In Broadcast, Katherine Rushton reports:
The BBC is to hand network commissioning power to the nations for the first time in what is being hailed as a “radical reshaping” of its structure. Chief operating officer Caroline Thomson is planning to recruit at least five new commissioning executives across BBC Scotland, BBC Wales and BBC Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, over in The Guardian, we read that the BBC is considering dividing up Jane Tranter’s drama commissioning responsibilities after she leaves for the US.
Reading the Broadcast report, it looks as if only BBC Scotland’s Anne Mensah, with whom I worked on Life Line, is a drama person. Most of the proposed commissioning power appears to lie in the area of factual, daytime, and ‘entertainment’.
But am I the only one who sees this as an ideal opportunity to devolve the over-centralised, personality-focused BBC drama commissioning procedure into something more resembling the old, successful, ‘federal’ system of ITV, before asset-stripping and consolidation turned it from a showbusiness giant into today’s dull monoculture?
Jane Tranter’s done a fine job but a ‘one gatekeeper’ system is flawed at heart, whoever the gatekeeper may be.