Yesterday may have been Halloween, but today I learned of a real horror story; the BBC is going to cut “a third of its 180 production staff, including 10 out of 35 producers, nine of 17 assistant producers, 23 of 33 researchers and 11 of 37 production manager jobs,” from the Natural History Unit according to the Financial Times. The cuts are a result of the BBC attempting to make back about $4.5 billion due to a bad license-fee settlement, an estimated 2,500 job cuts resulting from the need to recoup the funds. As Julia has noted, this is especially shocking given the popularity, success, and quality of natural history programs like Planet Earth, Blue Planet, and The Life of… Series, although I have no idea how the truncation of the unit will affect the production of future programs. There is at least one more slated documentary series, Life in Cold Blood, that will broadcast in 2008, but it will be David Attenborough’s last and will mark the end of an era for BBC natural history films. Although the unit will not disappear altogether, the loss of 1/3 of the unit (including 2/3 of its researchers) and the exit of the “voice” of natural history films will undoubtedly hit the BBC hard, and how this will affect the quality of future programs in anyone’s guess.