BBC Four is a British free-to-air television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation. It was launched on 2 March 2002, with a schedule running from 7:00 pm to 3:35 am. The channel shows "a wide variety of programmes including comedy, documentaries, music, international film, original programmes, drama and current affairs ... an alternative to programmes on the mainstream TV channels". It is required by its licence to air at least 100 hours of new arts and music programmes, 110 hours of new factual programmes and to premiere 20 foreign films each year.
|Launched||2 March 2002|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Audience share||1.04% (December 2018, BARB)|
|Sister channel(s)||BBC One|
|Freeview||Channel 9 (Eng/Wal/NI)|
Channel 82 (Scot)
Channel 106 (HD)
|Freesat||Channel 107 (SD/HD)|
Channel 173 (SD)
|Sky||Channel 116 (SD/HD)|
Channel 815 (SD)
|Sky (Ireland)||Channel 143 (SD/HD)|
Channel 833 (SD)
|Astra 2E (28.2°E)||10773 H 22000 5/6|
|Astra 2G (28.2°E)||11023 H 23000 3/4 (HD)|
|Virgin Media||Channel 107 (HD)|
|Virgin Media (Ireland)||Channel 117|
|Ziggo (Netherlands)||Channel 64|
|Kabeltex (Netherlands)||Channel 164|
|UPC Switzerland (Switzerland)||Channel 204 (HD)|
|BT TV||Channel 106 (HD)|
|KPN (Netherlands)||Channel arbitrary|
|Eir Vision||Channel 207|
Channel 211 (HD)
|BBC iPlayer||Watch live (UK only)|
|TVPlayer||Watch live (UK only)|
|Horizon Go||Watch live (Ireland only)|
Watch live (Switzerland only)
|Ziggo GO||ZiggoGO.tv (Netherlands only)|
BBC Four launched on 2 March 2002 at 7:00 pm GMT, having been delayed from the original planned 2001 launch. BBC Four began originally as a late schedule to BBC Two, before it received its own channel, along with BBC Three. Curiously, BBC Four had to launch before BBC Three as a result of the government delaying approval plans. The channel replaced BBC Knowledge, an educational and cultural channel which had undergone many changes throughout its lifetime; in its final format it carried a schedule of documentaries and art programming, essentially a test of the new BBC Four schedule. BBC Four would rebrand this channel, and bring it into line with the well recognised BBC One and Two brands at the same time. Planning for the new channel, along with the new BBC Three, had been in progress since October 2000; however, the incumbent government delayed approving the new BBC digital plans. The BBC Four plans were approved earlier, and as a result launched before BBC Three.
BBC Four was different from the old BBC Knowledge: the channel would be more heavily promoted with more new and original programming and the channel would not be broadcast 24 hours a day. This was because on the Freeview digital terrestrial platform, BBC Four is broadcast in a statistically multiplexed stream in Multiplex B that timeshares with the CBeebies channel (which is on air from 06:00 until 19:00). As a result, BBC Four broadcasts from 19:00 to around 03:35 each night, with an hour's down-time and promotions for CBeebies before the start of that channel's schedule.
On 12 May 2011, BBC Four was added to the Sky EPG in the Republic of Ireland on channel 230. It later moved to EPG 211 to free up space for new channels. It later moved to channel 143 on 1 May 2018 to sit beside BBC One Northern Ireland and BBC Two Northern Ireland there, and the 200s being used for +1 channels.
On 19 February 2019, Virgin Media stopped providing BBC Four in standard definition.
The channel direction is determined by the channel's remit, set by royal charter and the corporation's governing body (the BBC Board), and by the channel controller. In October 2013, following the departure of Richard Klein from the controllership, the management of the channel changed, with the role of Controller of BBC Four scrapped: from this point the Controller of BBC Two would have ultimate oversight of BBC Four as part of their role, absorbing some of the former duties of the Controller of BBC Four, but a new 'Channel Editor' post, reporting up to this controller, would be created to take day-to-day charge of Four. The controllers of BBC Four from 2002-2016 have been:
Channel Editors of BBC Four have been:
BBC Four has an annual budget of £54.3 million.
