Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North East Has No TV Presence; 'BBC Isn't Fulfilling Its Obligations'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North East Has No TV Presence; 'BBC Isn't Fulfilling Its Obligations'

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Loraine

THE BBC will be told by North East council bosses there are "serious questions" over whether it is fulfilling its obligation to the region.

Newcastle City Council are keen to highlight the lack of programmes made or commissioned in the area, despite pounds 130m paid in license fees by the North East public every year.

Earlier this year, The Journal reported that regional screen agency Northern Film and Media were urging broadcasting professionals to lobby their MPs to preserve the television industry in the North East.

And on Wednesday a motion is to go before the council resolving to write to the BBC, ITV and other networks "seeking a genuine commitment from them to work in partnership with the city and the North East Region on a more regular basis and on more projects".

The council are also calling for commissioners to regularly visit the region to view local talent. Leader of Newcastle City Council, John Shipley, said: "The BBC appear to think they have served the North of England by moving part of their operation to Salford. They seem oblivious to the fact that Salford is as far from Newcastle as it is from London.

"It's not just a question of us saying we should have our fair share - they are a public broadcaster with public responsibilities.

They should be producing more shows in the North East." The motion, put forward by deputy leader Coun David Faulkner, notes the BBC is to fulfil its 'out of London' quotas by moving key departments to the North West and to Glasgow.

Coun Faulkner says it is "critical to ensure that the city and region, its people and its stories, have a presence on national screens to ensure we are not invisible as a region".

Coun Shipley added: "The financial benefit of making programmes is considerable.

It's partly the direct spend while they are here and it's also that it gives the image of the region a boost.

Losing that kind of investment is extremely worrying. …

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