Hallelujah: BBC puts Songs of Praise and other shows out to tender

William Turvill
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Songs of Praise will be joined by A Question of Sport, Holby City and Horizon in being put out to commercial competition (Source: Getty)

The BBC has today put Songs of Praise, Holby City, A Question of Sport and science show Horizon out to competitive tender.

Independent production companies, including the corporation’s new commercial arm BBC Studios, will be able to pitch to make the programmes, which are currently made in-house.

Read more: "Historic day" as BBC prepares to put more programming out to tender

Under the terms of the new BBC royal charter, all programming outside of news and current affairs will eventually be opened up to commercial competition.

The corporation has agreed to release 40 per cent of the existing in-house guarantee programmes in the next two years and unveiled the first tranche today.

The BBC said further titles put out to tender will be announced next year and will give more details to the production industry in a meeting tomorrow.

“We are moving forward with our plans to deliver more competition for ideas in the marketplace,” said Bal Samra, managing director of BBC Television and commercial director.

Read more: ITN boss calls for more BBC outsourcing ahead of crunch white paper

“In turn, the government agreed that BBC Studios will be a fully commercial operation able to make programmes for anyone and subject to the same rules as any commercial independent programme maker.”

He added:

We are incredibly proud of all these titles and our decision to put them to tender in the first batch is a pragmatic one, so we can move quickly. These are BBC shows that will still be on BBC Channels and we will still own the rights. We have nurtured and cherished them over many years, our audiences love them and they are precious to us, but we hope the tendering process will offer an opportunity to test value for money and ensure we are delivering the very best programmes for viewers.