On 20 January 2016, Kim Shillinglaw announced that she had decided to leave the BBC as the Controller of BBC Two & BBC Four. As a result of the reorganisation, the post of Controller BBC Two and Four closed after her departure later that year.
On 16 July 2013, the BBC announced that a high-definition (HD) simulcast of BBC Four would be launched by early 2014. The channel launched on 10 December 2013, and rolled out nationwide up to June 2014 (as will BBC News HD and CBeebies HD). The channel broadcasts on the BBC's new HD multiplex on Freeview and shares its stream with CBeebies HD as they both air at different times. Prior to launch, the majority of BBC Four's HD output was broadcast on the BBC HD channel before its closure on 26 March 2013. In 2017 BBC Four HD along with CBBC HD and Cbeebies HD launched in Ireland.
BBC Four's primary role is to reflect a range of UK and international arts, music and culture. It should provide an ambitious range of innovative, high quality programming that is intellectually and culturally enriching, taking an expert and in-depth approach to a wide range of subjects.— BBC Four Remit
The first evening's BBC Four programmes were simulcast on BBC Two. BBC Four is notable for first showing Larry David's Seinfeld follow-up, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Armando Iannucci's cutting political satire, The Thick of It, The Chaser's War on Everything, Flight of the Conchords, Mad Men and Danish thriller The Killing.
The channel broadcasts a mixture of art and science documentaries, vintage drama (including many rare black-and-white programmes), and non-English language productions such as films from the Artificial Eye catalogue, the French thriller Spiral and the Swedish detective series Wallander. BBC Four further supports foreign language films with its annual World Cinema Award which has been running since 2004.
On weekdays at 19:00, the channel shows a 30-minute global news programme called Beyond 100 Days Monday–Thursday and an edition of World News Today on Fridays, simulcast with and produced by BBC World News. Beyond 100 Days takes a break during August and for two weeks in December and is replaced with an edition of World News Today. This replaced The World and BBC Four News which aired in the slot from the launch of the channel.
It screens a number of documentaries such as The Century of the Self and The Trials of Henry Kissinger. The channel is also home to many political travel shows such as Holidays in the Axis of Evil which features investigative journalism.
Drama has given the channel some of its most popular programmes, with The Alan Clark Diaries (2003) and Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa! (2006) being among the highest rated, with over 800,000 viewers. The highly acclaimed Hattie, broadcast in 2011, holds the record for BBC4's best ever consolidated ratings of 2m / 8%. Before that The Curse of Steptoe brought the channel its highest audience figures, estimated as 1.41 million viewers, a 7% share of multichannel audiences between 21:00 and 22:05, based on overnight returns. The official audience figures for the broadcast, including time-shifting, were later published as 1,625,000. Another notable production was a live re-make of the 1953 science-fiction serial The Quatermass Experiment, adapted from the original scripts into a single, two-hour version (though on the night it, in fact, underran considerably, lasting less than 1 hour 40 minutes), broadcast on the evening of Saturday 2 April 2005. Discounting BBC Four's previous live relays of theatrical Shakespeare productions, this was the first live made-for-television drama to be broadcast by the BBC for twenty years.
Another notable programme broadcast on BBC Four is Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe which contains reviews of current shows, as well as stories and commentary on how television is produced. The show is presented by broadcaster Charlie Brooker.
The channel is also curator and leader of the BBC Archive project whose aim is that the BBC's television archive is re-broadcast as much as appropriate so that the Archive can be enjoyed again and not isolated.
Some output from BBC Four (documentaries rather than foreign films) was for a time repeated on BBC Two in a 'BBC Four on Two' branded area, although this was often in a late night broadcast slot after Newsnight and has since been discontinued.
