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BBC drama chief Lindsay Salt promises to take risks, announces 12 new shows

The BBC has unveiled a 66-hour slate of new and returning dramas

Director of BBC drama Lindsay Salt has promised the UK public broadcaster will be bold and take risks with content, while revealing a slate including 12 new dramas.

Speaking at a BBC event, Salt claimed the industry has shifted from the golden era of “peak TV” to a hesitant new period of “peak caution.”

However, the former Netflix commissioner insisted that while other broadcasters and platforms are cutting back on commissions and relying on proven IP to attract viewers, the BBC won’t be hamstrung by risk-aversion.

Salt said: “I believe the BBC is the only place that can promise true boldness and braveness in all our decision making. In an era of caution, it’s our time to shine.

“There’s something about this moment, the current climate in our industry, that makes our approach to risk even more essential. Inflation, content and platform saturation, streamer retrenchment, the writers’ strike, it’s all fed a serious slowdown. Five years ago, everyone was willing to make brave choices, but today there’s much more short-termism.

“I worry that risk-taking is becoming a dirty word. And that, in less than a decade, the industry might be moving from peak TV to peak caution. But not the BBC – while others might become more cautious, we will go further and take the risks others won’t.”

While setting out her vision for BBC drama, Salt also announced a 66-hour slate of both new and returning titles.

Dear England (4×60’) is a drama about Gareth Southgate, manager of the England football team. Based on James Graham’s play of the same name, it will be produced by Left Bank Pictures (The Crown).

Romantic comedy Film Club (6×30’) is produced by Gaumont (Locked In) and stars co-creator Aimee Lou Wood as a cinema buff in love with her friend.

Glasgow-set Lions (working title, 6×45’), meanwhile, is made by Mam Tor Productions, while darkly comic domestic drama Mint (8×30’) is from Fearless Minds and House Productions.

Revenge and redemption thriller Reunion (4×60’) follows a deaf ex-convict determined to right the wrongs of his life and will be made by Warp Films.

Six-part coming-of-age story The Dream Lands, from prodco Sister (This is Going to Hurt), is set in the near future and is based on Rosa Rankin-Gee’s novel Dreamland.

Rebecca Hall (The Town) will star in The Listeners, made by Element Pictures, which is about a teacher who detects a low humming sound that no one else around her can hear.

Prodco A24 (Beef) will produce six-part series The Minstry of Time, about a government department gathering expats from across history in an experiment to test the viability of time travel.

The Split Up (6×60’) is about the high-stakes world of Manchester’s divorce law circuit, where one family of lawyers, the Kishans, reign supreme. It is produced by Northern Sister in association with Little Chick.

Liverpool-set crime drama This City is Ours (8×60’), from Left Bank Pictures, is a story about family and love destroyed and corrupted by ambition, pride and greed.

We Go Again (wt, 6×45’) is produced by The Forge Entertainment (The Buccaneers) and centres on three stubbornly optimistic siblings with a dark secret.

Finally, the BBC has also ordered two more six-part seasons of Belfast-set police drama Blue Lights, produced by Two Cities Television.

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