BBC to shift spend, power outside London as part of major transformation

The BBC is reallocating decision-making power outside of London as part of a major transformation that will see at least 60% of network TV commissioning spend made outside the city ...
March 18, 2021

The BBC is reallocating decision-making power outside of London as part of a major transformation that will see at least 60% of network TV commissioning spend made outside the city in key genres including factual.

As laid out in its BBC Across the UK blueprint, the pubcaster will implement a top-to-bottom change over the next six years, spending an extra £700 million (US$973.9 million) cumulatively across the UK by 2027/28.

For the first time, a clear majority of UK-wide TV will be made outside of London.

“The money we invest across the UK will mean a noticeable shift in portrayal of different parts of the UK in key genres such as drama, comedy and factual,” the report states.

This “pan-UK commissioning model” is intended to grow the next generation of commissioning talent across all four nations and bring network and nations teams closer together to commission content for both UK and Nations audiences.

This will include new roles based in the North East, North West, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The BBC will also build Birmingham, England’s strength in TV formats with more primetime brands alongside Great British Menu, and build a “center of excellence in production” in the city by consolidating all BBC activity there into one creative quarter.

Salford, England will become the main base for the company’s digital and technology teams, supported by digital teams in Glasgow, Cardiff and London.

The BBC will additionally expand BBC Studios’ bases in Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow and upgrade its Belfast HQ.

Other efforts include renewed creative partnerships with Northern Ireland Screen and Creative Scotland, and establishing a new pact with Creative Wales.

In England, BBC3 will build on its Northern Voices scheme by launching a similar documentary opportunity for Midlands producers to champion local companies and develop a talent pipeline for the region.

Tim Davie (pictured), BBC director-general, said in a statement: “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.

“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.”

Penny Lane, Gay Barlow team for BBC special 

In other news, Spun Gold’s Penny Lane Entertainment is partnering with Take That singer Gary Barlow (The X Factor) to co-produce a new music and entertainment special for the BBC.

The special will see Barlow, a supergroup of artists and musicians along with special guests perform classic tracks.

Deadline first reported the news that the pubcaster was piloting the format, which it reported is tentatively titled Under the Bridge.

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.