Exclusive – BBC Four will continue to be the home of international drama after cost-cutting moves

The channel will still acquire and air international dramas despite the recent cost-cutting measures.

The Bridge

BBC Four will continue as a home for international dramas despite the channel’s recent cost-cutting measures, RadioTimes.com can exclusively reveal.

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Earlier this week, the BBC announced that BBC Four is shifting away from commissioning lots of lower-cost programmes and would instead air archival content, as proposed in the broadcaster’s Annual Plan Report for 2021/22.

However, a BBC spokesperson has since confirmed to RadioTimes.com that BBC Four will continue to acquire and air international dramas, “building on its rich history of bringing the very best drama series from around the world to UK audiences”.

“As we have done in the past, we will also, when appropriate, play international drama on BBC Two and it will continue be a key part of our drama offer on BBC iPlayer,” a BBC spokesperson said.

The terrestrial channel, which currently timeshares with CBeebies, has imported a number of hugely successful dramas over the years, from Nordic noir The Bridge, Danish procedural The Killing and Israeli title Hostages.

BBC Four was established in 2002, becoming a channel for alternative programming within the arts, comedy, documentaries, music and international film and drama.

The channel originated series such as Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe, Detectorists, Only Connect, Twenty Twelve and Hattie, however the BBC announced on Tuesday that BBC Four would be shifting away from commissioning lots of lower-cost programmes as they are “less effective at reaching audiences on the channel and on iPlayer”.

While the channel will continue to broadcast live performances as part of BBC Proms, BBC Young Dancer and BBC Young Musician, and new programming like a behind-the-scenes observational documentary about the Royal Ballet school, it will otherwise “become the home of the most distinct content from across the BBC’s archive”.

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In March, the BBC confirmed that online-only channel BBC Three would be returning to the TV guide in January 2022, as part of the broadcaster’s drive to deliver more value to audiences.

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