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ED TV Fest 2015 Kim Shillinglaw

This morning, BBC Two controller Kim Shillinglaw attended her first Edinburgh TV Festival, a year into her new job.

Asked how she was settling in, she said that BBC Two has always been her favourite TV channel and the idea of a TV landscape without BBC Two is a scary idea.


She highlights The Honourable WomanCharlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe, The Detectives, University Challenge and W1A as channel defining programmes, none of which she commissioned herself, she admits.


Speaking about who the BBC Two audience are, she described them as curious lively viewers who come to the channel for entertainment and stimulation.


When asked where BBC Two sits in the TV landscape, Kim said "It's big enough to really be worth working for. It's not Sky Arts or Sky Atlantic, it's the nation's third biggest tv channel. But it's not so big that share has to be a dominant imperative.


Asked about what she has brought to the channel she said that you'll begin to start seeing changes in the autumn, as it takes a while for a channel to move in any direction. "There are ways BBC Two can be more contemporary, there is such a thing as too much bunting."


She went on to say that it's "...important that BBC Two makes you laugh, entertains you and provokes you to think." Her ambition is for the channel to become more part of the national conversation.


So who is a BBC Two audience? She said it's "Definitely a channel for grown ups who are young at heart and are curious and lively. It's our job to bring difficult subjects to the mix, but at the same time, also sit back and laugh. It's about the mix."


For her channel defining clip, she picked The Detectives, which she described as a "really beautiful series, tackling important issues in a way that brought real innovation to the screen. The look, feel and pace were all really distinctive."


Speaking about the controversy surrounding Top Gear,  Kim said "it was a very sad episode in a lot of ways, for me this is the biggest reminder that at the end of the day its about human beings. It's all about a human situation. I'll always have a respect for the craft skills. What happened, wasn't something the BBC found was acceptable, and I don't think any organisation would have thought it was acceptable."


When asked how the new series of Top Gear would look, she said it will be "Incredibly spontaneous, you won't quite know what's going to happen next, and that's always fantastic telly. It's going to be different, the presenter line-up will be a bit different. There will be some continuity but there will be changes. It's scary but interesting. I'm very excited.


Kim ended the session by previewing clips from four new shows launching this autumn, London SpyCradle To Grave, Stag and The Naked Choir.


She described London Spy as a stunning piece of drama that's a very BBC Two commission, and described the drama on her channel not being able to sit on any other channel, and she has an absolute commitment to let people do what they want to do.


Speaking about comedy, Kim said that this autumn they're trying something different with a comedy double-bill at 9pm with Cradle to Grave followed by Boy Meets Girl, a sign she says, of how much BBC Two cares about comedy.

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