Hundreds of BBC roles are to be moved out of London after Director-General Tim Davie announced a major shake-up which will see entire departments and news divisions moved and spending on TV and radio commissions outside the capital boosted.
Newsbeat and Asian Network will be based in Birmingham, while Radio 3 and 6 Music will be based in Salford, BBC Two’s Newsnight will be presented from different locations throughout the year and Radio 4’s Today programme will be co-presented from outside London for at least 100 episodes a year.
The digital and technology teams will be relocated to Salford and the BBC Studio bases in Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow will be expanded.
The broadcaster will also commission two new soaps, one of which will be based in the north and the second in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, and a new version of BBC One will be created for Yorkshire, North West and North East England.
On radio there’ll be up to six new peak-time BBC local radio services – including in Bradford, Sunderland and Wolverhampton – and local bulletins for over 50 areas will be available on demand via BBC Sounds.
Davie said: “Our mission must be to deliver for the whole of the UK and ensure every household gets value from the BBC. These plans will get us closer to audiences, create jobs and investment, and develop and nurture new talent.
“Over the last year, the BBC – which has been an essential part of the UK’s culture, democracy and creativity for almost a century – has helped inform, educate and entertain all four Nations, as we have collectively faced some of our toughest moments in recent history.
“Now, as we look to the future, we must play our part in supporting social and economic recovery; rebuilding the creative sector and telling the stories that need to be heard from all corners of the UK.”
Davie’s announcement has been welcomed by MPs.
Julian Knight, Chair of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: “We welcome the BBC’s decision to move more of its operations to Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds and Salford which will give licence fee payers greater bang for their buck.
“It’s the start of greater recognition of the need to commit to and rebalance audiences outside London.
“However we hope these changes will not repeat some of the costly mistakes made by the BBC in its previous move to Salford. This has to represent value for money for licence fee payers.”