At the Edinburgh International Television Festival, BBC Four won the Non-Terrestrial Channel of the Year award in 2004, 2006 and 2012.
BBC Four is occasionally used to show live sports coverage. The channel aired additional games from the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament, and temporarily extended its broadcast hours to show live action from the 2016 Summer Olympics.
|Rank||Programme||Number of Viewers||Date|
|1||The Jeremy Thorpe Scandal||2,378,000||3 June 2018|
|2||Hattie||2,005,000||19 January 2009|
|3||The Bridge||1,810,000||21 November 2015|
|4||Detectorists||1,687,000||8 November 2017|
|5||Roots||1,659,000||8 February 2017|
|6||The Curse of Steptoe||1,625,000||19 March 2008|
|7||The Bridge||1,620,000||1 February 2014|
|8||Detectorists||1,593,000||22 November 2017|
|9||Goodbye Television Centre||1,588,000||22 March 2013|
|10||The Bridge||1,547,000||1 February 2014|
The channel's initial series of idents were generated dynamically reflecting the frequencies of the continuity announcers' voice or of backing music and were designed by Lambie-Nairn. As a result, no two idents were ever the same. The first continuity announcer was Zeb Soanes.
When the channel first started airing, it used the slogan "Everyone Needs A Place To Think", but the BBC stopped using this several months after the launch. However the BBC Four logo and above slogan can be found, engraved on benches along the South Bank in London, between the London Eye and Waterloo Bridge.
On 10 September 2005, the channel began showing new idents comprising a central BBC Four logo surrounded by four quadrants which show different stages of the same footage thus making for a sort of optical illusion; for example, a swimming pool where a person on an inflatable ring appears in the bottom-left corner, though ripples don't enter the remaining quarters. Although the image appears as one at the start of the ident, by the end it is clearly four separate images.
BBC Knowledge is a television channel available in various countries outside the United Kingdom, showcasing factual and non-fiction entertainment programming from the BBC and independent UK production houses. Wholly owned by BBC Studios, it is not related to the previous channel known as BBC Knowledge, an early digital channel available within the UK, which closed down in 2002 in favour of BBC Four and CBeebies. On 15 November 2009, BBC Knowledge in Australia changed their channel location from Channel 619 to Channel 612.
The channel provides five key programming strands enabling simple appointment viewing:
The World delves and explores new cultures around the world
Science & Technology explores new frontiers, from space to motoring
People explores aspects of the human body and mind
The Past brings historical events, places and people back to life
Business offers invaluable advice to help stay on top of today's challenging business world.In 2014 it was announced that BBC Studios would rollout a new channel, BBC Earth, which would replace BBC Knowledge in most locations, except for where it was successful. Poland was the first location to launch the new brand on 1 February 2015.BBC Two
BBC Two is the second flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tends to broadcast more "highbrow" programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio channels, it is funded by the television licence, and is therefore free of commercial advertising. It is a comparatively well-funded public-service network, regularly attaining a much higher audience share than most public-service networks worldwide.
Originally styled BBC2, it was the third British television station to be launched (starting on 21 April 1964), and from 1 July 1967, Europe's first television channel to broadcast regularly in colour. It was envisaged as a home for less mainstream and more ambitious programming, and while this tendency has continued to date, most special-interest programmes of a kind previously broadcast on BBC Two, for example the BBC Proms, now tend to appear on BBC Four instead.Baillie Gifford Prize
The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction (formerly the Samuel Johnson Prize from 1999-2015) is an annual British book prize for the best non-fiction writing in the English language. It was founded in 1999 following the demise of the NCR Book Award. With its motto "All the best stories are true", the prize covers current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts. The competition is open to authors of any nationality whose work is published in the UK in English. The longlist, shortlist and winner is chosen by a panel of independent judges, which changes every year. The award is named for Baillie Gifford an investment management firm and the primary sponsor. Since 2016, the annual dinner and awards ceremony has been sponsored by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.
