The BBC has revealed plans for what it describes as “its biggest transformation in decades, which will move power and decision-making across the UK”.
Over the next six years, the broadcaster will shift its creative and journalistic centre away from London. Proposals set out in the BBC’s blueprint for the future entitled The BBC Across the UK, will cement commitment to better serve all parts of the country.
By 2027/28, the BBC aims to be spending at the very least, an extra £700 million cumulatively across the UK – generating an additional economic benefit of over £850 million. This will ultimately increase opportunities for jobs and training, and improve representation on and off screen.
Tim Davie, BBC Director-General, said: “Our mission must be to deliver for the whole of the UK and ensure every household gets value from the BBC. These plans will get us closer to audiences, create jobs and investment, and develop and nurture new talent. Over the last year, the BBC – which has been an essential part of the UK’s culture, democracy and creativity for almost a century – has helped inform, educate and entertain all four Nations, as we have collectively faced some of our toughest moments in recent history.
“Now, as we look to the future, we must play our part in supporting social and economic recovery; rebuilding the creative sector and telling the stories that need to be heard from all corners of the UK,” Davie added.
Plans set out in detail in the Across the UK blueprint, include:
In addition, news and current affairs programmes like BBC Two’s Newsnight will be presented from different UK bases through the year and Radio 4’s Today programme will be co-presented from outside London for at least 100 episodes a year. The hit BBC One daytime show Morning Live will be broadcast year-round from Salford.
Funds will be invested in two new long-running network drama series over the next three years – one from the North of England and one from one of the Nations; over the same period, more than 100 new and returning drama and comedy titles will reflect the lives and communities of audiences outside London, including at least 20 that will portray Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
In radio, key daytime programmes on each of Radio 1, 1Xtra and Radio 2 will be made across the UK and each network radio controller will have at least one commissioner based in one of our hubs around the UK by 2027.
The plan is published as new research from KPMG shows the BBC has “wide ranging economic impacts on the UK economy” and makes “a significant economic contribution across each of the UK’s nations and regions:”
This comprehensive and wide ranging KPMG report will be published in full shortly.
Responding to the announcement, DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said: “We welcome the BBC’s decision to move more of its operations to Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds and Salford which will give licence fee payers greater bang for their buck. It’s the start of greater recognition of the need to commit to and rebalance audiences outside London.”
“However we hope these changes will not repeat some of the costly mistakes made by the BBC in its previous move to Salford. This has to represent value for money for licence fee payers.”