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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 February, 2004, 10:53 GMT
BBC invests 8m in arts coverage
Jana Bennett
Jana Bennett, director of television, recognised a weakness in arts coverage
The BBC has unveiled an 8m drive to improve arts in primetime, resulting in an extra 50 hours over 18 months.

It should mean a move towards producing more contemporary arts and culture shows on BBC Two and Four.

BBC Two is to introduce a strand provisionally titled The Culture Show, which could cover everything from Hollywood to the Elgin Marbles.

The BBC has previously been accused of "dumbing down" its arts coverage with popular shows such as Rolf on Art.

"We've been strong on arts and documentaries and on landmark series, but coverage of contemporary arts and culture in Britain is an area where we're not doing enough," Jana Bennett, director of television, told an audience at the Royal Television Society.

"This extra funding represents the biggest single investment in the arts in British TV and will open to the audience to the very dynamic arts scene that's across the UK."

The newly-formed topical arts journalism unit will produce the programming, including short films, discussion, reports and reviews.

The loss of The Simpsons from BBC Two - which switches to Channel 4 - will free up space for the new output.

There is also likely to be a reduction in lifestyle and light factual shows.

Existing arts programming including Newsnight Review, Imagine and The Arts Report will continue.

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20 Sep 02  |  Entertainment



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