BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow vows drama will be “protected” on the channel

BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow has claimed that drama on the channel will be “protected at all costs”, as the Corporation looks to make savings as part of its Delivering Quality First initiative.

Hadlow was speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, where she also announced an adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall for the channel and a new thriller from The Shadow Line writer Hugo Blick.

The controller also announced new comedies starring David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Sue Perkins, Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson.

Speaking about DQF, under which the BBC has to make 20% of savings, Hadlow said that fiction – drama and comedy – “injects into what is still primarily a factual channel something so powerful you want to protect that at all costs”.

As well as Wolf Hall, a six-part series from Company Pictures, Hadlow announced today that Blick will write The Honourable Woman for BBC2.

This has been described as a “suspenseful spy thriller about inheritance, political and personal, and the lengths some spies will go to not only to deceive their enemies.”

The Honourable Woman is being made by Eight Rooks.

New comedy commissions announced for BBC2 today include Our Men, starring Mitchell and Webb, which is described as a comedy drama that follows “the lives and loves of the British Embassy team in Tazbekistan”.

It is being made by Big Talk Productions and is being written by James Wood, whose credits include Rev, and Rupert Walters.

Meanwhile, Perkins will write and star in Heading Out, about a 40-year-old who has to tell her parents she is gay. It is a co-production between Red Production Company and Square Peg TV.

BBC2 has also commissioned a new six-part comedy starring Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson, called Hooligans’ Island, in which the performers reprise the roles they created and played in Bottom.

Meanwhile, BBC2 has also commissioned Count Arthur Strong, a six-part series based on a radio character created by Steve Delaney. Delaney is working with Graham Linehan to bring the radio programme to TV.

Hadlow said: “Looking ahead, I want to ensure that the channel’s sense of confidence and scale continues, and I believe that these commissions demonstrate the range and ambition we have for BBC2.”

However, Hadlow said her ambition is to find “a pre-watershed comedy” to replace Miranda on the channel.

“That is part of BBC2′s heritage. I grew up watching great BBC2 comedy in the early evening and I would love to find something to replace Miranda,” she said.

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