While the BBC’s HD stream begins broadcasting on May 11, the satellite trial doesn’t begin in earnest until the Whitsun Bank Holiday (May 27-29). That weekend will see the Corporation screen all five episodes of Planet Earth Part One, plus the entire Dicken’s drama Bleak House, as a celebratory curtain-raiser to its Summer of HD.
Starting June 9, the BBC’s World Cup coverage will also be simulcast in HD TV, along with major Wimbledon matches. From July the channel will show an assortment of drama, factual programming and music.
Says Seetha Kumar, Head of HDTV: “Typically we will be showing a couple of hours of HD a day, but this will vary, particularly while we are covering the World Cup and Wimbledon.”
Kuma confided that the trial will include some simulcasting of feature films, but she admitted not all the Beeb’s biggest shows will be in high def. “Dr Who, for example, is not available in high definition format, because of the extra cost that all the special effects work would entail, rendering for improved definition. Maybe some time in the future…”
Director of Television Jana Bennett adds: “These are small but exciting first steps in the BBC’s ambition to offer the option of high definition to all our viewers. It’s clear that licence fee payers expect high definition broadcasts from the BBC, the same way they have moved to colour, widescreen, digital radio and online with us in the past.”
Official BBC HD programme information
The team behind the multi-award-winning natural history series The Blue Planet return with the ultimate portrait of our world. Four years in the making, this is the Earth celebrated as never before. Narrated by David Attenborough.
A BBC/Discovery Channel/NHK co-production for BBC ONE in association with the CBC
The story of Rome’s greatest enemy Hannibal Barca is laid out in epic detail. Combining up-to-date historical research, dramatization and state-of-the-art CGI, this spectacular factual recreation follows Hannibal’s audacious campaign and invites viewers to meet—for the first time—the man behind the myth.
Actor Alexander Siddig (Kingdom Of Heaven, Star Trek and Deep Space Nine) brings the character of Hannibal to life as he marches 1,500 miles with 60,000 soldiers and 37 elephants to challenge his Roman enemies on their own soil. Phil Dolling, Executive Producer for BBC Factual and Learning, also made Genghis Khan.
Gillian Anderson, Denis Lawson, Charles Dance, Alistair McGowan, Pauline Collins and Johnny Vegas lead a star cast in a ground-breaking, Bafta award-winning adaptation of Dickens’ well-loved tale for BBC ONE. It is a skillfully crafted thriller and passionate indictment of the legal system that is as relevant today as it was in the mid-19th century.
Written by multiple Bafta award-winner Andrew Davies and shot in High Definition, Bleak House uses the pace, multiple storylines and cliff-hanger endings more usually associated with popular drama.
Tamzin Outhwaite and Max Beesley star in this tantalizing and seductive insight into the world of the luxury five-star hotel industry, where money not only talks but can buy just about anything you desire, even if it’s not on the menu…
The eight-part series is based on Imogen Edwards-Jones’ exposé of life behind the scenes of the luxury hotel industry in London.
Children’s Party at the Palace
Harry Potter is just one of the many characters invited to a very special party celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s 80th birthday at Buckingham Palace this summer. The Queen has invited CBBC to provide entertainment for the day.
The audience will be 2,000 children and their parents from all over the UK who were given tickets by The Queen. Airing on BBC ONE.
Later with Jools Holland
BBC TWO’s critically acclaimed and award-winning Later … With Jools Holland has played host to over 500 of the world’s finest artists – ranging from stadium acts to the latest up and coming performers. It is the only live music show on TV where you’ll find, for example, the likes of Robbie Williams performing with Bonnie Raitt, Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan and Ray Davies with Reef. Highlights of the forthcoming series will be Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour, The Strokes and Roseanne Cash.
The Fifa World Cup 2006 is the first major sports tournament to be shown in the UK in high definition. HD joins interactivity, radio and online as one of the many ways viewers can experience the World Cup with the BBC.
All the BBC coverage – the BBC’s share of live games, the studio in Berlin and the day’s highlights, will be shown in high definition during the trial. Match of the Day presenter and former England captain Gary Lineker leads the BBC TV team. Joining Gary in the studio will be Alan Hansen and former England internationals Alan Shearer, Ian Wright and Lee Dixon.
BBC HD will show the Centre Court and Court One action from Wimbledon 2006. Head of General Sports Barbara Slater talks about BBC HD in the film.
Also coming from the BBC in HD:
Fun, contemporary and intelligent, Robin Hood (2006) sets out to entertain a whole new generation with a well-loved classic tale on BBC ONE.
Played by newcomer Jonas Armstrong, Robin Hood’s striking new look, coupled with Dominic Minghella’s sharp scripts, updates the popular legend for a sophisticated, present-day audience. The series will also star Keith Allen (Bodies) as the Sheriff of Nottingham.
The Amazing Mrs Pritchard
Jane Horrocks stars as Sally Wainwright’s eponymous heroine in a new six part drama. So angry at the state of politics, so distrustful of the politicians on offer, local supermarket manager Mrs Pritchard stands on an Independent ticket at the General Election, determined to make a point. What starts as a bit of a joke gathers momentum with a couple of heavyweight politicians defecting to Mrs Pritchard’s side.
Set and filmed in Manchester and written by Daniel Brocklehurst, Sorted lifts the lid on the complicated, funny and emotive lives of this motley gang of postmen – exposing their secrets, passions and fears and delving into their lives, loves, work, family and everything in between. Showing on BBC ONE.
The Chatterley Affair
Andrew Davies’ BBC FOUR drama offers a fictional account of the jurors’ experience from this famous literary tale. It is seen through the eyes of Keith (Rafe Spall – The Rotters’ Club) and Helena (Louise Delamere – No Angels), two of the jurors who fall in love under the influence of Lawrence’s prose.
The Quatermass Experiment
This adaptation of the iconic fifties sci-fi classic production was the first live television drama to be shown on the BBC for over 20 years and formed part of BBC FOUR’s TV On Trial season last year. The Quatermass Experiment was a television phenomenon, attracting massive audiences when it first burst into British homes in 1953.
A breathtaking look at one of the world’s most fascinating places from the BBC Natural History Unit. In three parts, Galapagos will follow the islands’ volcanic births to their deaths beneath the waves and show how life has continues to survive in this unruly environment. The team has been permanently based out in Galapagos for a year and a half, allowing them to react swiftly to chance events and invest time filming some very unusual animal behaviour. To be shown on BBC 2 this autumn. A co-production with National Geographic Channel.
BBC HD is planning to simulcast the First and the Last Night of the Proms and all Proms on BBC ONE and BBC TWO throughout the 2006 season.