'Discreetly celebratory' was how Jane Tranter, Controller BBC Fiction, described the state of mind at BBC Films, where a $4m (£2 m) increase in the current annual budget of $20m (£10m) was confirmed Thursday. There was also the added news that $2m (£1m) of the BBC's film acquisition budget would be ring-fenced for British films.

The news of the increase comes as part of BBC Director General Mark Thompson's six-year plan for the Corporation and has been confirmed by the BBC Trust.

BBC Films is the only branch of the BBC to have its budget raised at a time of wide-ranging and controversial cuts, prompted by the less-favourable-than-expected licence fee settlement. There are expected to be around 2,500 job losses at the BBC.

'Myself and Claire Evans (Head of Operations and Business Affairs, BBC
Fiction) have been lobbying very hard for some time to ensure that the
funding for BBC Films was increased,' Tranter said. 'By how much, we
weren't absolutely certain. It has literally been right up to the wire
before we knew how much the funding for BBC Films would increase by.'

The extra money comes on stream in 2008/09. Acknowledging the funding
was not as much as hoped, Tranter pointed out that the $24m (£12m) was
'fixed' for six years. 'That means we can really plan properly. It's a
good thing creatively and in terms of managing a business.'

BBC Television Centre, where Tranter is shortly to move BBC Films from
its current stand-alone offices in London's West End, is now to be sold off to raise money.

However, this has not affected Tranter's plans. BBC staff are not expected to have to quit the building until 2012. 'Films will still be coming to Television Centre at the end of this year or beginning of next year as planned,' she confirmed.

Tranter said morale at BBC Films was high and that other sections of the Beeb did not resent the increase in funding. 'The filmmaking arm is small in comparison in with other genres. Yes, it is having an upward turn in its budget but the amount of money is relatively small in comparison to other things going on.'

Amid the wide-ranging cuts at the BBC, it has been announced that BBC's Storyville - which has supported many documentaries which have gone on
to show in cinemas internationally - will have its budget radically cut. Tranter raised the possibility that BBC Films may step into the feature-doc arena.

'Feature docs would be great,' she told ScreenDaily.com. 'It is certainly an area we would be interested in. There are not that many that can work theatrically, but when they do, they do a really good job.'

Tranter said she did not know whether there was a prospect of further increases in BBC Films Funding. 'I suspect that is unlikely but if we make amazing films and they are successful and they do all the things on behalf of the BBC that we want them to do, that will put us in pole position for getting any addition money should any arise.'

She continued: 'After the uncertainty in the summer, the confirmation that BBC Films is indeed a jewel in its crown is a good thing.'