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Edinburgh TV Festival Live Blog: Danny Cohen on the future of BBC One

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BBC One controller Danny Cohen takes to the stage for the latest session at this year's Edinburgh International Television Festival, and Digital Spy is live-blogging all the action direct from the city's International Conference Centre.

Will Danny reveal the coaching lineup for series two of The Voice UK? Will he respond to criticism of the channel's Jubilee coverage? And what about the Beeb's plans for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary?

Stay tuned for all the scoops on BBC shows old and new!

The Voice UK Live Final: The judges open the show.

© BBC/Wall to Wall/Guy Levy

'The Voice' UK coaches Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am, Jessie J and Danny O'Donoghue

Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman on the set of 'Doctor Who' - June 2012

© BBC


13:28And with that, we're done - nary a mention for Doctor Who we're afraid! Stay tuned to Digital Spy for more news and live-blogs direct from the Edinburgh International Television Festival. Join us at 2pm for a session with ITV controller Peter Fincham!


13:25To close, Danny Cohen announces his intention to have BBC output remain "very high-quality" and "entertaining" with "amazing range".


13:22Another big announcement - BBC has ordered game show Britain's Brightest to launch in early 2013. It's described as an "intelligence test show" and a "smart entertainment" series.


13:21What is the future for Michael Palin's travelogue shows? Danny wants to work with Palin more, but he's also looking for the "next Michael Palin" and wants more shows with "charming guys... as your travel guide."


13:19Time for a highlights reel of what's to come from BBC - awesome-looking spy thriller Hunted, period crime drama Ripper Street (also pretty great looking), new sitcom Citizen Khan and Halloween spook-fest The Secret of Crickley Hall.


13:14Danny confirms a new World War I drama about nurses called The Ark for the war's 100 year anniversary in 2014. Also a new detective series titled Quirke starring Gabriel Byrne. Big scoop!


13:11Time for questions from the audience - is there an opportunity off the back of the Olympics to launch new sports and health based programming? "It's got to be a great telly idea for us to engage with it," says Danny. "But I think we should if we can."


13:07How can the BBC continue its sports focus following the Olympics? Of sports-based entertainment shows, Danny says: "We are looking at proposals in that area but we haven't commissioned anything yet."


13:05Cohen also reveals that there are certain new drama series on BBC One that he wouldn't have commissioned on his own and credits Ben Stephenson of BBC Drama for broadening the corporation's output.


13:05Has Danny ever been unsure about a commission? Originally he was worried about the limitations of Russell Howard's Good News and its ability to tackle serious issues. He also admits that he wasn't initially unconvinced by BBC Three sitcom How Not To Live Your Life.


12:59Cohen denies that comedy has to strike gold straight away to justify a long-term commitment. "We've just brought back In with the Flynns which didn't do amazingly well," he explains, adding that it's important to have returning series alongside new commissions.


12:57The failure of David Jason's The Royal Bodyguard is briefly discussed. "I would've liked it to have done better - but I think comedy is the single hardest genre," says Danny. "Some will work better than others. You learn as you go. You move on."


12:55Danny admits he was surprised by the success of Call the Midwife - "I think it's a brilliant show, but I don't think you can ever honestly say that you knew it was going to happen."


12:55Moving onto BBC drama... is there a danger of overdosing on period drama? "I love adaptations, but we're trying to find original voices and narratives for period," says Danny, nominating Call the Midwife as a good example.


12:52On the future of Planet Earth Live, Cohen confirms: "We won't bring it back in exactly that form, but we are talking to that team... and we'll do plenty more with them."


12:51Clips of Planet Earth Live and its notable lack of actual live content - "I loved that show," says Danny. "Did everything about it go perfectly? No. But it actually got decent viewing figures. It was live and experimental - I'll never regret trying things like that, because that's what we're here to do."


12:49Danny confirms that Ben Elton is writing a new six-part sitcom called Slings and Arrows for BBC One and that David Walliams is also developing a new scripted comedy for the broadcaster.


12:48Series two of The Voice will definitely incorporate format changes, including "probably less live shows" - Cohen adds, "We'll have more details of that later in the year."


12:47Danny talks The Voice coach line-up: "We haven't signed any contracts yet, so I can't say anything official, But we said at the end of the series that we wanted all of our coaches to come back." - sounds like all four will be back for series two.


12:45Is Danny considering commissioning Simon Cowell for Saturday nights? "I'd consider commissioning any producer for Saturday nights," he says, remaining aloof.


12:44Cohen says that he has "more than enough confidence" in The Voice to bring the show back for a second series. He also defends buying in a foreign format rather than creating original programming - naming The Apprentice as a previous UK remake that worked well.


12:43Onto the BBC's entertainment output and the mixed fortunes of The Voice - Danny sings the show's praises, admits there were "a few problems" with the live shows, but argues that the series picked up again towards the finale. "We've got a big hit," he insists.


12:40"The BBC should be a confident place - it should be open about what doesn't work and what does," Danny adds, suggesting that shows like Have I Got News For You provide the corporation with a chance to poke fun at itself.


12:39Kirsty Wark describes the Jubilee coverage as "a bit of a disaster" - Danny contests that, but admits that Pageant Day was not the BBC's "finest hour" and that he regrets the factual errors that were made. However, he praises the same team's coverage of the Jubilee concert.


12:37Was the Beeb under pressure to perform following the controversial Jubilee coverage? "No - there was pressure because it was the Olympics. One had nothing to do with the other."


12:36Straight onto the BBC's Olympics coverage - Danny admits it's been a "great time" for the BBC and he's grateful for the praise the corporation received. "I felt that this was a moment of digital watershed for the BBC and for people's relationship with digital television."


12:32This session is hosted by TV's Kirsty Wark - adding a little credibility to this session. It's like an episode of Newsnight in here.

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