titled series spanning such genres as drama, factual and comedy.

Titles headed to BBC Two include 37 Days, a factual drama starring Ian McDiarmid, Sinead Cusack, Tim Pigott-Smith, Bill Paterson and Kenneth Cranham; Idris Elba: King of Speed, a documentary about car racing; Countdown to the Rains, hosted by Kate Humble and Simon King; and Ian Hislop’s Olden Days: The Power of the Past in Britain, a three-part factual series. There is also Grow, Make, Eat: The Great Allotment Challenge, presented by Fern Britton; Cats, a three-parter focused on felines; and Napoleon, which profiles the controversial leader. In addition, BBC Two is set to air a two-hour archive comedy special.

BBC Four has lined up the factual series The Lost World of Rapa Nui, The Private Lives of Medieval Britain, Art of Australia and Art of China, led by Jago Cooper, Helen Castor, Edmund Capon and Andrew Graham-Dixon, respectively. The channel has also commissioned Rock Ratatouille, a comedy music documentary, and Amber, a four-part psychological drama.

Other programming commissioned by the networks include a new season of Eighteenth Century, Messiah at the Foundling Hospital, Hanoverians: The First Georges and Cloud Lab.

Janice Hadlow, BBC Two and BBC Four controller, commented: "This has been another fantastic year for BBC Two, winning Broadcast Channel of the Year and MGEITF Channel of the Year. The quality and range of our content has been reflected by BBC Two winning more BAFTAs than any other channel, as well as eight prestigious RTS Programme Awards.

"We’ve seen a number of stand-out hits from Factual, including Secret Life of Cats (watched by over 5m), Great British Sewing Bee (over 3m for the final episode), Last Days of Anne Boleyn (3.71m) and Inside Claridges (series average of 4.3m) and acclaimed dramas such as The Fall, the channel’s highest rating drama series in over 10 years.

"BBC Two remains ahead of its main competitors in peak and audience appreciation remains as high as ever.

"On top of this, I’ve relished the challenge of taking on BBC Four and my ambition is to find ways to increase collaboration between the channels whilst ensuring that BBC Four retains its unique and distinctive voice.

"Today I’m announcing two examples of this new collaborative approach, a major season looking at the art and music of the 18th century and an exciting science moment taking us closer to the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as a number of other new commissions which demonstrate the confidence and range of both channels."