11 December 2008
Crew and cast members of the BBC’s Casualty are to join Bristol’s Christmas shoppers to campaign to keep the production in the city.
Casualty campaign logo
Together, members of BECTU and Equity, will take the Keep Casualty in Bristol campaign to the city’s streets this Saturday 13 December.
Campaigners will ask shoppers to pledge their support for the campaign by filling in postcards addressed to the BBC’s Director General, Mark Thompson. The unions are inviting supporters to join them outside British Home Stores from 1100.
Postcards will be handed out by members of the crew and cast; actor Derek Thompson, who plays Charlie Fairhead in the popular Saturday night medical drama, will join the group.
Entertainment unions, BECTU and Equity are co-ordinating the campaign and have won support from the local authorities, South West Screen and the Regional Regional Development Agency.
Early in the campaign Bristol MPs wrote to the union showing their support and an Early Day Motion (EDM 2095) was posted in July. Currently, there are several online petitions and a Facebook group “Keep Casualty filming in Bristol!”
Calling on the public to join the Casualty campaign, BECTU National Official David Donovan, said: “The people of Bristol tell us Casualty is important to them. They’re proud that it has been filmed in their city for 22 years and they value the benefit to the local economy.”
A recent report estimated Casualty’s value to Bristol and to the South West economy at £13 million per year which added to further indirect spend makes a total of £24.7 million.
Casualty’s success - it has won BAFTA and Royal Television Society awards - attracts other broadcasters and film-makers to the region. Most recently, Lark Rise to Candleford, Skins, Bonekickers and Mistresses have been filmed in the region.
“The programme-making excellence of Bristol will be severely compromised if the BBC moves Casualty away from Bristol.
“The BBC has promised to support more television production outside London through its Network Supply Review, so our members can’t understand why management are even thinking about pulling out of Bristol,” David Donovan concluded.