Doctors to remain in Birmingham
Doctors, the BBC’s popular daytime soap, is to stay in Birmingham thanks in part to BECTU’s campaign and the support of Midlands MPs.
The BBC’s Network Supply Review, which reported last week, confirmed that more investment is to be made in Birmingham and that the centre’s current drama remit will be expanded.
“Birmingham will also focus on Factual and I can confirm that they will continue to make the long running daytime drama Doctors, which has been re-commissioned for a further three years”
The news was warmly welcomed by BECTU members in the Midlands who have been living with uncertainty for several months.
“We have worked hard to persuade the powers that be that the BBC’s investment in Birmingham should be enhanced and not cut. We are pleased that the BBC has listened on this occasion.
“We are also obliged to the many Midlands MPs who supported our efforts to keep Birmingham alive as a production centre.” commented BECTU National Official, Lynne Korniak.
Speaking last week, Jana Bennett, the BBC’s Director of Vision said: "Birmingham will also focus on Factual, and I can confirm that they will continue to make the long running daytime drama Doctors, which has been re-commissioned for a further three years.
“Birmingham is buoyant and its Factual output is particularly strong. We are going to be consolidating its role as the UK centre of horticultural expertise. Birmingham will take over responsibility for both the Hampton Court and Chelsea Flower shows in addition to its existing portfolio led by Gardeners' World.”
Whilst Birmingham had cause to celebrate, however, the news was less good for campaigners in Bristol who have been equally determined to retain production of Casualty in the city. Last week the BBC confirmed its intentions to move the unit to Cardiff from 2010.
The Casualty campaign, initiated by BECTU’s National Official David Donovan, has also drawn wide and vocal support.
There is every indication that the campaign will continue, not only to retain the estimated £10 million which Casualty contributes to the local economy each year, but to retain the breadth and depth of production skills in the area which Casualty has helped to develop.
This week, Tony Robinson, actor and campaigner, expressed his frustration at the BBC’s decision to move Casualty, which by being located in Bristol, already helps the BBC to meet its objectives for out of London production.
Tony Robinson was speaking at the Federation of Entertainment Unions parliamentary debate on Ofcom’s PSB review which was held on Tuesday 21 October 2008.
Friday 24 October 2008