Charlotte Moore, BBC’s director of content, has revealed a raft of new shows for BBC One, along with outlining the broadcaster’s approach to commissioning programs “in an age of rapidly changing viewing habits.”
At the Edinburgh TV Festival, Moore spoke about how audiences are choosing to watch programs on-demand at a time of their choosing, as viewership for many of the BBC’s shows are seeing an increasing percentage of viewers coming from the days after the first transmission. To address audience needs, the BBC is implementing changes to the BBC iPlayer, making content available for longer, bringing back former seasons when new episodes of a program air and making more use of content from the BBC’s archive.
She said: “We are hugely proud of the programs we’ve had on BBC One this year, but we are aware that we can’t stand still if we are to keep up with what the audience wants. So we are making changes to the BBC iPlayer so there will be more programs available for longer and a richer offer for everyone, young and old. With this in mind, we’re increasingly looking to commission programs that will work across both the linear channels and BBC iPlayer. The exciting commissions we’ve announced today will be a great offer for audiences however they consume them.”
Among the raft of new commissions revealed by the BBC is Roadkill, a political thriller that will star Hugh Laurie (House, The Night Manager). The four-parter for BBC One is about a self-made, forceful and charismatic politician, Peter Laurence (Laurie). Peter’s public and private lives seem to be falling apart—or rather are being picked apart by his enemies—but he is shamelessly untroubled by guilt or remorse, expertly walking a high wire between glory and catastrophe as he seeks to further his own agenda while others plot to bring him down. Roadkill is written by David Hare (Collateral) and produced by The Forge (Collateral, National Treasure, Kiri).
There’s also a brand-new original crime thriller for BBC One, Inside Man, from BAFTA- and Emmy Award-winning writer Steven Moffat (Dracula, Sherlock, Doctor Who). The four-part miniseries, produced by Hartswood Films, follows as a prisoner on death row in the U.S. and a woman trapped in a cellar under an English vicarage cross paths in the most unexpected way.
BBC One has also lined up When It Happens to You, a Studio Lambert production. Its writer Gwyneth Hughes (Doing Money, Vanity Fair) explores the emotive issues around abortion in Northern Ireland and the experiences of families and their loved ones whose lives have been affected by it.
The new drama Ridley Road, written and adapted for television by Sarah Solemani (Barry, Aphrodite Fry) from the novel by Jo Bloom, has been commissioned for BBC One. The 4×1-hour drama will be produced by RED Production Company and BAFTA-winning executive producer Nicola Shindler (Years and Years, Happy Valley, Trust Me, Safe). The thriller is set against the backdrop of a swinging ’60s London we haven’t seen: an East End world where far-right fascism is on the rise. When Vivien Epstein follows her lover into danger and he is caught between life and death, Vivienne finds herself going undercover with the fascists, not only for him but for the sake of her country.
Also announced, Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who, The Thick of It, Paddington) will star in Martin’s Close, airing this Christmas on BBC Four. The standalone 30-minute drama is based on M.R. James’ ghost story of the same name and is adapted and directed by Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, The League Of Gentlemen, Doctor Who).
New comedy Bumps, starring Amanda Redman, will follow the challenges of Anita, a 63-year-old divorcee with two grown-up kids, who decides to have a third baby. Unbeknownst to her, it happens to be at the same time that her 40-year-old daughter Suzanne discovers she is expecting her first child.
In A Royal Road to Wembley: Tackling Mental Health, viewers will follow The Duke of Cambridge as he works in partnership with the FA to launch an ambitious new plan to raise awareness of male mental fitness. The film will follow the narrative of the football season—from the first qualifying round in September all the way through to The FA Cup Final in May—and will show clubs up and down the country tackling mental health issues in their communities.
Following the impact of Climate Change: The Facts, BBC factual will explore the vast number of species of plants and animals that face extinction and the impact of this loss on the planet and humanity. Presented by Sir David Attenborough, the one-hour special Extinction: The Facts is part of the BBC’s ongoing Our Planet Matters season, which focuses on environmental and sustainability issues.