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Wednesday, September 16, 1998 Published at 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK


BBC sets out pledges

The BBC Chairman, Sir Christopher Bland, has made five new promises to licence-fee payers.

The corporation promised it would aim to:

  • provide something of value for everyone
  • maintain the highest standards
  • be run efficiently in the interests of licence-fee payers
  • be universally available and accessible
  • be accountable and responsive to viewers' and listeners' needs.

[ image: Sir Christopher Bland:
Sir Christopher Bland: "The BBC applies the highest standards"
Sir Christopher said the BBC had met 60 of the promises it made last year but judged it had fallen short of three and needed to improve on an equal number.

A key failure was the promise to represent all groups accurately and avoid reinforcing prejudice.

This was not fulfilled because of the EastEnders Ireland specials last year, Sir Christopher said.

The other promises not met were pledges to spend one-third of the BBC network budget outside London and the south-east and to ensure that at least eight in every 10 hours of television programming was British-made.

[ image: The BBC says it wants to listen to licence-fee payers]
The BBC says it wants to listen to licence-fee payers
He added: "This is our third attempt to state our promises. I think we are getting better at this process.

"The first document was wordy and rather diffuse - this is focused and more clear."

Will Wyatt, Chief Executive of BBC Broadcast, said: "The BBC applies the highest standards of quality, taste, decency, impartiality and integrity to all its programmes and services.

"While we sometimes fall short, we continue to set the standards and continually raise the benchmark."

The BBC also made 12 other specific promises for the coming year:

  • to increase the strength and popularity of drama series and sit-coms
  • to increase the impact of television arts programming
  • to refine Radio 1's mainstream music policy to ensure it appeals as strongly to young women as to young men
  • to monitor the changes to the Radio 4 schedule and refine them where necessary
  • to devise programmes to respond to devolution and political change in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • to represent all groups in society and avoid reinforcing prejudice
  • to increase the appeal and impact of BBC Online services
  • to explain new digital services and how to receive them
  • to maximise the cash flow benefit to the licence fee payer from BBC commercial services
  • to increase subtitling to 55% of programming on BBC1 and BBC2
  • to make it easier for listeners and viewers to get in touch with their opinions
  • to report back on performance and how it meets the BBC's promises.

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