BBC to make more factual programmes outside London

The BBC is to move Question Time and Newsnight Review to Glasgow as part of newly unveiled plans to lead a “creative renaissance for all the nations and regions”.

A broad range of initiatives designed to shift more television commissioning and production out of London was announced this evening by the director of BBC Vision, Jana Bennett.

In a speech to the Royal Television Society, Bennett said: “Our intention is nothing less than changing the very DNA of the BBC to bring the production of programmes closer to the audiences we serve. More than ever before, it will be a BBC for all of the UK.”

The proposals will see a greater role in providing network programmes given to the BBC’s centres in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester.

Newsnight Review will move to Glasgow in 2010 and Bennett said the “precise nature and form” of the weekly programme would be re-examined over the next year. Question Time will also be based in Scotland from 2010.

BBC Wales will focus on making more documentaries and production of Crimewatch will be moved to the area. BBC Northern Ireland is also expected to produce an increased number of Panorama episodes.

“The case for action by the BBC is stronger than ever because of the chill winds blowing through the UK broadcasting industry right now,” Bennett said.

“In the last few weeks we have seen how ITV has retreated further from its traditional role as a regionally networked broadcaster.”

She added:: “There is much to do. But I can honestly say that I believe the prize is worth it.

“The outcome, I believe, will be a BBC that is stronger and serves the UK better.”

The announcement follows a report by the BBC Trust in June which found that affection for the BBC drops the further people live from London, partly because they do not see their lives reflected enough.

The research showed that 37 per cent of people believed that BBC reports are often not relevant to where they live.

The Trust has committed to repeating the research within 18 months to provide a clearer assessment of whether performance is improving.

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