BBC's Great War Controller speaks to Centenary News

Posted on on 30/04/2014
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In an interview with Centenary News' Ashlee Godwin, the BBC's Great War Controller, Adrian Van Klaveren, has said that programming so far has managed "to set some really important context about the Centenary", as "every single programme, without exception, has provoked a lot of discussion".

The BBC announced last year an ambitious plan to provide thousands of hours of programming across television, radio and online for local, national and international services.

Mr. Van Klaveren highlighted that the BBC's approach was twofold: to commemorate the First World War and to increase the level of understanding about the conflict.

Since the start of 2014, several drama series, including 37 Days, have been aired, as have several documentaries and debates including Britain's Great War, presented by Jeremy Paxman.

Having faced criticism for broadcasting 'too much too soon', Mr. Van Klaveren told Centenary News that it was important for the BBC to 'lay the ground' for what is to come over the next four years.

He said that issues including 'Centenary fatigue' had been carefully considered by the organisation and that the levels of coverage will vary over the period, with 2015 expected to be a "quieter year".

The tone of the Centenary overall has attracted intense debate from politicians and academics, with the BBC favouring commemoration over celebration.

It would be "utterly wrong" if programming was "felt to be triumphalist" or gave the impression of "rejoicing", Mr. Van Klaveren said.

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News

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