BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in:  Entertainment: TV and Radio
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 17:36 GMT
Channel 4 hits out at BBC
Christopher Price
Liquid News would transfer to BBC Three if it goes ahead
Channel 4 has accused the BBC of trying to undermine its bid to fund its own public service ambitions with the proposed launch of BBC Three.

The two channels have been at loggerheads over the BBC's plans for a new youth-orientated digital channel to replace BBC Choice.

The new service is currently in limbo as culture secretary Tessa Jowell again delayed a decision over the channel's fate on Tuesday.


Is it sensible to use 97m of public money every year to mimic existing services?

Channel 4
Channel 4, which initially supported the idea of BBC Three, claims the service will be a waste of the licence-payers money as it is similar to existing channels like E4 and Sky One.

Ms Jowell rejected the initial plan for BBC Three when it was originally submitted last year because it was not "distinctive" enough.

'Unrivalled'

A Channel 4 spokesman said BBC Three would seriously affect its digital offshoot E4.

He said: "The BBC's own research suggests it will take one third of its audience from a combination of Channel 4 and E4.

"Is it sensible to use 97m of public money every year to mimic existing services?"

Tessa Jowell
Jowell wants a distinctive station

Channel 4 also hit back at claims by BBC chairman Gavyn Davies that E4 relies too much on imported programmes from the US.

A spokesman said: "It is wrong to suggest Channel 4 relies mainly on imported programming to serve younger audiences.

"Over recent years we have an unrivalled track record in developing innovative, British entertainment talent including Graham Norton, Smack the Pony, Ali G, Johnny Vaughan and Dom Joly."

'Unjustifiable'

However, the BBC rejected Channel 4's claims as "nonsense".

"It is utterly nonsense to suggest that BBC Three will undermine Channel 4," said a BBC spokesman.


Last year the Former Chief Executive Michael Jackson said 'the BBC's proposed investment in BBC Three... can only help raise the quality and increase the range of digital television'

BBC spokesman

"BBC Three is a distinct proposition and, as the secretary of state said last year, it is right that the BBC should target a younger audience with a specific mix of entertainment, current affairs and news."

The spokesman added that Channel 4 seemed unable to make up its mind about its position with regards to digital TV.

"It is odd that last year the Former Chief Executive Michael Jackson said 'the BBC's proposed investment in BBC Three... can only help raise the quality and increase the range of digital television'," said the spokesman.

"This abrupt change in philosophy is unjustifiable and strange."

On Tuesday, a meeting of the culture and media select committee at the House of Commons heard from cable operator NTL, which is also upset with the BBC's plans.

The company's representatives said it was unfair that while commercial rivals like BSkyB have to pay for their services, current legislation means it has to carry the BBC's services for free.

The BBC has promised intelligent new drama for BBC Three, in the style of This Life and Cops, with a high output of news, arts and education aimed at a 25 to 34 age group.

The BBC launched two digital channel aimed at children this week, CBeebies and CBBC, and will replace BBC Knowledge with BBC Four next month.

See also:

28 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
BBC on top in ratings war
22 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Dyke defends arts on BBC
10 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
Dyke welcomes interactive services
04 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Record investment for BBC
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more TV and Radio stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more TV and Radio stories