Last Wednesday evening, in a speech entitled ‘Beyond the M25: A BBC for all of the UK,’ director of BBC Vision, Jana Bennett, explained the network’s plans to up program spending outside of London.
Last year the out of London programming spend was up 15% to £300 million. The new strategy is meant to make the beeb better reflect the creative talent all across the UK and connect with the audience, rather than focus in one center.
The trade association representing film and TV producers in the UK, Pact, thinks the strategy is a positive move for UK programming. ‘We are very pleased that the BBC has responded to Pact’s concerns over a number of years regarding the level of production out of London,’ says Pact chief executive John McVay.
Pact is particularly pleased with the appointments of BBC network commissioning executives in other regions dedicated to independent producers, thus giving producers outside of London greater access to the BBC.
Charles Wace, Pact’s Chairman, and chief executive of Plymouth-based prodco Twofour, agrees that this new strategy for the BBC is great news for indies outside of London who have had to struggle for access to commissioners in the past. ‘These posts are a good complement to Pact’s Talent Attraction Scheme as together they will increase opportunities for all producers and thus deliver the diversity and quality of programming that the UK license fee payer deserves,’ he says.