Wales Annual Review 2015-16
I want to thank a hugely committed and engaged Council. Over the past decade its members have been challenging and informed and have given an extraordinary amount of their time and their expertise to the Council’s work.Elan Closs Stephens
Audience Council Wales has published its Annual Review of the performance of the BBC in Wales during 2015-2016.
The BBC’s Audience Councils advise the Trust on how well the BBC fulfils its Public Purposes and serves those who pay the licence fee across the UK. In order to be better informed, Audience Council Wales holds meetings with audiences across Wales to hear about the things of importance to them and to advise the Trust on matters of concern. Audience Council Wales carried out its dual function vigorously during the year.
BBC Cymru Wales continued to make an extraordinary contribution to the BBC’s output across the UK during 2015-16. It proved itself time and time again to be a hub of quality for British TV production, including War and Peace and the return of Sherlock, which gripped 11.6 million viewers on New Year’s Day. However, the message from Welsh audiences is very clear. They feel proud of Wales’s network production, but they want the BBC to do more to reflect modern Wales and the lives of its people. As we come to the end of the current Charter, and look ahead to the BBC of the next decade, that is a challenge the BBC must meet.
BBC Wales’s programming made in Wales for audiences in Wales reached a third of all Welsh adults every week on BBC One Wales and BBC Two Wales. Home-grown programming made by BBC Wales shown on the BBC Network achieved significant success - from the drama Dylan Thomas: A Poet in New York, to the return of Y Gwyll/Hinterland, a co-production with S4C. The moving documentary Life After April was awarded the Nations and Regions Current Affairs Award at the Royal Television Society TV Journalism Awards.
BBC Radio also continued to perform better in Wales than in any of the other UK’s nations, and BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru had a busy year that included extensive coverage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Both stations face challenges from changing listening habits and changing demographics. The last in a series of wide-ranging Trust Service Reviews is a Review of Nations Radio that will reflect and address this new ecology. BBC Wales has already taken successful steps to address this by venturing onto new platforms, with 55,000 unique browsers a week following the BBC Cymru Fyw app.
This is the last Annual Review of the BBC Trust’s Audience Council Wales and in that context I want to emphasise the importance of the Council’s links with audiences in Wales. During the year, the Council held seventeen public events across Wales and the BBC Trust also held a seminar in Cardiff as part of its consultation on the future of the BBC. This direct contact with audiences, their aspirations and exasperations, has been an invaluable tool for the Trust in seeking to represent the views of licence fee payers. I also want to thank a hugely committed and engaged Council. Over the past decade its members have been challenging and informed and have given an extraordinary amount of their time and their expertise to the Council’s work. I also want to thank the Trust Unit’s staff in London who have engaged so constructively with the Council, the nations’ output and with the partnership with S4C. My particular thanks to the staff of the Trust Unit in Cardiff, under the leadership of Chief Adviser Wales, for their sagacity and their dedication to the work of the Council and the Trust.
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