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BBC unveils plans for big shift away from London for programming and staff

Written by on 18 March 2021

The BBC has announced plans to relocate news and current affairs programmes and hundreds of jobs outside of London in what it has called its “biggest transformation in decades”.

The broadcaster said the plans for the next six years will “better reflect” all parts of the UK.

It comes after it was accused by some of failing to understand the vote for Brexit.

News and current affairs programmes like Newsnight will be presented from different UK bases throughout the year.

Funds will be invested in two major drama series, one set in the North of England and the other from one of the nations.

BBC One daytime show Morning Live will be broadcast year-round from Salford.

Radio 4’s Today programme will be co-presented from outside London for at least 100 episodes a year. PM will also be presented from across the UK.

The BBC said that “major parts of BBC News” would “shift across the UK… ensuring we cover the stories that matter most to audiences and more effectively representing different voices and perspectives”.

The new plan is designed to result in editorial choices which are influenced by communities across the UK.

But Director-General Tim Davie’s announcement left some staff members shocked.

Newsbeat reporter Daniel Rosney tweeted: “The BBC Director General has just told hundreds of staff their jobs are being moved to different cities, but it’s OK because he then showed us a trailer for the new Line of Duty series “after a long two years”.”

Journalist Hannah Price tweeted: “So after moving to Birmingham for my job in 2018, I was moved back to London in 2019.

“2021: move to Birmingham.”

Under the new plan, a “clear majority” of the BBC’s “UK-wide TV will be made across the UK, not in London – at least 60% of network TV commissions by spend.”

Key daytime programmes on each of Radio 1, 1Xtra and Radio 2 will be made across the UK and 50% of network radio and music spend will be outside London by 2027/28.

More than 100 new and returning drama and comedy titles will reflect the lives and communities of audiences outside London over the next three years, the BBC said.

The BBC said the plans will “cement our commitment to better reflect, represent, and serve all parts of the country.”

Mr Davie 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.”

By 2027/28, the BBC will spend at least an extra £700m cumulatively across the UK, it said.