Give Us Better Local TV

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Bodden Welsh Affairs Correspondent

TELEVISION viewers in Wales are demanding more investment by local broadcasters in quality programmes. A major survey of views by TV watchdogs revealed fears over a future decline in standards of regional programming.

One ``armchair jury'' selected in Wales suggested HTV Wales should get a rebate on its licence payment to invest in its output.

And the panel of viewers from across Wales believed that quality of programmes was more important than quantity.

Most viewers said they would accept fewer regional programmes if the remaining output was guaranteed to be better resourced.

Jurors felt extra investment could lead to the development of better skills, which in turn, would produce better programmes and an increase in advertising and sponsorship revenue. Regional identity was especially important to viewers in Wales and Scotland, where they showed a greater interest in programmes that reflected their nations.

Viewers in Wales also wanted the shows screened at more popular slots in the schedules.

The findings were published yesterday by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC).

The jury of panellists from across Wales, including some Welsh speakers, met in Cardiff earlier this year to assess the importance to viewers of regional television.

They felt strongly that programmes made within and for Wales helped to promote Welsh culture, heritage and the language.

But it was also important for regional programmes to be shown outside Wales to raise awareness of the country.

L A SENIOR politician yesterday called for an official anti-Anne Robinson week after she joked about the Welsh.

The Conservatives' Welsh culture spokesman, Glyn Davies, wants next week to be designated ``Ignore Anne Robinson'' week after her anti-Welsh comments on a TV show.

His call comes after it emerged police had questioned BBC director general Greg Dyke about Robinson's controversial comments. …