The prize is governed by the Board of Directors of The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction Limited, a not-for-profit company.CBeebies
CBeebies is a British free-to-air television channel owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It is aimed at young children, and was launched on 11 February 2002. It manages an international network supported by subscription services.Dave (TV channel)
Dave is a British television channel owned by UKTV, which is available in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The channel is available on IPTV, Freeview and satellite. The channel took the name Dave in October 2007, but it had been on air under various identities and formats since October 1998.Jenna Coleman
Jenna-Louise Coleman (born 27 April 1986), professionally known as Jenna Coleman, is an English actress. Notable for her work in British television, she is best known for her roles as Jasmine Thomas in the soap opera Emmerdale (2005–2009), Clara Oswald, companion to the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors in the science fiction series Doctor Who (2012–2015, 2017), Queen Victoria in the ITV biographical drama series Victoria (2016–present), and for her leading role in The Cry.
Coleman was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, and began her acting career at an early age as a member of a theatre company called In Yer Space. While auditioning for drama schools in 2005, she was chosen to play Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale. She received critical acclaim for her performance and was nominated for the Most Popular Newcomer award at the 2006 National Television Awards.Coleman went on to play "hard girl" Lindsay James in the BBC school-based drama series Waterloo Road (2009), Susan Brown in a BBC Four television adaptation of the John Braine novel Room at the Top (2012), Annie Desmond in Julian Fellowes' four part mini-series Titanic (2012) and Rosie in Stephen Poliakoff's original drama series Dancing on the Edge (2013). She appeared as Lydia Wickham in the BBC drama miniseries Death Comes to Pemberley (2013) and as Katrina Clark in the romance film Me Before You (2016).List of television programmes broadcast by the BBC
This is a list of television programmes broadcast by the BBC either currently broadcast or previously broadcast on the BBC in the United Kingdom.
Children's television programmes can be found at List of BBC children's television programmes.Lucy Worsley
Lucy Worsley, OBE (born 18 December 1973) is an English historian, author, curator, and television presenter.Worsley is Joint Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces but is best known as a presenter of BBC Television series on historical topics, including Elegance and Decadence: The Age of the Regency (2011), Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls (2012), The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain (2014), A Very British Romance (2015), Lucy Worsley: Mozart’s London Odyssey (2016), and Six Wives with Lucy Worsley (2016).Mark Gatiss
Mark Gatiss ( (listen); born 17 October 1966) is an English actor, comedian, screenwriter and novelist. His work includes writing for and acting in the TV series Doctor Who and Sherlock. Together with Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton and Jeremy Dyson, he is a member of the comedy team The League of Gentlemen. He played Tycho Nestoris in the HBO series Game of Thrones.Nature's Microworlds
Nature's Microworlds is a 2012 British nature documentary series. Produced by the BBC, the series is narrated by Steve Backshall and produced by Doug Mackay-Hope. There are thirteen thirty-minute episodes in the series, which was first broadcast on BBC Four. Each episode focuses on its eponymous region, exploring the wildlife of the microclimate found there: The featured ecosystems include the archipelago of volcanic islands known as the Galapagos, the grasslands of the Serengeti in Africa, the Amazon rainforest covering most of South America, the kelp forest located in California's Monterey Bay, the Okavango Delta where the Okavango River empties into a wetland surrounded by the Kalahari Desert, and the Arctic wilderness of the Svalbard archipelago.Ruth Jones
Ruth Alexandra Elisabeth Jones, (born 22 September 1966) is a Welsh television actress, novelist and screenwriter. She co-starred in and co-wrote the award-winning British comedy Gavin & Stacey and has appeared in many television comedies and dramas, such as Jimmy McGovern’s The Street with Timothy Spall (2009), and starring as Hattie Jacques in Hattie for BBC Four.
