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.
Mary Hockaday, Controller of BBC World Service English, says: "News and current affairs remains the heart of the World Service, but there's 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 the BBC's outstanding musical expertise for our global audience, and I'm also introducing a new home for distinctive factual series where we'll 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, innovative.
Also announced is a major collaboration between BBC World Service and BBC Music, which produces the BBC's outstanding range of musical content. They will join forces to launch three new monthly programmes. BBC Radio 6 Music presenter, 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.
Steve Titherington, Senior Commissioning Editor for BBC World Service, says: "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."
Further Programme Information
Jake Wallis Simons examines the changing timetable of adulthood in Africa and Europe and asks what it means to be a grown-up in the 21st century. If the path to maturity is about stable work, marriage and a home for your family where does that leave those who haven't pursued these goals? Across three programmes, Jake talks to those who have followed and those who have diverted from the 'expected' path. The reasons are rich and varied with the economy often playing a role, but are they experiencing 'waithood,' a period of suspension between childhood and adulthood? It seems that the entrance to adulthood is happening later and later. A new generation is getting married later, having babies later and buying homes later. This new economic reality is changing the way we think about adulthood. With a shortage of jobs, many are finding their futures restricted and some feel they are failing to live up traditional ideals.
The Cultural Frontline
The Cultural Frontline is a new programme for the World Service which invites leading writers, thinkers and artists to send in dispatches from their part of world, investigating the ways that culture is responding to - and changing - their world. Every week, the programme will carve out a space where journalists respond to the culture around them and artists and cultural figures reflect on current affairs. As the first Palestinian National Museum opens in Ramallah, we'll hear how museums can help to shape and inform a nation's identity, and one year on from the Hong Kong democracy protests, one artist who took part will explain how he's trying to preserve the work that was made. As ancient artefacts continue to be destroyed in Palmyra, our correspondent explains why she's reconsidering her stance on restitution of historical objects. From South Africa we hear how student protests about a statue of Cecil Rhodes have spilled into a debate about representation in literature. In Argentina, a high-profile new cultural centre is giving free tickets for everything. So when a government gives culture to the people, what do they give and what does it tell us about their agenda? Our correspondent reports.
BBC Music on the BBC World Service
BBC Music on the World Service with Cerys Matthews – a new music programme celebrating all genres and all eras of music. Cerys takes the listener on a musical journey joining the dots between early pioneers and contemporary performers, and follows the music across borders in a show that promises to inform, entertain and amaze. Every month, Cerys will be joined by an esteemed guest: a singer, player, producer or songwriter to explore pivotal moments in music history, and together they will revel in little-known gems from the world's rich musical heritage, side by side with well-loved classics in all languages. The programme will draw upon the BBC's extensive archive, including from iconic DJs John Peel and Charlie Gillett, and the music will be expertly programmed with the discussion to provide an authoritative, insightful and accessible musical journey for a global audience.
Music Extra – Aimed at younger listeners in particular, BBC World Service will air a selection of music documentaries and special programmes drawn from across the BBC's other networks, giving World Service audiences a taste of the musical expertise that can be found on Radio 6 Music, Radio 2, Radio 1 and 1Xtra. An hour long, the programmes will be a rich mixture of speech and music exploring major musical legacies or issues which have a direct interest to our younger audiences.
BBC Introducing – Huw Stephens from Radio 1 showcases the best of new British music for a worldwide audience. This monthly compilation will include interviews and clips with emerging artists, and explore different genres and themes. There's a fascination around the world for the musical trends and talent emerging from the UK during the last half a century. This is the chance to learn what the next big thing might be, and about the lives of young people throughout Britain. The music is accompanied by interviews with new artists producing new songs from across all parts of the UK. The show will draw on the live performances during the year at UK festivals including Glastonbury, Reading, T in the Park, Radio 1 Big Weekend and 6 Music Festival, as well as international festivals including SXSW. The show will also draw on the BBC Introducing Maida Vale performances, and reflect the journeys made from BBC Introducing to global recognition by many artists.