Recently the UK-based producer trade body Pact released their second annual Production Trend Report, which revealed that TV production outside London remains low. The major UK city is still the main source of the country’s network television, accounting for 64% of television in 2007. Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, productions are dropping, with Wales going from 119 hours in 2006 to 99 in 2007 and Northern Ireland from 20 hours to 16.
Jane Millichip, the COO of RDF Rights, responds that she agrees with those statistics. However RDF Rights also manages to support productions outside of London.
‘For our part at RDF Rights, we’re making two of our biggest shows out of London this year, Wife Swap and Don’t Forget The Lyrics are being made out of Manchester. One of our longest running shows, Dickinson’s Real Deals, which is a massive daytime order from ITV, that’s always been made out of RDF West [the Bristol-based arm of RDF],’ she says.
Millichip’s response coincides with the flip side of the report which says there are positive signs. Scotland has seen a rise in hours of productions, up 13%, says the report, as a result of the BBC’s shift in production after Pact’s lobbying, which helped lead to BBC’s ‘Out of London’ strategy.
Although RDF Rights is less indicative of the trend, Millichip believes that facts are facts . ‘I think there will always be a London-centric dynamic to the television business, which the industry will continue to tussle with, really,’ she says. ‘But the PACT figures are what they are, it’s up to the broadcasters to change that. For our part, we’ve got three long running significant series being made outside of London at the moment, so hopefully we’re not symptomatic of that downward trend.’