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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2004, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
A week in the life of BBC One
By Darren Waters
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Huw Edwards
News is the most common evening programme strand
The BBC has launched a study into BBC One's peak time schedules amid viewer concern about programme quality.
BBC News Online samples a week's scheduling during primetime evening hours.

BBC One is the corporation's flagship channel - it accounts for more than a third of all the broadcaster's programme spending, costing an estimated 812.3m to run every year.

It has more than a 25% audience share across all channels in the UK, but that figure, most notably in homes with digital TV, is dropping year after year.

The channel produces 8,554 hours of television each year, which works out at a cost of about 95,000 per hour. Of course, not every hour of programming on the BBC costs the same and the figure includes all staffing costs.

The make up of BBC One's week*
News - 475 minutes
Documentary - 470 minutes
US film - 410 minutes
Drama - 290 minutes
Lifestyle - 195 minutes
UK film -195 minutes
Soap - 120 minutes
Entertainment - 120 minutes
*Not all programme strands are listed
Taken from BBC One schedule 14 July to 20 July


The corporation is concerned because audiences' perceptions about the quality of BBC television are declining. The channel has pledged to be "the UK's most watched TV channel with the broadest range of quality programmes of any UK network".

The broadcaster has denied there is any sort of crisis at the channel and in the corporation's annual report this week it said audiences judged it to "to be the channel offering the best quality output in 12 out of 22 genres".

But does an average week in the life of BBC fulfil the pledge of having "the broadest range of quality programmes"?

Certainly any viewer who sits down to watch BBC One from 6pm to midnight over the next seven days will be given a range of programming - from news and current affairs to documentaries, films and comedy.


But there are omissions - in the next seven days there is not a single minute of arts programming, not including the 30-minute Top of the Pops slot.

It is a notable absence in a year when the BBC has pledge to produce more arts programming on mainstream television.

Only Fools and Horses
BBC One still repeats comedies like Only Fools and Horses
Unsurprisingly news dominates the schedules - with more than 475 minutes of national and local news across the week.

The channel has been accused in the past of being too populist and mainstream, so it is perhaps surprising to learn that there is almost four times as much documentary content than entertainment programming in the week ahead.

Documentary subjects include the impact of time on plants and animals, the diversity of nature and an undercover expose of criminal behaviour.

British broadcasters have been accused of showing too many US films at the expense of home-grown talent - and the figures for BBC One seem, at face value, to bear this out.


There are 410 minutes of US movies on BBC One compared to 195 minutes of UK films.

55 Degrees North
New drama 55 Degrees North recently started on BBC One
But there is also almost five hours of new British drama and more than two hours of current affairs programming.

55 Degrees North is a highly-publicised new drama series on BBC One, but critics may argue that a new police drama does not count as original programming.

Repeats are part of every TV schedule and BBC One is no exception.

There is one 90-minute repeat of Dalziel and Pascoe in the next seven days and repeats of both Only Fools and Horses and Open All Hours.

The Only Fools and Horses episode is 22 years old, while the Open All Hours episode is even older, first broadcast in 1981.

However, the BBC recently launched a range of new comedy programmes in peak time, so the days of 20-year-old comedies on BBC One in prime time may be numbered.

And with two new executives at the helm of the corporation, there may be many more changes to come on BBC One.


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