BBC Trust scraps obligation to make new factual television

The obligation for BBC1 and BBC2 to screen a minimum amount of new factual programmes has been dropped, while quotas for serious arts and religion remain.

David Liddiment, a BBC trustee and former programme maker, explained that such quotas are still useful in some areas, but a review found that a minimum was simply not necessary for new factual content, according to

He pointed out that there is no point in having quotas for the sake of it, but was quick to point out that serious arts output nearly disappeared in previous years without such obligations. For people in broadcast jobs, it is not clear whether the change will lead to less new factual programmes being made.

Mr Liddiment said: “Our review concluded that BBC1 and BBC2’s quotas for factual programming – which covered everything from ‘Frozen Planet’ to ‘Cash in the Attic’ – did not add anything to our ability to govern these services effectively and needed to be removed.”

According to, the quota for new factual programmes had been 700 hours per year for BBC1 and 520 hours for BBC2; however, this governance alteration has not been welcomed by everyone.

The Voice of the Listener and Viewer, an organisation representing consumers’ interests in broadcasting, made the point that the removal of such minimums has the potential to erode the quality of programming.

by Paul Smithson on November 29, 2012

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