BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore announced a range of ambitious, new content that “demonstrates a continuing commitment to bringing audiences programming that they wouldn’t find anywhere else and championing British creativity for everyone”.
Speaking to the Broadcasting Press Guild BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore said: “The new commissions that I’m announcing today are quintessentially BBC, I believe they are shows that only we would make. We’re at our best when we follow passions, when we tell stories that haven’t been told before – and we have an immensely powerful story to tell.
“But we are facing very real and tough financial challenges. It’s important to understand the context we are operating in. The BBC is not unique in this, but we are managing the financial challenges while adapting for the future so all licence fee payers get value from us whilst adjusting to an ever increasing on demand world.
“What’s impressive is that we’ve been performing extraordinarily well at the same time. There’s more competition for screen time, more choice for audiences and more money being spent on programming than ever before. But we are still delivering at scale and succeeding. We are the number one video platform in the UK. We are the number one broadcaster with the highest market share, outperforming Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ combined. iPlayer is unparalleled in the breadth of genres it offers, we are a public service broadcaster fit for the digital age.
“This May we will do what the BBC does best, bring the nation together on a scale never seen before to celebrate The Coronation and then the world’s biggest and most iconic music event – The Eurovision Song Contest. These events weren’t in our plan for 2023, we didn’t know they would be happening. But we are incredibly proud to be bringing them to a global audience, they highlight the unique role that the BBC plays in the lives of people across the UK.
You only have to look at the successes of the last year and the announcements I’m making today which demonstrate the range of world class content in every genre to see the BBC is punching way above its weight – setting the creative bar high in this country and making programmes that really matter and feel relevant to people living in Britain.”
Today’s announcements include:
As part of the Coronation Concert, The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera, the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal College of Music and The Royal College of Art will come together for the first time ever to create a spectacular one-off performance featuring Ncuti Gatwa and Mei Mac. Based around themes of love and togetherness, the piece will combine music, dance, art and theatre in what will be the ultimate Royal collaboration.
At the centre of the show, the Royal Shakespeare Company will perform excerpts from a Shakespeare play, featuring Ncuti Gatwa, who received an Ian Charleson Commendation for his role of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet at Home Theatre Manchester and played Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe, and Mei Mac, Olivier Award nominee for My Neighbour Totoro.
The Royal patronages will perform a beautiful arrangement of a classic song from West Side Story, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, performed by members of the Royal Opera Chorus. Principal dancers with The Royal Ballet, Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambé, will also perform a bespoke piece of choreography for the occasion.
The visual backdrop projected on to Windsor Castle and the stage will showcase artworks by students from The Royal College of Art. Alongside the other performers, a string quartet of four Royal College of Music students will perform as soloists: Katherine Yoon and Betania Johnny on violin, Declan Wicks on viola and Marion Portelance on cello, who will be playing a cello once owned and played by His Majesty, now in the collection of The Royal College of Music.
Ncuti performed at the Globe for 2 years under director Emma Rice and producer Kneehigh Theatre. Ncuti also performed at Dundee Rep Theatre and in his time there performed in rep across six different plays including Hecuba, And Then There Were None and Victoria.
The concert will be hosted by renowned actor Hugh Bonneville, who has starred in numerous popular TV series and films including Downton Abbey, The Gold, Twenty Twelve, W1A, Notting Hill and the Paddington films. Hugh will set the scene for the evening’s entertainment as the artists prepare for their performances and introduce them as they take to the stage.
He says: “I’m delighted to be taking part in this unique event, celebrating the best of musical entertainment in honour of His Majesty’s coronation. In true British style, come rain or shine it will be a night to remember.”
It will take place in the grounds of Windsor Castle on 7 May, celebrating the Coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen in front of 20,000 members of the public and invited guests and will be broadcast to the nation on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, as well as BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.
Multicoloured hearts radiate from a large central heart on a bright yellow background. The words United By Music are written in the top right hand corner.
Merseyside born Spice Girl Mel C will bring a Scouse welcome to Eurovision 2023, as she will provide the voiceover that will welcome our Eurovision hosts onto stage during each of the three live shows.
During Semi-Final 2 actor Luke Evans will perform an uplifting and emotive Spoken Word piece that will take us through nearly 70 years of Eurovision history. The actor, best known for movies including Beauty & The Beast, The Hobbit and Fast & Furious will be immersed in Eurovision archive which will symbolise that no matter how divided the continent of Europe has been, Eurovision has found a way to unite us through music.
Lord of the Flies
A headshot of writer Jack Thorne, who is wearing a blue and white striped shirt, has brown hair, a moustache and beard and looks directly into the camera. An image credit reads Antonio Olmos.
Adapted for television for the first time by Jack Thorne based on William Golding’s iconic novel, made by Eleven.
Ruth Madeley leads the cast in new thriller, made by Mammoth Screen
Belfast based drama recommissioned for a second series from Two Cities Television.
