Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BBC drama chief questions Sky's commitment to homegrown drama

By John Plunkett in Media Guardian:
The BBC drama chief, Ben Stephenson, has criticised BSkyB's commitment to homegrown drama and has labelled as a "myth" the common refrain that US television is better at making drama than its UK counterparts.

Stephenson said Sky's spend on UK drama was dwarfed by the BBC's drama budget and also by the amount the satellite broadcaster ploughs into acquiring foreign shows.

The corporation's head of drama commissioning, writing in the new issue of Radio Times, said US television's "commercial model" meant it would not be able to come up with recent BBC hits such as Sherlock or Five Daughters because they were committed to producing long-run series.


  1. It's worth reading the whole article in the Guardian and I agree with Ben Stephenson. We should also be grateful that Ben, as head of BBC Drama Commissioning, defends the individual writer's voice and vision.

    In a world where writing by template is too often taught and encouraged, it's important to know there's still room for creativity, especially at the BBC.

    Of course we should have long runners as well. But I know I'd rather have three episodes of Sherlock than none. And in television, one size does not fit all.

  2. O'Reilly5:42 pm

    Sky will blow the BBC out of the water. they'll be brave, adventurous, subversive and gobble up audience share.

    The BBC haven't taken a risk in twenty years.

  3. Graham Lester George6:19 pm

    We don't have the domestic audiences to compete with those in the US where productions can make big profits before they're sold abroad. Or the likes of Home Box Office who make their money by subscription. As Ben Stephenson said in his speech a couple of weeks back, we shouldn't try to compete on the same field but do what we do best: authored dramas, short form dramas and short season series and serials. I'd like to see more of the first two though.


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