BBC must take more risks says Trust in annual review

Main BBC channels get a largely clean bill of health but programme makers are told that the public wants more shows that are “fresh and new”

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BBC television still needs to take more risks, according to the Corporation’s annual review which points out a “performance gap” between the public’s expectations of the level of risk taking and what is being delivered.

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“Those viewing BBC television are increasingly rating it as ‘fresh and new’,” states the report by the BBC Trust, published today. “However, there remains a performance gap in the public’s broader view of the BBC in this respect and qualitative research we undertook for Charter Review suggests that there is still a public appetite for the BBC to take more risks in its programming and offer more original and innovative content.”

BBC1 remains the most watched channel in the UK, the report notes, reaching 72% of British people each week – down slightly from last year’s figure of 73%. Its average Audience Appreciation or Audience Index Figure [AI] is 80 for the year.

The report cited new dramas Undercover, The Night Manager and Doctor Foster as major successes, alongside returning shows Happy Valley and Call the Midwife.

BBC2 is watched by 46% of people in the country, a figure which is also down one percentage point from last year’s figure of 47%. It’s AI figure for the year is 81.9.

The report notes that BBC4 is the channel which is best rated by viewers, scoring an average Audience Appreciation score of 83, with 84% of its viewers telling the Trust that its programmes are “fresh and new”. A lot of its success was due to foreign dramas The Bridge, Trapped and The Young Montalbano series, the report notes.

Overall the BBC’s TV channels had £1.648.3 billion pounds spent on them in the twelve months to April 2016.

BBC1 had the lion’s share – £1.052.5bn – with BBC2 getting £399m, BBC3 £52.9m and BBC4 £44.2m.

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CBBC had £70.6m spent on it with CBeebies £29.1m.