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BBC Four to transition into arts and archive channel

BBC Four to transition into arts and archive channel
© BBC
The BBC confirms plans to stop commissioning original content for BBC Four and will transition the channel into its home of archive content.

The BBC has confirmed that it is to stop commissioning new content for BBC Four as part of its ongoing cost-cutting drive.

In 2017 the corporation set itself a target of saving £800m a year by March 2022 and has already reduced personnel, cut commissioning hours and streamlined operations at BBC News.

Earlier this year it was announced that BBC Three will return as a linear TV channel with an increased budget by January 2022 following the success of shows such as Fleabag, Normal People and RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

At the same time the BBC has decided to scale back its budget for BBC Four - currently around £44m a year - and will not commission new programming aside from performance pieces such as BBC Proms, BBC Young Dancer and BBC Young Musician.

According to the BBC's latest annual report, BBC Four will "become the home of the most distinctive content from across the BBC's archive" - a strategy which already appears to have started, with repeats of programmes such as Yes, Minister, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and EastEnders in the current schedules.

BBC Four, which has an average audience share of around 0.8%, launched in 2002 as a replacement for the short-lived BBC Knowledge channel.

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