Region Gets 'Scraps from Plate' in TV Drama Plans; Television BBC Plans to Move 'Beyond M25' Criticized

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Byline: ANN BLACKABY By creative Industries Editor

The head of a Midland film company has accused the BBC of giving the region "the scraps from the BBC's plate" in its recently-announced plans to increase out-of-London spending to 50 per cent.

Simon Woods, producer at European Drama Network, said the BBC was neglecting Midland drama production.

He added the broadcaster's "beyond theM25" plans would not help fulfil its intention of better reflecting the diversity of creative talent around the UK.

The BBC announced plans last week to increase its out-of-London programme spend to 50 per cent by 2016, including moving production of the Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows to Birmingham.

The broad - caster said the city would become a centre for horticulture programming under the new plans, as well as for factual and dram a now that the future of long-standing series Doctors has been assured for three more years.

Recent factual titles produced here include Coast and Trawler Men.

But despite the presence of Doctors in the city, Mr Woods accused the broadcaster of squeezing drama production out of the Midlands.

He said: "Given the amount of money and prominence given to drama within the BBC, the Midlands is effectively being cut out of the key areas of BBC production.

"How can the region reflect its diversity of talent?" Mr Woods said the centralisation of decision-making in the BBC in England, combined with the staff movement between the BBC and independent production companies, has created a culture where everybody in the TV sector increasingly thinks alike.

"This sought-after diversity is not about where you make it but where youmake the decisions about making it. …