Campaign to keep Casualty in Bristol
BECTU has launched a campaign to keep production of the popular BBC drama series, Casualty, in Bristol.
The campaign has been prompted by the BBC’s decision to review the siting of its activities in the nations and regions. There is speculation that Casualty could be relocated to Cardiff.
The award-winning hospital drama, which has been filmed in and around Bristol for 22 years, is a significant contributor to the local economy and has helped to put Bristol on the map as a centre of excellence for film and television production. South West Screen, the regional screen agency, estimates that relocation of Casualty would cost the area £10 million in income.
BECTU official David Donovan, who is coordinating the campaign, has met with the Casualty crew, most of whom are freelance, and he has emphasised their immediate concerns about the future and about the knock-ons which the possible loss of such a high-profile production could have on the production community.
Campaigners have written to local MPs, among them the Rt Hon Dawn Primarolo, Minister for Health and member of parliament for Bristol South, and to local councillors. The network of production and facilities companies and equipment contractors have also been urged to lend their support to the campaign.
Officially the BBC says that its review of its regional production policy is prompted by its desire to “boost existing expertise and output in the Nations and Regions and to continue the process of developing centres of excellence right across the UK, in line with the Ofcom requirement.” The BBC has said that details of exactly which series will move will be confirmed in the next few months and that no decision has been taken to relocate production of Casualty.
Commenting on developments David Donovan said “Casualty is a success in great part because of the technical and production expertise which has supported the programme for some 22 years. That expertise has everything to do with Bristol and its people and we look to the BBC to restate its commitment to Casualty in Bristol”.
Thursday 1 May 2008