14 April 2014 6:27 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

On the 50th anniversary of BBC2 the channel that once demanded programming with 'the smell of Britain' two more series are setting out to explore our nation's eccentricities

A former controller of BBC2 the network that celebrates its 50th birthday this weekend once provoked internal merriment by demanding that the broadcaster's programmes should contain "the smell of Britain". Once this was leaked to media diaries, there was external merriment, and the phrase went on to inspire a "Can you smell it? Go on, breathe in" line in one of Tom Baker's voiceovers for Little Britain.

Merriment aside, this aromatic requirement touches on a real dilemma. In a period when the economics of television place a priority on shows that can be formatted and exported around the world, how does a broadcaster make sure it also reflects the place where its core audience and funding reside?

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- Mark Lawson

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