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The arts at the BBC

Posted on March 25, 2014


tonyhallalanyentobgemmaartertonTony Hall, the BBC Director-General, has announced a new strand of arts programming, promising “the strongest commitment to the arts that we’ve made in a generation.” Plans include new arts leadership, coverage of major events, new commissions, collaborations and landmark series.

“I want BBC Arts – and BBC Music – to sit proudly alongside BBC News,” Hall said. “The arts are for everyone – and, from now on, BBC Arts will be at the very heart of what we do. We’ll be joining up arts on the BBC like never before – across television, radio and digital. And we’ll be working more closely with our country’s great artists, performers and cultural institutions.”

Launching in May, the “BBC Arts at…” series will present performances on TV, radio and online, including a performance a day from the Edinburgh Festival. Museums at Night will explore performance and events at museums all over the country, including English National Ballet dancing Russell Maliphant’s Second Breath at Imperial War Museum North.

BBC Four will cover and contextualise the work of BalletBoyz: The Talent. In 2014, BBC Four will dedicate a year of programming to the power of song and dance. This will include BBC Young Dancer, a new initiative to find young dance performers of the future, with auditions and heats taking place across the UK. The History of Contemporary Dance will be explored in a new documentary and special gala performance in collaboration with Sadler’s Wells. After winning a Children’s BAFTA last year, CBeebiees will continue its collaboration with Northern Ballet in a television production of the company’s The Three Little Pigs.

Hall, a former chief executive of the Royal Opera House, gave a speech insisting on the importance of the arts. “The arts really matter,” he said. “They’re not for an elite, or for a minority. They’re for everybody.”


Picture: Presenter Alan Yentob, actress Gemma Arterton and Tony Hall at the BBC Arts launch.

Photograph: BBC/Guy Levy



Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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