“iPlayer is not just a catch-up [service] anymore – we need to keep up with the way audiences are consuming television,” said BBC Two controller Patrick Holland who was speaking about his ambitions for the channel at an RTS West of England event in October.
“We’ve seen big audience demands for shows on iPlayer after their initial TV release. You can’t judge numbers on the overnights anymore. We don’t aim for a focused demographic. It has to appeal to the whole audience and there needs to be a big sense of purpose that shines through,” added Holland, who was interviewed by RTS West of England Chair Lynn Barlow at the Everyman Cinema in Bristol.
He pointed to commissioning more regional indies and looking for a “sense of timeliness”, something he found in Cornwall: This Fishing Life, an upcoming BBC Two series previewed at the RTS event. “It is important working with talent and hearing voices from across all regions. It brings a broader audience to fishing and shines a light on the issue of second homes, all against the backdrop of Brexit,” said Holland
This desire for timeliness also stands for natural history: “I’d like to commission more films that take on species-specific stories to stand out in the schedule, more challenging ideas about the current issues facing the natural world.”
Discussing the channel’s brand, Holland said: “I think BBC Two shows should be infused with a level of mischief and adventure.
“BBC Two was the first challenger brand outside the mainstream, so I very much want it to continue producing quality programming with an emphasis on specialism and complex subject matter – to build on the very best programming across genres.”
All photography by Jon Craig