How Will Danny Cohen Shape BBC One?

BBC Three's ex-controller Danny Cohen (or, as I like to call him: The Nincompoop Who Cancelled Pulling) recently got a new posting. Last October Auntie’s favourite nephew was handed the top job at BBC1. A much-deserved bump up the ladder, some said. Presumably the same “some” who had admired his commitment to programming that provided a safe space for the criminally thick to loll their tongues. Others, meanwhile, thought it a foolish move, like handing a kid who makes Airfix kits the keys to a Red Arrow.

Unperturbed by his doubters’ unflattering similes and sneers, Cohen is already pumping potent, schedule-shattering pheromones onto his new patch. Last week saw DC axe Larkrise to Candleford and sexy detective drama, Zen. Before that he booted under-performing Monday night sci-fi saga, Outcasts, into a less glamorous slot (Sundays, 10.25pm).

But is Danny’s early failure to champion the channel’s core dramatic output pioneering and brave, or flat-out dumb? It depends what’s he got lined up as replacements. Will he seek out fresh, original content or rifle through BBC Three’s top drawer? If the Sod Off, I’m (Insert unappealing physical attribute here) series--or anything that invites the audience to decide whether a middle-aged mum is more attractive than her weepy daughter--goes terrestrial then I’m hosting a sit in on (previous BBC1 controller) Jay Hunt’s front lawn until she agrees to stage a coup.

Quite possibly, though, I’m huffing prematurely. Pinching a sister channel's stuff isn't necessarily a bad thing. For instance, BBC Three's Being Human would make a sumptuous addition to the Mother Channel’s portfolio. The worry is that Cohen will use his appointment to drive BBC1 down market, just because he can. Had anyone else pulled the plug on Larkrise I’d have ordered some celebratory bunting, a mallet and a Julia Sawalha-shaped pinata. But with Cohen's hand on the chain, I’m unnerved. On getting the job he bleated about taking risks and how the channel doesn’t need to win the ratings war “365 days a year.” But hazy, soaring press conference talk is cheap and the “risks” he promised could mean anything, or nothing.

At BBC Three, Cohen was lambasted for spending £100 million a year on youth-oriented shows. Now that he’s in charge of the grownup channel he's going out of his way to speak well its vintage stars. Last month he dispelled the rumour that Brucie was about to be dropped from Strictly. Cohen's assured us that under his reign older talent will be cheered not chopped. Perhaps he’s sincere. But more likely, in the coming months, a disconcerting BBC1 press release will slither onto our screen: Jennie Bond Goes to Porn School! the subject line will scream. Or: Titchmarsh gets Naked on Guerrilla Gardening Grownup Gap Year!

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been watching it on i player didnt know outcasts was on lyk till now and i fort it was brillant really good and ive never write for anything on telly dont usally watch cos it usall crap but this sho got me guled in a sence having to watch all 8 in 1 go and ive just found these nos seres 2 ??? carnt beleave it if i had the money you know what i would pay for it to be on !! thanks quite enjoied that
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Just shorten the timeslots to 45 minutes or 30 minutes! God, this is why I don't bother even watching TV any more if the BBC are going to go down the road of axing excellent plot lines. I may as well not even bother paying for a TV license! Bring back Outcasts.
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Gutted Zen has been axed. Hope he doesn't kill BBC Drama totally as the drama dept has a really good record of high quality & high entertainment.

If he has been brought in to save money expect other BBC1 regulars to go like Spooks....etc(Hope I'm wrong)
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I can understand they need to cut costs but to replace a respectable TV series with yet another reality or quiz show will be one more too many for my liking. I like Lark rise & am shocked it has been cut. Boo to you me Cohen
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A BBC1 press release should have already slithered onto your screen - his first commissions (all dramas) were announced in January: http://tinyurl.com/6zjn8xm
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I think his remit may well be primarily to save money. It's inarguable that Larkrise, Zen and Outcasts were all hideously expensive to make and with the BBC under relentless pressure from a hostile tabloid media and government to cut costs and output it is unfortunately very likely that the future of BBC1 will be reality/talent show heavy. They're cheap to make and the phone-in component of many of them creates much needed revenue. It's hateful but true.
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