| 17 Jul 2024
BBC World Service announces boost to music, arts and factual programmes

MUMBAI: BBC World Service has announced a raft of new programming which will boost music, arts and factual programmes on the network. Launching this Autumn, the new schedule includes a brand new arts strand highlighting cultural happenings around the world, three new music programmes bringing the scope and expertise of BBC Music to global audiences, and a new weekly strand for landmark factual series exploring contemporary issues and stories.

BBC World Service English, controller, Mary Hockaday said, “News and current affairs remains the heart of the World Service, but there is room for more breadth and depth – guiding listeners through a complex world and offering more culture and music - and our new schedule will deliver a richer mix of bold programmes and great talent to reflect the breadth of our listeners’ interests. An innovative new arts strand will sit where arts and news collide, new music programmes will showcase BBC’s outstanding musical expertise for our global audience, and I am also introducing a new home for distinctive factual series where we will take a deeper look over several episodes at the big questions of our time.”

The new factual strand, ‘The Compass’, will provide a home for longer factual series to explore topics in greater depth. Each series or sequence of programmes will help explain the world with a narrative arc across the weeks. Every series will reflect something new and essential about the 21st Century with the very best presenters. The approach will be authoritative and revelatory but contemporary in sound and feel.

The strand will launch with ‘Waithood’, an examination of the changing timetable of adulthood. Across the world the gap between childhood and adulthood is getting longer for many young people who struggle to find jobs and settle down to start a family. Over three programmes, Jake Wallis Simons examines the challenges and new identities of Waithood in communities in Africa, Europe and America. Waithood is followed by ‘Local Warming’ – three programmes in the run-up to the Paris Climate conference examining how people regard climate change where they live as their environment changes. Other commissions include ‘America in Black and White’, a four-part series examining the future of race relations in the United States, and ‘My Perfect Country’ – a new series and digital proposition with Fi Glover and Martha Lane Fox who share successful examples of technological and social change across the globe.

New arts strand, ‘The Cultural Frontline’, will see leading writers, reporters, thinkers and artists send in dispatches from their part of the world, investigating the ways that culture – from art and design to architecture, literature and performance - is responding to and changing the world they live in. Sitting where the arts and the news collide, the weekly programme will provide a platform for reactions and observations from the frontline of the arts and social change. It will be exuberant, thoughtful, global and innovative.

Also announced is a major collaboration between BBC World Service and BBC Music, which produces BBC’s outstanding range of musical content. They will join forces to launch three new monthly programmes. BBC Radio 6 Musicpresenter, singer and reporter Cerys Matthews will have her own show, ‘BBC Music on the World Service with Cerys Matthews’, celebrating all genres and eras of music on a musical journey joining the dots between early pioneers and contemporary performers; ‘Music Extra’ will present a diverse selection of music documentaries and special programmes from all of the BBC Radio networks; and ‘BBC Introducing’ will see Radio 1’s Huw Stephens showcase the best of new British music for a worldwide audience. The new programmes, plus the World Service’s existing monthly music programme ‘Global Beats’, will air in rotation across the month, giving global audiences an hour long weekly instalment of the best new music from around the world and within the UK, and explore the musical connections that stretch across countries.

BBC World Service, senior commissioning editor Steve Titherington said, “Music is a vital part of people’s lives globally. We want to celebrate the best music being created in the UK and around the world and explore how music is connected across countries and languages. By teaming up with BBC Music, we can capitalise on the BBC’s extensive archive, iconic DJs and authoritative presenters with interviews, documentaries and special features on a range of musical trends, themes and history.”