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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 October, 2004, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
BBC 'should do more' for UK films
Bridget Jones' Diary
UK film Bridget Jones' Diary did well at the box office
The BBC says it should look at whether it is doing enough to support the UK film industry.

At a select committee hearing in the House of Commons on Tuesday, the BBC said it was time to "rebalance" the schedule in favour of UK films.

BBC Director General Mark Thompson said the corporation should also think about giving more money to the industry.

The UK Film Council welcomed the BBC's comments, but said any improvements were "long overdue".

'Poor quality'

Mr Thompson said: "British film and the development and support of the British film industry by broadcasters is very important.

"A key part of this is trying to work with the film industry and the Film Council to make sure that the supply of films is going to work with the audiences.

"Over time, I would welcome a chance to show more high quality British feature films and less poor quality American ones."

He said that in the past there had been "little access to the airwaves" for UK films, adding that they planned to increase the number of UK films shown on peak time on BBC One to 70.

In the first half of 2004, BBC One showed just 11 recent UK films - made in the last eight years - just 5% of its total output for that period.

Box office

Mr Thomson added: "One of the questions we need to look at inside the BBC is whether 10m is enough a year (to support the British film industry) or whether we should provide a bigger role."

But he added that low-quality UK-made films should not make it on to television screens automatically.

He said: "A lot does depend on the kind of films that we make. Films that fail at the box office are not successful with TV audiences."

A spokesman for the UK Film Council said: "The public acknowledgement that the current level of BBC investment in development, production, and acquisition of British films is insufficient, is extremely welcome.

"Improvement is long overdue."

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