Michelle Lipton

Michelle Lipton

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The Scale of BBC Drama Commissioning

July 18, 2010 , , ,

Some interesting (and slightly scary) statistics from Ben Stephenson and Kate Harwood about BBC TV drama from the WGGB/BBC podcasts:

  • The BBC spend £200m on drama each year making them the highest investor in drama in the UK
  • 70% of that is spent on drama at 9pm across the four drama channels
  • In the 2010/2011 tax year there will be 100 hours of brand new drama across 48 new titles
  • In the 2010/2011 tax year 15 titles will return to the BBC
  • 28 independent production companies will have their work on-screen this year
  • 28 independent production companies have projects in-development with the BBC this year
  • BBC in-house Drama currently has 119 writers under commission
  • The BBC work with approximately 300 writers each year across all departments (including CDS)
  • At the moment there are 194 men and 136 women writing across CDS, series and serials
  • There will be 9 new series, 15 new serials and 13 new singles broadcast in 2010
  • There will also be 5 new pilots (for BBC3) broadcast in 2010

At Cheltenham Screenwriters Festival last year, Ben Stephenson said the BBC Drama Department receive about 120-150 proposals from independent production companies, each month.

That’s 1,400-1,800 proposals a year, just through the indies.

Assuming in-house drama receives a similar number direct from writers and agents, you’re talking about 4,000 proposals into 48 broadcast titles.

Food for thought.

What do you think?

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This is really fascinating stuff. It’s such a shame that this wealth of talent is under threat.


July 18, 2010

Really, really sad Cottonopolis was pulled on Friday. I understand the reasons, but it’s rare I catch a piece of drama and seek the rest of it out. I thought it was well-written and sensitive. It’s also very frustrating not to hear the conclusion!


March 27, 2011

Thank you for your kind words Jo! We’re hopeful that the final two parts will still be aired but we don’t have any dates from them yet. I’ll post an update on this site when I know more.


March 28, 2011

Only just discovered your website via twitter, so just writing to say thanks for the info and insights. Like you, I write for Doctors, though am hoping to do alot more, so it was really interesting to read about the task ahead! Keep blogging. Cheers, Denise.

denise watson

June 22, 2011

Thanks Denise!


June 22, 2011

1 notes

  1. Equal opportunity writing « Swords and Lattes reblogged this and added:

    […] Michelle Lipton posted BBC drama stats (garnered from the WGGB/BBC podcasts). They provide a fascinating look at the scale of the BBC, and […]


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