BBC Managing Director welcomes proposals for ‘distinctly British’ content | BBC

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The BBC chief executive has embraced the idea of ​​requiring broadcasters to produce ‘distinctly British’ content, after losing UK talent to rich streaming services.

The likes of Netflix have invested huge sums of money in producing UK-based programs and hiring UK creators, but their shows generally have to appeal to an international audience. This can often result in dramas such as Sex Education which are filmed in the UK with UK actors but have American characteristics and your.

Last week the government announced it would introduce legislation requiring UK public service broadcasters to broadcast ‘distinctly British’ programming. They said otherwise the programs could become “indistinguishable from those produced elsewhere and less relevant to the British public”.

Former Culture Minister John Whittingdale presented Only Fools and Horses, The Great British Bake Off and Coronation Street as shows reflecting Britain.

Tim Davie told the Culture Select Committee that he was not sure whether such a rule was written into law, but broadly welcomed the approach: “Overall, the protection of British dramas and locally produced dramas with locally produced stories is vital. I also think this is where we are most powerful as the BBC.

Davie said the government’s promotion of Britishness could be a counterbalance to the “fully globalized algorithmic” ordering of TV shows by the streaming companies: “I in no way associate this with a flag or a flag. editorial control ”.

He suggested that shows such as Call the Midwife, Small Ax and Michaela Coel’s Emmy-winning series I May Destroy You – which she wrote for the BBC after turning down Netflix – were examples of BBC programming. typically British: preventing you from being a worldwide success. Normal People is stronger because of its location.

The cost of producing high-end dramas has skyrocketed in recent years, driven by insatiable demand from streaming companies trying to capture market share. As a result, the BBC and other UK broadcasters will increasingly team up with a global streaming company to share the ever increasing costs of creating programs.

Yet this inevitably involves the relinquishment of some editorial control and risks losing talent. The BBC encouraged Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge to huge success, only for her to sign a huge deal with Amazon. Davie said it was a growing challenge: “If you are a successful writer, actor or director the demands on you have never been greater and there are opportunities for transformational wealth. The BBC must do things differently from other players.

Davie also said the BBC is increasingly choosing to retain UK streaming rights to its popular shows for the iPlayer service, meaning BBC shows are less likely to appear on Netflix. .

As the government prepares to announce how much the BBC can charge for licensing fees over the next five years, Davie has said the company urgently needs at least a small increase from the current £ 159 per year to stay competitive: “We have grown 1% this year and are down 30% in real terms since 2010. We need to make sure we don’t take this service out because then we’ll go into a spiral if you don’t. don’t have the investment.

Davie was seated next to BBC Chairman Richard Sharp, who said he was baffled that so much about the broadcaster’s inner workings had been leaked to politicians and the media: “There seems to be a culture, which I was certainly not used to. in the private sector, free communication on confidential matters.


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