BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more "highbrow" programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio channels, it is funded by the television licence, and is therefore commercial-free. It is a comparatively well-funded public service network, regularly attaining a much higher audience share than most public service networks worldwide.
Originally styled BBC2, it was the third British television station to be launched (starting on 20 April 1964), and from 1 July 1967, Europe's first television channel to broadcast regularly in colour. It was envisaged as a home for less mainstream and more ambitious programming, and while this tendency has continued to date, most special-interest programmes of a kind previously broadcast on BBC Two, for example the BBC Proms, now tend to appear on BBC Four instead.
BBC Two's remit historically was one screening programmes targeting the arts, culture, drama and some comedy, and appealing to audiences not already served by BBC one or ITV. Over its first thirty or so years the channel developed a reputation for screening highly praised and prestigious drama series, among these Boys from the Blackstuff (1982) or 1996's, critically acclaimed Our Friends in the North. The channels "highbrow" profile is also in part attributable to a long history of demanding documentaries of all types, beginning with Civilisation and The Ascent of Man in the 1960s. Like the early Channel 4, BBC2 also established for itself a reputation as a champion of independent and international cinema, under the Screen 2 brand.