Thursday, November 4, 1999 Published at 20:49 GMT
Quality first for BBC One
BBC One: Committed to a wide variety of programming
BBC One is to put quality programming first - and cut down on docusoaps - after an in-depth review of the channel's output by BBC executives.
The review, led by the corporation's director of television, Alan Yentob, said BBC One should show a broad "range and diversity" of programmes while still providing popular shows.
It says it should support and showcase programmes which are not seen on commercial stations - and innovate in genres which can already be found elsewhere.
The BBC said it should "offer the broadest range and richest genre mix of any broad appeal television network in Britain," including during the peak hours.
It also said BBC One should have a portfolio of "landmark programmes" across all genres, commit itself to "innovation, risk taking, and nurturing new on and off-screen talent".
Yentob said: "This review is designed to guarantee BBC One's commitment to genuine range and diversity. We are determined to be both adventurous and ambitious.
The review also states BBC One is the channel of "national events", and commits the channel to clearing its schedule for two "major and topical" debates each year.
It also promises a wider mix and range of factual programmes with less docusoaps, and "landmark programmes" to follow in the footsteps of The Human Body and Walking With Dinosaurs.
The channel is committed to taking risks with entertainment and sitcoms "in a way that no other broadcaster would or could", following the success of shows like The Royle Family, transferred from BBC Two.
A relaunch for childrens' programming and a commitment to the arts are also included in the review.
Despite "increasing competition", the review also commits BBC One to "a wide portfolio of sports".
The channel's controller, Peter Salmon, who was also on the review panel, said: "This adds up to a package of changes geared to meeting BBC One's responsibilities in the era of digital and internet choice.
"The review has been an extremely useful exercise. It has allowed us to stop the carousel and really assess what we want BBC One to be in this new broadcasting world."
He added the commitments showed the "widening gap" between BBC One and its rivals and accused ITV of showing little more than soap, entertainment and drama at peak times.
Despite the emphasis on quality over ratings, there is good news for Peter Salmon in the latest audience figures.
They show that in the week ending 24 October, Walking With Dinosaurs was the UK's most-watched programme, with 17.96 million viewers. All three episodes of EastEnders that week beat ITV's top-rated shows, Coronation Street and Heartbeat.
TV and Radio