Edinburgh TV Fest: New BBC One Boss Unveils Judi Dench, Dustin Hoffman Film


The stars will work together in a Roald Dahl adaptation as Charlotte Moore says her vision for the flagship U.K. public broadcast channel is "distinctive, innovative and pioneering television.”

EDINBURGH – New BBC One controller Charlotte Moore outlined her vision for the U.K. public broadcaster's flagship channel here on Thursday and announced first programming commissions, including an adaptation of a Roald Dahl book starring Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman.

In her first public comments since being appointed, she told the Edinburgh Television Festival, sponsored by the Guardian, that she wants to bring "warm-hearted storytelling that celebrates the richness and complexities of life in new and surprising ways" to the network."

I intend to look under the bonnet of every genre to make sure we are bringing audiences distinctive, innovative and pioneering television," Moore said.

That means that BBC One should be "part of the national conversation" and that viewers should feel that the annual license fee they pay to help fund the BBC "is being well spent on quality programs." Concluded Moore: "BBC One needs to offer something for everyone, every week of the year, and that is what I’m committed to.”

While she has been in her post for only a few weeks, Moore on Thursday also unveiled first program orders designed to set the tone for what to expect from her tenure.

Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot will star Dench and Hoffman in an adaptation by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer. Said Moore: "It's absolutely stellar casting for one of the nation's favorite children's classics."

Another Moore order is six-episode drama Ordinary Lies. Set in a car showroom, it focuses on a group of characters dealing with everyday dilemmas and lies that spin out of control with sometimes tragic, sometimes funny consequences.

A third commission she mentioned Thursday is Talk To The Animals, which sees a female expert trying to answer whether humans can really talk to animals.

"I’ve inherited the channel in a great place," Moore concluded. "2012 was a record-breaking year for BBC One, and it remains Britain’s most-watched channel so far this year, with by far the biggest reach…My focus is to build on that success and ensure BBC One remains the nation’s favorite."

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai