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BBC backs arts programming, with 20% boost in TV budget

BBC backs arts programming, with 20% boost in TV budget
News
Pippa Considine
07 October 2013

BBC funding for arts television programmes is to be increased by 20% as BBC director-general Tony Hall pledges major investment in arts programming, with a new pan-BBC arts brand and landmark commissions and partnerships.

The BBC will also relaunch The Space, the BBC’s online partnership with Arts Council England.

The commissions are all in-house productions, apart from a series fronted by Simon Schama from Oxford Film and TV.

Hall said: “Arts programming sits right at the heart of the BBC and is a vital part of who we are. But I want us to be much more ambitious. We need to showcase more of the incredible talent that this country has to offer to the widest possible audiences. It is our privilege and our responsibility to do this.”

A new arts brand, BBC Arts at…, will cover live music, theatre and arts events around the country, including live performance, opening night exhibition guides and interviews with practitioners. BBC Arts at . . .  will feature partnerships with festivals and institutions across the UK, supported by an online product bringing together the best existing content from across the different platforms, supplemented by original, bespoke material.

The BBC will be working in partnership with a range of arts organisations including Tate, the British Museum, the National Theatre and Manchester International Festival.

The Big Picture is a prime time BBC One six-part series showcasing the hidden heroes of British art, proving that you don’t need to be world-famous to create fantastic paintings. Ten passionate amateurs will compete to be crowned Britain’s best artist.

As part of the BBC’s Commonwealth moment in 2014, Andrew Marr will present a  look at the greatest writers from Scotland who carved out a Scottish identity. Across three episodes, The Men Who Invented Scotland will tell the story of three pivotal writers - James Boswell, Walter Scott and Hugh MacDiarmid - who invented Scotland as we know it.

Simon Schama explores the history of Britain through portraiture in five-part series The Face Of Britain. In partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, Schama will explore the power of the portrait, from manifestations of power to expressions of love, from the invention of fame to the self-image of the artist.

Other upcoming arts highlights include Britain And The Sea presented by David Dimbleby on BBC One, a one-off, live performance to mark the National Theatre’s 50th anniversary on BBC Two, a season of 18th century arts and music programming across BBC Two, Four and BBC Radio 3 including a three-part series presented by Lucy Worsley on the Hanoverians, a BBC Two series presented by Amanda Vickery about women in art and a BBC Four architecture moment including a partnership with RIBA.

The Space, the experimental digital arts service developed by Arts Council England (ACE) and the BBC, is to be relaunched in spring 2014 as a new space for artists and audiences to invent and explore digital art.

In a three-year agreement between ACE and the BBC, The Space will build on the success of the pilot which tested new ways of delivering digital art and experiences to the public.

The Space aims to produce new talent and content which other cultural organisations and BBC platforms will want to pick up and showcase. Artists and arts organisations will have the opportunity to submit work through a rolling programme of Open Calls, starting in early 2014, which will encourage new and emerging talent, as well as established artists, to develop their big idea.

Artists will also be supported by associate partners from the cultural, broadcasting and digital world. Conversations are already underway with Arts Council partners in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as the British Council and the British Film Institute.

Alongside the Open Calls, The Space will co-commission large, ambitious digital projects with cultural organisations, creative industry and arts partners, broadcasters, digital commissioners and commissioners within the BBC.

A whole range of arts organisations, large and small, are ready to work with The Space to create new commissions including the British Library, Artangel and Fuel.


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