Massive budget cuts mean that major changes are planned to the scope of the BBC arts, culture and science channel, BBC Four. The channel could be turned into a largely archive station.
No television channel better represents the objectives of the BBC to educate, entertain and inform than BBC Four and no BBC television channel represents a better fit with the BBC Trust’s motto “Putting Quality First”.
Whilst it is accepted that the BBC has a duty to all licence payers, within that responsibility should be a commitment to provide innovative niche programming that could not be provided by a commercial operator.
Only BBC Four would have aired world-class foreign language television such as Heimat: A chronicle of Germany, original Wallander, The Killing and Spiral.
BBC Four has also given birth to shows such as Newswipe, The Thick of It, Lead Balloon, Getting On, Fantabulosa!, Women in Love, The Long Walk to Finchley and The Road to Coronation Street.
The arguments for protecting BBC Four from cuts are very similar to the successful argument to save 6Music. BBC Four, like 6Music represents the sort of niche programming that it is impossible to create under an advertisement/sponsorship model and it is greatly loved, rather than taken for granted by its audience.
We implore the BBC Trust to look again at proposed cuts to BBC Four as it represents the very best that BBC television has to offer, delivering stunning arts, science, nature, drama, comedy and culture output that are not being and due to the commercial funding model, cannot be delivered by the commercial sector