By Will Barber – Taylor
BBC Two is the BBC’s second channel. It was launched nearly fifty years ago on the 20 April 1964. The channel was envisaged as the channel that would be for special interest programming that would not be shown on BBC One. For most of the time the BBC Two schedule is the same as the BBC One schedule. From early morning to about the time of the evening news it is incredibly dull and populated with repeats of antique programmes that have been shown a dozen times.
At night, however, it becomes far more exciting. BBC 2 has in recent times surpassed BBC One in its output of drama. In the past few months, BBC 2 has presented us with Poliakoff’s master class in drama that is “Dancing on The Edge”, Sir Tom Stoppard’s amazing adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s “Parade’s End” series and possibly the best series of Shakespeare plays put on the BBC since the 70s in the form of “The Hollow Crown”.
In comparison, BBC1 offered us the vile and gritty “Ripper Street” which whilst not up to the standards of the previously mentioned BBC2 dramas does merit a second series. On the other hand, “Merlin” went from mildly bad to tearing the hair out and losing the will to live television
BBC Two are also showing us some funny comedy. Charlie Brooker’s “Weekly Wipe” is a very funny look at the week. BBC One’s offering of comedy was basically a mad, tall woman who keeps falling over whilst trying to get a man and a man pretending to be a women. However, in the last few weeks BBC One have at least tried to claw back some comedic dignity with “Being Eileen” a sequel to last year’s “Lapland”. Though not my particular cup of tea, it has good characterisation, charming storylines and poignant moments.
Meanwhile, BBC 2 produced the intriguing documentary two parter “Meet the Izzards” in which Eddie Izzard traces his DNA back through human history. In the first episode we follow the route Eddie’s mother’s ancestors would have taken. In the second episode, the journey is that of his father’s ancestors. Fundamentally, BBC2 came up trumps again as this is the first time in Britain that this has been done.
If that is not enough justification for why BBC 2 is superior (at the moment) to BBC One then there are other examples. BBC 2 does not have such riveting television as “Britain’s Brainiest” as shown in which a bunch of wannabe “geniuses” try to get the title “Britain’s Brainiest”. Seeing as none of the actual, truly “brainy” people are taking part, because they have better things to do, the whole point of it is null and void.
So for the time being I will be watching BBC2, although it has to be considered that for most of 2012, BBC1’s content was either Queen related or Olympic related. Hopefully, it can redeem itself this year and prove that it is as half as good as BBC 2.
- Parade’s End leads nominations for Broadcasting Press Guild awards (guardian.co.uk)
- Review Show moves to BBC4 monthly slot in arts revamp (guardian.co.uk)
- Ford Madox Ford and unfilmable Modernism (oup.com)