LONDON — The BBC has announced a radical blueprint that involves shifting the production of many of its flagship shows outside London.
In a move described by the Corp’s director of vision Jana Bennett as “one of the pivotal moments in the history of the BBC,” public affairs skein “Question Time” is being re-located from the capital to Scotland, as is quizzer “The Weakest Link.”
The plan, which has led to uproar in certain sections of the U.K. media but is supported by independent producers’ lobby group Pact, is part of the pubcaster’s strategy to make half of network TV shows beyond London by 2016.
Wales and Northern Ireland will also benefit from the initiative as more coin is ploughed into so-called “national hubs” in Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff, where “Doctor Who” and its spin-offs “Torchwood” and “The Sarah Jane Adventures” are already produced.
Said Bennett: “The transformation that we are about to undertake will refresh the way network programs are commissioned and produced, the voices we hear, the local faces and lives we see reflected on our screens.”
Other shows that are moving include veteran public affairs skein “Panorama,” relocating to Northern Ireland and arts strand “Imagine,” relocating to Glasgow.
Long-running medical soap “Casualty” is poised to up sticks from Bristol in the south-west of England to Wales.
Said Pact topper John McVay: “This strategy has long been needed to deliver a more culturally diverse BBC and realize the potential of the U.K.’s talented program makers, both independent and in-house.”
But not everyone is pleased at the idea of being up-rooted from the pleasures of the metropolis.
Blighty’s Daily Telegraph carried a front page report suggesting that seasoned “Question Time” anchor David Dimbleby would rather quit than see the show based in Scotland.