November 19, 2008

BBC HD one year old

Was it really just a year ago that the BBC Trust confirmed BBC HD's trial status was at an end and the channel was now a fully-fleged member of the Beeb's digital offering? How time flies.
So has it been a disappointment? Some times I look at the weekly schedules for the channel and feel like things have gone backwards - there seem to be even more repeats of music programmes than ever, now coupled with snippets of old gardening footage or aerial shots from Coast to fill the schedules. But, looking deeper, there've been many great series on BBC HD in its first full year, and it would be wrong to say it has not improved. For classical drama fans we've had Cranford, Tess of the D'urbervilles, Little Dorritt and others, whilst more modern dramas have included Damages, The Company, Torchwood, Mad Men, Silent Witness and of course Heroes. Most new comedy from the Beeb these days is in HD (Gavin & Stacey, Lead Balloon and other lesser lights) whilst we've been spoiled for documentaries, including Wild China, Michael Palin's New Europe, Building Britain, Britain from Above and Around the World in 80 Gardens. And although live sport has been weaker with the loss of the England internationals and some curious quality issues with the FA Cup matches, the Olympics were stunning and Wimbledon looked better than ever.
So it hasn't been a bad first year, not by a long chalk, but it has still been something of a disappointment - the repeats are still so prevalent most evenings you almost miss the new stuff. Let's hope the second year is when things really take off. Let me know how you feel with a comment or two guys, or vote in the poll.


Anonymous said...

don't forget Survivors, starting at the weekend.

I agree it is very difficult to tell what's new and what's a repeat, and a repeat of a repeat.

Anonymous said...

Its poor. Period drama's in HD. Big deal. Look at the major event of this year, the Euro 2008 final. THe picture kept cutting out and half the time it wasn't in HD. Poor!

Still that is all we have and maybe all we will ever get?

Afront said...

Overall I've been very pleased with BBC HD's output over the past year. As well as the shows you mention, The Tudors looked gorgeous, and there have several quality one-off dramas too.

The sound is now always at a consistent level (no more cutting in and out of DD 5.1) and the DOG is now almost invisible: I'd expected it to get more intrusive, not less.

BBC HD has been my most-watched channel ever since I upgraded to V+ and I don't see that changing anytime soon, even if Virgin were to suddenly start Sky 1 HD or ITV HD.

Disappointments? Well, Dr. Who should have been in HD, and no Spooks is also disappointing. More movies would be appreciated too. But that's about it - on the whole, BBC HD has been everything I'd hoped for!

Matt Whitby said...

It just seems to be random programmes. There's no obvious structure to the channel.

demented said...

Disappointing. There's been the football and the olympics and I've watched the Tudors and Mad Men. That's been about it. As the sport and films have dried up although there have been some dramas I might have been interested in I've not watched them. The mish mash just doesn't excite me in the same way that when BBC Choice was run in a similar way. The mix is too eclectic, the scheduling too bizarre to sit down and watch it on a regular basis. The channel doesn't even have a permanent start up time. As there is no HD on catch up I pretty much don't watch it anymore. Some good bits but overall very disappointing. The channel either needs to be distintive or a simulcast. The current model doesn't work at all for me.