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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK
Spielberg epic loses prime slot
Tom Hanks in Normandy, France
Hanks attended a grand unveiling in France
Steven Spielberg's World War II TV epic Band of Brothers, which was to have led BBC One's autumn offering, has been moved to BBC Two.

The surprise move of the 10-part series was announced as part of the BBC One autumn schedule launch.

Band of Brothers, about the D-Day landings, was co-produced by US cable channel HBO and is the most expensive programme ever bought by the BBC at 7m.


It was decided to move it to BBC Two because we would be able to give it an uninterrupted 10-week run on the channel, which may not have been possible on BBC One

BBC spokesman

But BBC schedulers said they considered the series better suited to BBC Two.

"It was decided to move it to BBC Two because we would be able to give it an uninterrupted 10-week run on the channel, which may not have been possible on BBC One," said a spokesman.

The spokesman denied that Band of Brothers had been moved because it was not mainstream enough.

Dramatic

As the corporation's flagship TV channel, BBC One seemed the natural place for a series as high profile as Band of Brothers.

Spielberg's involvement was a natural headline grabber. Tom Hanks was also involved as producer.

The two previously collaborated successfully on blockbuster World War II movie Saving Private Ryan.

Saving Private Ryan
Hanks and Spielberg collaborated on Saving Private Ryan

The cost of making the series - 87m - made Band of Brothers newsworthy. It is said to be one of the most expensive TV programmes made to date.

On 6 June - the 57th anniversary of the 1944 landings by allied forces - the first programme in the series was shown in a 1,000 seater auditorium beside Normandy's Utah Beach.

Band of Brothers is based on a true story adapted from the best-selling book by Stephen Ambrose.

It traces the dramatic exploits of a US army unit as it fights its way across Europe.

Spielberg filmed much of it in the UK, recreating elaborate sets from across Europe and the US.

But although boasting a cast of 50 speaking parts and 1000 extras, most of the actors are virtual unknowns.

In the US, HBO is noticeably excited about the start of the series on its network on 9 September.

A large area of its website has been dedicated to it for some weeks.

HBO organised the beach screening for the series.

See also:

14 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
BBC unveils autumn line-up
07 Jun 01 | TV and Radio
D-Day unveiling for war epic
04 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
Spielberg accused in movie row
29 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Steven Spielberg: Movie man
24 May 00 | Entertainment
Spielberg calls for UK film 'leader'
05 May 00 | Entertainment
Spielberg sued over Soldiers film
01 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Spielberg's top directing honour
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