She takes the lead role in the comedy drama series Stella for Sky 1 produced by Tidy Productions, the company she co-founded in 2008 with her husband David Peet, who is managing director.Spiral (TV series)
Spiral (French: Engrenages, pronounced [ɑ̃ɡʁəˈnaʒ]) is a French television police procedural and legal drama series set in Paris. The show follows the lives and work of Paris police officers and the lawyers and judges who work at the Palais de Justice. It was created by Alexandra Clert for the TV production company Son et Lumière.
The first series of eight episodes started on Canal+ in France in December 2005. The series was shown in the UK on BBC Four during the summer of 2006. It was the channel's first French-language drama series, attracting a modest but loyal audience (around 200,000) and firm critical approval. In September 2009, BBC Four started showing the second series; another eight-part series, partly funded by the BBC, was broadcast from May 2008 onwards. The third series consisted of 12 episodes and was shown from April 2011. The fourth series screened beginning February 2013; series five was filmed in 2013 and broadcast in France in late 2014 and in the UK on BBC Four from January 2015. The sixth series was filmed in 2016. Series four, five, and six each consisted of 12 episodes. Filming of the seventh series started in January 2018.Spiral has been an export success, with sales to broadcasters in more than 70 countries including Australia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In Australia, the first series was broadcast in 2008 on SBS One, the second series on SBS Two from September 2009 and the third series on SBS Two from mid-2012. Spiral debuted in North America via Netflix in September 2012. All five seasons are currently available on Hulu.
Spiral has received wide-ranging critical acclaim throughout its run, and has been nominated and won several awards. It has been nominated at the Globes de Cristal Awards four times, winning once. It was also nominated for Best Drama at the BAFTA Awards, and it won the 2015 International Emmy Award for Best Series.The Killing (Danish TV series)
The Killing (Danish: Forbrydelsen) is a Danish police procedural drama television series created by Søren Sveistrup and produced by DR in co-production with ZDF Enterprises. It was first broadcast on the Danish national television channel DR1 on 7 January 2007, and has since been transmitted in many other countries worldwide.
The series is set in Copenhagen and revolves around Detective Inspector Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl). Each series follows a murder case day-by-day. Each fifty-minute episode covers twenty-four hours of the investigation. The series is noted for its plot twists, season-long storylines, dark tone and for giving equal emphasis to the stories of the murdered victim's family and the effect in political circles alongside the police investigation. It has also been singled out for the photography of its Danish setting, and for the acting ability of its cast.
The Killing has proved to be an international hit—garnering significant critical acclaim—particularly in the United Kingdom, Germany and The Netherlands, receiving numerous awards and nominations including a BAFTA Award and an International Emmy. It has become something of a cult show. Novelizations of each series have been published by Macmillan.
In 2011, a US remake was produced by the American cable network AMC.The Other Side of the Mirror (film)
The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival is a 2007 documentary film about Bob Dylan's appearances at the Newport Folk Festival in three successive years: 1963, 1964, and 1965, directed by Murray Lerner.
The film adds to the footage previously seen in Lerner's Festival! (1967), with full-length song performances. It includes Dylan's controversial electric set from 1965.
This film features previously unseen footage, chronicling the changes in Dylan's style when he appeared at Newport in three successive years. This film was broadcast by BBC Four on October 14, 2007. Director Murray Lerner commented: "Over the course of three Newport gigs, Dylan becomes more conscious of his power. His charisma is startling. With electricity and radio, he did what Yeats, Lorca, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound never achieved. He reached a mass audience with poetry."The Staircase
The Staircase (French: Soupçons, lit. ''Suspicions''; also known as Death on the Staircase) is a 2004 French television miniseries by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade documenting the trial of Michael Peterson, convicted of murdering his wife, Kathleen Peterson.