The BBC is marking the 400-year anniversary of the publication of William Shakespeare’s First Folio with a gripping new three-part boxset for BBC Two and iPlayer. To accompany the series, BBC Four will be showing a star-studded selection of performances of his plays and there will also be a collection of resources for primary and secondary schools on BBC Teach.
The new series shines fresh light on the incredible life story of our greatest writer – the place and time he inhabited, and the work he produced. Told like a thriller, it will reveal how a young boy, born into a sleepy English town in the iron grip of an epidemic, finds his way to London and the midst of a cultural revolution, to become the world’s most famous and enduring playwright.
From 72 Films, the makers of acclaimed series including Rise of the Nazis and Elizabeth’s Secret Agents, Shakespeare takes us on a vivid journey into Tudor England, bringing to life a dangerous and exciting world filled with murder, treason, political and religious intrigue, fraud, theft and beheadings, that sparked Shakespeare’s creative genius.
Portraying Shakespeare, his friends and associates, we will meet some of Britain’s finest actors alongside experts and historians who will illuminate the real-life dramas, events and upheavals that inspired Shakespeare and defined the Elizabethan period.
Complementing the series, BBC Four will be showing a number of acclaimed performances of Shakespeare’s greatest plays including the Tragedy of Macbeth from the Almeida starring James McArdle and Saoirse Ronan; Hamlet from the Bristol Old Vic featuring rising star Billy Howle in the title role; Henry V from Shakespeare’s Globe; the RSC’s Henry VI Part 1 with Sir Antony Sher in the role of Falstaff; the RSC’s Much Ado About Nothing; and Emma Rice’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream from Shakespeare’s Globe. BBC Four’s innovative literary programme The Read will turn its attention to Shakespeare as exciting talent perform a collection of sonnets in a fresh and innovative way.
In addition, BBC Teach will publish a collated collection of resources for primary and secondary schools to mark the anniversary. This will include animated adaptations of some of Shakespeare’s most well-loved plays for primary schools, and explorations of Shakespeare’s most widely studied plays with actors and directors at the Royal Shakespeare Company for secondary schools.
Shakespeare (3×60) was commissioned by Suzy Klein, Head of Arts & Classical Music. It is being made by 72 Films where the executive producer is David Glover. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Mark Bell.
Tommy Goes to Hollywood (w/t)
1×60 observational documentary follows award-winning actor Tommy Jessop as he sets out to create and pitch his own superhero movie in Hollywood.
Tommy was born with Down Syndrome. An actor and activist, he has always dreamed of being a leading man, and after starring in BBC’s Line of Duty, it felt as if anything was possible. However, further top roles have failed to materialise. Tommy wants to play a hero so, inspired by the advice of his agent, he decides to take matters into his own hands.
A BBC Studios Documentary Unit production, co-created by Tommy Jessop and Will Jessop.
Hamza’s Birds of Prey
In 2022, Hamza Yassin delighted the nation with his dance moves, and was crowned winner of Strictly Come Dancing. In this 1×60’ film for BBC One and iPlayer, he will return to his first passion – Britain’s birds of prey.
Beginning on the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula in the Scottish Highlands and travelling the length and breadth of the UK, Hamza will try and film his “top 10”, including his personal favourite the golden eagle, as he is joined by camera operator and presenter Simon King.
Hamza Yassin says: “All my life I have had a passion for birds of prey, so this documentary film is a dream come true for me. It’s an opportunity to share more of the joy I experienced on Wild Isles whilst I film my top ten of Britain’s birds of prey.”
Hamza’s Birds of Prey, a 1×60’ for BBC One and iPlayer, is made by Silverback Films. It was commissioned by Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual and the Executive Producer is Alastair Fothergill. The Commissioning Editor is Sreya Biswas.
Professor Brian Cox – Solar System (w/t)
After The Planets and Universe, Professor Brian Cox explores the amazing events unfolding in the planets and moons of the Solar System around us every day.
In this 5 x 60 series for BBC Two and iPlayer, Professor Cox will take viewers on five epic journeys through our solar system to reveal the incredible events that are happening out there, right now, as revealed by our very latest space missions.
Professor Brian Cox said: “We are living through a golden age of exploration. As we speak, there are spacecraft in orbit around or on the surface of five of the eight planets in our solar system, and there are a host of new missions close to launch or en-route to their targets. The latest, the European Space Agency’s “Juice” spacecraft, was launched towards Jupiter last week. As new data cascades in, we are building an ever more accurate picture of our solar system. Rovers on Mars are exploring ancient lake beds, two new missions to Jupiter’s ice moons aim to probe their oceans for life, and the New Horizons spacecraft has forced us to contemplate biology beneath the frigid nitrogen glaciers of Pluto.
Solar System (w/t), a 5×60’ series for BBC Two and iPlayer, is made by BBC Studios Science Unit.