The BBC has announced that popular BBC One series ‘Countryfile’ is to be put out to competitive tender as part of the Charter and Agreement requirement to open up more of the BBC’s TV programmes to competition.
An invitation to tender for BBC One series Countryfile, to be produced in Bristol, will be published at the end of November. It will also include an option to produce Countryfile Diaries, although a final commissioning decision on the Daytime series will be made at a later date. This is expected to be the final series produced by BBC Studios to be put out to tender this year in order to achieve the 40 percent target by December 2018.
BBC Content will invite pitches from all producers, and a full list of eligibility criteria and requirements for the shows will be openly shared with all suppliers. The BBC will retain all intellectual property rights for the programme, which will continue to be shown on the BBC, but the tendering process will decide which supplier makes the series.
Richard Dawkins, Chief Operating Officer, BBC Content says: “For 30 years, Countryfile has been showcasing the British countryside, the people who live and work in it, and investigating the stories that matter. The show is a key part of BBC One’s Sunday schedule, and putting this series out to tender is all part of opening up more of our existing shows to competition and will ensure we are on track to deliver against our commitments for the end of this year as set out in the BBC’s Charter.”
The titles that have been opened up to competitive tender so far include A Question of Sport, Holby City, Doctors, Bargain Hunt, and Songs Of Praise. The first four were retained by BBC Studios and the latter was awarded to two independent producers Avanti and Nine Lives. Horizon was also opened up to a competitive pitch process, with independent producers Windfall Films and Wingspan Productions joining BBC Studios to produce bundles of films for the BBC’s flagship science strand, as well as a number of single films commissioned from a range of independent producers.
Other titles announced include The Proms TV coverage, Mastermind, Celebrity Mastermind, Later with Jools Holland, Hootenanny, BBC Two’s topical arts coverage, as well as an invitation to pitch for a new Film Show proposition on the BBC. Natural World has also been opened up to greater competition from 20/21, with producers able to pitch for all programmes in the strand. These processes are all still live at the moment.
The tendering of returning series currently produced by BBC Studios forms part of the Compete Or Compare strategy launched by the BBC in 2014, which underlined the BBC’s commitment to commission the best programmes for audiences, regardless of who makes them. The BBC will continue to release further opportunities to the market.
The requirements for each tender are communicated at the time of publication, with enough time for suppliers to do appropriate research and preparation.