BBC and ITV defend Poldark and Victoria head-to-head scheduling

BBC programme chief Charlotte Moore and her ITV counterpart Kevin Lygo say there is not problem in putting the two dramas against each other

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BBC and ITV bosses have defended the decision to schedule Poldark series two against ITV’s lavish new Jenna Coleman period drama Victoria.

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Victoria starts this Sunday night, with another episode on Bank Holiday Monday. But on 4th September, the first episode of Poldark, starring Aidan Turner, will go head to head with Victoria at 9pm.

ITV programmes boss Kevin Lygo said there was room for both shows and defended the scheduling decision.

“Sunday night is a particular place for 9 O’Clock dramas and both [BBC and ITV have a] long and esteemed heritage of costume dramas,” Lygo told the Edinburgh Television Festival.

“Victoria has obviously been a year in the making. If we had run away from Poldark I don’t know what we would have put there. I think they will both do well, they are both really good shows. You can record, there are many different ways to watch these shows.

“And neither of us should give up the land. It would be wrong to the viewers to run away from certain things. ‘Ooh look there’s a really big show we can’t put anything against it’. And so occasionally, and it is only occasionally, there is a bit of a clash with similar shows.”

BBC director of content Charlotte Moore, speaking at the same event, also backed her decision.

“My duty is to the licence fee payers and to our audience and to try and find the best place in the schedule for a piece we know is much loved by the audience is incredibly important.

“I want to put one of the most loved dramas on television in that spot and I think it would be very wrong to move out of that.”

Asked about people wanting to watch them both live, and to engage on social media, Moore said that viewers “have catch up and they can make those choices.”

Whether this cuts any ice with Poldark star Eleanor Tomlinson remains to be seen.

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The actress, who plays Demelza in Poldark, recently admitted that she was “worried” about the scheduling clash.