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DQF cuts: BBC takes daytime risks

The BBC is preparing to take more creative risks in daytime as it unveils its new-look schedule following the Delivering Quality First cuts.

The changes set out last year under the savings programme mean that from the start of 2013, BBC2’s daytime output will be radically scaled back and content will transfer over to its sister channel, BBC1.

Daytime controller Liam Keelan has reshaped BBC1’s schedule from 9.15am to 6pm, over which he will now have nearly full control, as children’s programming moves exclusively to CBBC and CBeebies.

Notable casualties include Cash In The Attic, while Keelan has signed off bulk deals for shows including Homes Under the Hammer and Escape To The Country.

“We have weeded out the stuff that didn’t bring anything new and fresh,” he said, adding that the bulk orders will allow for more experimentation with shorter runs of new programmes.

In the late-morning slots, Keelan will look for “soft current affairs” shows such as Watchdog Daily, while in the early afternoon, drama will play more of a key role.

Daytime is increasingly working with BBC Worldwide to secure funding for scripted output such as GK Chesterton adaptation Father Brown. The BBC’s commercial arm has also put money into WPC 56, a new in-house drama about a female PC in the 1950s.

BBC2 shows including Perfection and Antiques Roadtrip will move to BBC1 later in the afternoon, where Keelan said there was “some money” to commission factual entertainment and formatted shows.

“We want to keep it is as variedas possible - we don’t want to see more than two of the same sort of genre in one day,” he added.

Meanwhile, the BBC2 schedule will be dominated by current affairs in the morning, with the arrival of a News Channel show, such as technology series Click, and repeats of Question Time and Panorama. A world news bulletin will air at 11am, while Daily Politics will be extended to an hour at 12pm.

The afternoon will feature narrative repeats from across the channels, while BBC2 is also set to showcase the corporation’s archive content, starting with David Attenborough’s complete canon of documentaries.

Keelan said he expected viewers to react “positively” to the changes but, overall, he is braced to lose audience share, with any gains on BBC1 offset by losses on BBC2.

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