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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 April, 2003, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
BBC cuts back lifestyle shows
Changing Rooms
Changing Rooms is one of the BBC's lifestyle hits

The BBC is to reduce its reliance on lifestyle and makeover programmes in favour of the arts, politics and current affairs.

Director General Greg Dyke said BBC Two's peak-time programmes would see the greatest shift, although lifestyle shows would not disappear altogether.

BBC One would also see "a year of arts landmark programmes as new investment arrives on screen", he said.

The plan was set out in a report called Looking Ahead, which details the BBC's future programme policies for all its services.

The corporation had come under fire for "dumbing down", but has made high-profile announcements of funding for arts shows like Leonardo, which recreates the story of Leonardo da Vinci.

Not all the risks we take will be popular and some of them won't pay off - but we have to try
Greg Dyke
BBC Director General

In the Looking Ahead foreword, Mr Dyke said BBC One and BBC Two would work in tandem to avoid clashes of similar shows.

He said: "BBC2 will also be changing its programme mix in peak time by reducing its reliance on lifestyle programming without, of course, doing away with this type of programming altogether."

Shows like Changing Rooms, Ground Force, Home Front, How To Be A Gardener and What Not To Wear first found success on BBC Two.

New arts shows on BBC One will include a series exploring the world of Michelangelo and a celebration of the life of Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley.

Arts 'myth'

It will also be the home of new culture series Imagine - a revamped version of Omnibus.

BBC2 aims to overturn the myth that "serious music and arts are... perceived as being of limited interest to non-specialists".

The channel will examine the works of Byron and Pepys as well as recreating the composition of Beethoven's Eroica.

There will also be two new politics shows, and "prime-time programmes on international affairs".

There are several objectives set out by the BBC governors in the Looking Ahead document.

The BBC needs to make further progress, especially in the areas of arts and current affairs
Gavyn Davies
BBC chairman

One is "to underpin the BBC's public service remit by extending the range and quality of its radio and television services, with a focus on broadcasting more high-impact, memorable programmes, particularly arts and current affairs".

Mr Dyke said: "We are in the business of taking creative risks to deliver public service benefits.

"Not all the risks we take will be popular and some of them won't pay off. But we have to try."

Chairman Gavyn Davies said: "The BBC continues to provide everyone in the UK with something unique.

Further improvement

"Nowhere else can viewers and listeners find the range, ambition and quality of the services described in the statements.

"Nevertheless, the BBC needs to make further progress, especially in the areas of arts and current affairs.

"We believe that a further improvement in quality and distinctiveness can be achieved."

The BBC said they were committed to giving current affairs show Panorama a regular slot on Sunday nights and four weekday specials.

A new political show will also be broadcast on Saturday mornings to try to attract a younger audience.

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