Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 13:33 UK

Culture Show gets 'enhanced role'

Lauren Laverne and Mark Kermode
The programme is presented by Lauren Laverne and Mark Kermode

The Culture Show will be extended to 50 minutes and moved to a 7pm weekday slot in a revamp of BBC Two's arts schedule.

In addition to the weekly programme, six hour-long documentaries will be made under the show's banner.

Controller of BBC Two, Janice Hadlow, said the revamped strand would "offer more authority and sometimes, too, more surprise in its coverage"

The team responsible for The Culture Show will also produce Newsnight Review after its planned 2010 move to Glasgow.

Speaking at the launch of BBC Two's spring and summer schedule, Hadlow confirmed that current Newsnight Review presenters Kirsty Wark and Martha Kearney would stay with the programme.

Expanded appeal

The discussion show will be called on to "extend its remit beyond pure review" although the exact details of the new format are still being worked out.

The Culture Show was originally launched in a 7pm weekday slot in 2004 before being moved to Saturday nights and then to Tuesdays at 10pm.

Hadlow said the programme, currently presented by Lauren Laverne and Mark Kermode, "had done a wonderful job in attracting the interest of younger viewers; now I hope it can expand its appeal".

The first two programmes in the new series will come from the Manchester International Festival, with three later programmes from the Edinburgh International Festival.

A poetry season will also form part of BBC Two's new arts coverage.

Among the planned programmes, Armando Iannucci will present a documentary about John Milton, while Simon Schama looks at John Donne.

Goldie took second place in the BBC's Maestro competition

Musician and artist Goldie has been commissioned to write a seven-minute piece for the Proms on the theme of evolution, while Charles Hazlewood fronts a major new series on British classical music.

New comedy

Several programmes will have a space theme to tie in with the 40th anniversary of the moon landings - including a James May fronted documentary and a new drama, Defying Gravity, about astronauts on a mysterious mission.

The channel announced several new comedy programmes including a comedy serial, Psychoville, made by The League of Gentlemen's Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton.

Sean Maguire and Matt Lucas face off against each other in a fantasy series called Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, while war reporters will be the butt of the jokes in Taking the Flak.

Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson's spoof phone-in host Gary Bellamy will transfer to television after a successful run on Radio 4 and sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Look will return for a third run.

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