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Tuesday, 3 October, 2000, 00:18 GMT 01:18 UK
BBC puts digital vision to the people
BBC television centre
BBC Choice and BBC Knowledge are existing digital channels
The BBC is launching a consultation to find out what the public thinks of its proposals for new digital services for television and radio.

Plans include reorganisation of its current digital television channels to create BBC Three and BBC Four.

Questionnaires will be available from Tuesday and people will also be able to make their views known on the internet. The consultation ends on 17 November.

Greg Dyke
Greg Dyke: "BBC must rethink its structure"
The proposals are dependent on the backing of BBC governors and culture secretary Chris Smith, who will have final approval.

The director general of the BBC, Greg Dyke, outlined his vision of the BBC's future in his speech to the Edinburgh Television Festival in August.

He said BBC Three would include original British comedy, drama and music, arts, education and social action for young audience.

BBC Four would be unashamedly intellectual, a mixture of Radios 3 and 4 on television, based around arts, challenging music, ideas and in-depth discussion.

Two children's services would run on the two channels during the day.

New radio

Five new radio networks would also be created under the plans.

Two would draw on the BBC's music, drama and comedy archives, another would be a black music station plus 5 Live Sports Plus and the Asian Network.

BBC chairman Sir Christopher Bland said the Corporation had a commitment to consult licence payers before starting any new public service.

Sir Christopher said: "These new services are designed to respond to the changes in the broadcasting environment, balance the BBC's analogue and digital responsibilities and will ensure that an even wider range of top quality distinctive programmes will be available to television and radio audiences throughout the UK."

Only digital televisions would be able to receive BBC Three and BBC Four.

But with the "switching off" of analogue TV forecast for 2010, the BBC would then be able to offer four main television channels to all viewers in the UK.

Mr Dyke said the proposed portfolio of services was the amount of channels he believed the corporation could afford.

How the BBC spends its money is the subject of an independent study published by Culture Secretary Chris Smith on Tuesday.

Public scrutiny

According to the report, the viewing public should have greater access to information on how the BBC spends taxpayers' money.

It says the corporation meets its statutory requirements in reporting its accounts, but recommends that it goes further.

The report also suggests that the information is presented in a less technical and more understandable way.

Commenting on the report, Mr Smith said viewers needed to be satisfied that their licence money was being spent wisely.

A spokesman for the BBC welcomed the study, conducted by independent consultants Pannell Kerr Foster.

He said the BBC went further than required by law or accounting standards when revealing how it spent the licence fee.

"Each year we look for new ways to go further still and we will look closely at taking on board the report's recommendations next year," he said

  • The consultation document can be obtained by phoning 0800 011 011.

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    See also:

    28 Sep 00 | Entertainment
    Pop archives get digital airing
    25 Aug 00 | UK
    The BBC's challenges
    06 Aug 00 | Entertainment
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    10 Jul 00 | UK
    Job losses in BBC shake-up
    28 Jan 00 | UK
    Dyke's daunting challenge
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