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BBC set to use repeats and foreign shows to fill gaps on TV after revealing plans to cut 100 hours’ worth of new shows

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The BBC is expected to use repeats and foreign shows to fill the gap left by its decision to slash about 100 hours’ worth of new TV shows in the coming year.

Yesterday the corporation revealed there will be less original TV programming in the next 12 months, amid ‘ongoing pressure on the BBC’s finances and the increasing cost of programming’.

The Annual Plan for 2024/25 sees the corporation’s commitment to ‘first-run original drama’ drop by 13 per cent to 350 hours, while original entertainment and factual entertainment shows will be down by 15 per cent to 850 hours.

One insider said staff at the corporation had said ‘more repeats then’ after reading the plans for the year ahead.

When asked whether it would be using more repeats and foreign acquisitions to fill the lost hours of original TV in the schedules, the BBC would only say that overall it will be ‘investing in high-impact content’. 

The BBC is expected to use repeats and foreign shows to fill the gap left by its decision to slash about 100 hours' worth of new TV shows in the coming year. Pictured: The entrance to the BBC headquarters at Broadcasting House

The BBC is expected to use repeats and foreign shows to fill the gap left by its decision to slash about 100 hours’ worth of new TV shows in the coming year. Pictured: The entrance to the BBC headquarters at Broadcasting House

The Annual Plan confirmed that dramas including Call The Midwife (pictured) would be returning. It is not clear if is will be one of the shows which will have more repeats

The Annual Plan confirmed that dramas including Call The Midwife (pictured) would be returning. It is not clear if is will be one of the shows which will have more repeats

The BBC said the cancellation of Doctors (pictured) was 'a result of changes in viewing patterns, ongoing pressure on the BBC's finances and the increasing cost of programming'

The BBC said the cancellation of Doctors (pictured) was ‘a result of changes in viewing patterns, ongoing pressure on the BBC’s finances and the increasing cost of programming’

 One of the high-profile series getting the axe is the popular comedy series Motherland. 

The show has been cut after three seasons, despite winning the BAFTA award for Best Scripted Comedy in 2022, with leading woman Diana Morgan breaking the news on Friday.

The 48-year-old told RadioTimes: ‘I hate to say it because I still get women running up to me with prams in the street asking me when it’s coming back.’

However, she did drop hints that a spin-off featuring Lucy Punch’s character Amanda is in the works.

She said: ‘It’ll live on through her. The ladies with the prams will be pleased, hopefully.’

Fans of the show are ‘gutted’ to see it leave especially as last year Ms Morgan said there had ‘been conversations’ about a fourth season.

The BBC report also revealed there will be ten fewer hours committed to new content across CBBC and CBeebies. 

The showrunner of children’s favourite Doctor Who, Russell T Davies, said ‘the end of the BBC’ is ‘undoubtedly on its way’ and called for it to join forces with Disney to produce the series.

Mr Davies said before he agreed to return to the show, he had already said Doctor Who should become a co-production, as the BBC would not be able to fund it to compete with streaming giants. 

It is understood that BBC reductions mean that overall there will be 105 hours less of original TV programming in the year ahead.

The showrunner of Doctor Who, Russell T Davies, has called on the BBC to join forces with Disney to produce Doctor Who. Pictured: The Doctor Who Christmas Special featuring The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson

The showrunner of Doctor Who, Russell T Davies, has called on the BBC to join forces with Disney to produce Doctor Who. Pictured: The Doctor Who Christmas Special featuring The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson

Motherland has been axed after three seasons despite winning the BAFTA award for Best Scripted Comedy in 2022

Motherland has been axed after three seasons despite winning the BAFTA award for Best Scripted Comedy in 2022

Diana Morgan, one of the shows leading women who plays single mother Liz, revealed that BBC bosses have decided to drop the show

Diana Morgan, one of the shows leading women who plays single mother Liz, revealed that BBC bosses have decided to drop the show

The news was broken by Diane Morgan, seen left next to co-star Anna Maxwell-Martin

The news was broken by Diane Morgan, seen left next to co-star Anna Maxwell-Martin

The Annual Plan also revealed that the BBC is projecting that its total deficit will have a large increase to £492 million for the 2024/25 financial year.

Talking about the reductions in new shows, the report said: ‘We will broadcast about 350 hours of first-run original drama across our channels and BBC iPlayer.

‘This is 13 per cent fewer hours than last year’s commitment, largely reflecting the cancellation of Doctors, itself a result of changes in viewing patterns, ongoing pressure on the BBC’s finances and the increasing cost of programming.’

It added the cuts to children’s programming ‘reflects the continued need for children’s content to have high production values to cut through strong international programming from global streamers and the continuing power of social media and YouTube.’

The Annual Plan confirmed that dramas including Silent Witness, Call The Midwife, Death In Paradise, Shetland and Beyond Paradise would return, as well as entertainment shows Gladiators, Claudia Winkleman-fronted The Traitors and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

The financial pressures on the BBC comes after its director-general Tim Davie said this week he was open to ‘reform’ of the licence fee and making it ‘more progressive’.

His comments appear to open-up the possibility for something like a means-tested payment method for the licence fee, where the rich pay more than the poor. This could see concessions made for people on benefits.

Mr Davie’s comments on the enforcement regime will also lead to speculation about whether the current system of criminalising licence fee evasion could be abandoned.

This comes as the BBC’s boss confirmed the corporation now needed to make an extra £200million in annual savings on top of the £500million previously announced. He also admitted there more job cuts coming at the corporation. 

The annual plan also revealed Andrew Flintoff is set to return to our screens for the first time since his horrendous Top Gear accident in December 2022. 

The financial pressures on the BBC comes after its director-general Tim Davie said this week he was open to 'reform' of the licence fee and making it 'more progressive'

The financial pressures on the BBC comes after its director-general Tim Davie said this week he was open to ‘reform’ of the licence fee and making it ‘more progressive’

Original dramas and entertainment have suffered the brunt of the broadcasters drive to slash 100 hours of programming to try and save money

Original dramas and entertainment have suffered the brunt of the broadcasters drive to slash 100 hours of programming to try and save money

Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff is set to make a return to TV screens in the second series of his show Field Of Dreams - more than a year after his horror crash on Top Gear (Pictured on the first series of Field Of Dreams)

Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is set to make a return to TV screens in the second series of his show Field Of Dreams – more than a year after his horror crash on Top Gear (Pictured on the first series of Field Of Dreams)

The former cricketer, 46, was involved in a near-fatal car crash that left him with serious injuries while filming the driving show in December 2022 (Pictured in September 2023)

The former cricketer, 46, was involved in a near-fatal car crash that left him with serious injuries while filming the driving show in December 2022 (Pictured in September 2023)

The former England cricketer will front a new series of his BBC1 cricket documentary Field of Dreams.

A BBC spokesperson said: ‘We have been clear that we will concentrate on backing the best British storytelling and bringing people together through unmissable content that delivers value for audiences, against the challenge of inflation in the TV production market.

‘In the year ahead, we are committed to focussing on home-grown content from across the whole UK that can authentically reflect our many stories and voices and support our world-leading creative economy. 

‘We will be investing in high impact content and events that connect us, across sports, news, music, and entertainment.’



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