Following from de Lestrade's Oscar-winning Murder on a Sunday Morning, filming began soon after Peterson's indictment. Camera crews were given access to the accused's extended family, the defense attorneys, and the courtroom.An abbreviated version was broadcast as special two-hour presentation of American news show Primetime Thursday on July 22, 2004. The miniseries was completed in September 2004, and premiered in October on Canal+, from January 10–14, 2005, on BBC Four (as part of its Storyville documentary series), and from April 4–25 on Sundance Channel.Lestrade returned to film Peterson and his family in 2012-13, covering developments in the case that were released as a two-hour sequel. Three new episodes with further updates were later made for Netflix, and in 2018, the streaming channel added all 13 episodes to its catalog, making it available as one series.The Story of Wish You Were Here
The Story of Wish You Were Here is a direct-to-video documentary about the making of Wish You Were Here album by Pink Floyd. After being shown on a few television channels, such as BBC Four, it was released on 26 June 2012, on DVD and Blu-ray.
The film gives an extensive insight of concept, recording the songs and designing the album cover. It includes exclusive interviews with almost every key person, who participated in producing the album. It is the second Pink Floyd documentary by Eagle Rock, the previous being The Making of the Dark Side of the Moon (2003).
The band is represented by all three surviving members – David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Roger Waters. Other participating people include: Joe Boyd, Venetta Fields, Jill Furmanovsky, Roy Harper, Brian Humphries, Peter Jenner, Nick Kent, Aubrey Powell, Ronnie Rondell Jr. (who depicted the "burning man" on the original cover), Gerald Scarfe, and Storm Thorgerson.
The film is about 59 minutes long, with 25 minutes of additional interviews. These also include footage of Roger Waters and David Gilmour performing some excerpts from the original songs, while Brian Humphries, the album's sound engineer, plays back the original sound tapes from Abbey Road Studios archives.The Thick of It
The Thick of It is a British comedy television series that satirises the inner workings of modern British government. It was first broadcast for two short series on BBC Four in 2005, initially with a small cast focusing on a government minister, his advisers and their party's spin-doctor. The cast was significantly expanded for two hour-long specials to coincide with Christmas and Gordon Brown's appointment as prime minister in 2007, which saw new characters forming the opposition party added to the cast. These characters continued when the show switched channels to BBC Two for its third series in 2009. A fourth series about a coalition government was broadcast in 2012, with the last episode transmitted on 27 October 2012. In a 2012 interview, series creator Armando Iannucci said the fourth series of the programme would probably be its last.The series has been described as the 21st century's answer to Yes Minister. It too highlights the struggles and conflicts between politicians, party spin doctors, advisers, civil servants and the media. In similar fashion with Yes Minister, the political parties involved are never mentioned by name, although the context makes clear which is which. Iannucci describes it as "Yes Minister meets Larry Sanders". The journalist and former civil servant Martin Sixsmith is an adviser to the writing team, adding to the realism of some scenes. The series became well known for its profanity and for featuring storylines which have mirrored, or in some cases predicted real-life policies, events or scandals.A feature film spin-off, In the Loop, was released in the UK on 17 April 2009. A pilot for a U.S. remake of the show was not successful, but Iannucci was subsequently invited to create Veep for HBO, a programme with a very similar tone and political issues, with the involvement of some The Thick of It writers and production members.Unnatural Histories
Unnatural Histories is a 3-part British television documentary series produced by the BBC and BBC Natural History Unit. It takes a new look at three of the world's most iconic wildernesses; the Serengeti, Yellowstone National Park and the Amazon and discovers that far from being wild and untouched, each has been shaped over time by man. It was first broadcast on BBC Four 9–23 June 2011.World News Today
World News Today is a current affairs news programme, produced by BBC News, presented by Philippa Thomas, Kasia Madera, Alice Baxter, Alpa Patel and Karin Giannone. It was originally conceived as a morning television show aimed at American audiences, hosted by George Alagiah, but later expanded to six editions a day aimed at different markets. There is now one daily edition only, aimed as an evening news programme for the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa part-simulcast on BBC Four, BBC News Channel and BBC World News.