Date: 11.07.2013 Last updated: 06.10.2014 at 11.06
This event to listen to audiences was hosted by BBC Audience Council Wales staff, with representatives from a broad range of local organisations invited to come along. Discussions took place at 3 tables with around 35 guests present, the gender balance was good, and the age range of those present extended from 35 years old to 80+.
News and Current Affairs
BBC News was considered to provide a good service. The
BBC News channel was considered a good rolling news service and one participant
said that she watched it throughout the night. Another considered that no other
news service compared in quality with that provided by the BBC.
News at One
– “If I watch this then I don’t need to catch the Six o’Clock” was the
response of one participant. Other said that it was good that there were “3
main bulletins each day so that you can catch up on developments”. Other
participants said that they enjoyed the 6 O’clock News but felt it
should be longer, with some of the opinion that it was somewhat formulaic (with
a light-hearted atmosphere before the weather reports for example).
One participant said “I use the on-line mobile News
app all day instead of buying a newspaper, but some stories seem to stay there
for ever. It’s a good place to start, you can then go on somewhere else for
Radio 4’s news was considered a good service with one
participant saying that he started every day with the Today programme. Other
participants praised PM, and a general consensus that the quality of news on
BBC Radio 4 was high
The BBC’s independence was appreciated with one
participant saying, in reference to the story about exit payments to departing
BBC Senior Managers, that the “BBC
reporting of itself in a critical way at the moment is refreshing. It shows the
news team is independent.”
There was recognition that the BBC was helping people
understand and develop their citizenship, which was considered very important. The
perception of some participants was that it was hard to get young people to
engage with civic issues. There was recognition that this was “a burden for the
BBC and a hard task for broadcasters”.
One participant said “I don’t agree with accusation
that BBC Journalists are ‘too aggressive’ – some aren’t aggressive enough. They
need to ask the hard-hitting questions. Some journalists are ‘too pally’ with
politicians, and can’t then ask the tough questions. Investigative journalism
is a good thing – and it is a British trait to question things.” Other
participants however disagreed, expressing the view that aggressive questioning
created more heat than light.
There was a strong perception amongst the majority of
participants that the UK-wide news was not interested in Wales, and a
predominance of stories coming from London and within the M25 area.
was a favourite for some participants though one complained that the programme
didn’t always start at the same time but always finished at the same time which
meant the discussions were sometimes curtailed as the debate was becoming interesting.
Concern was expressed too about the time-shifting of the programme to make way
for BBC Cymru Wales opt-out programming which then meant that viewers in Wales
could not interact with the programme via Twitter.
Strong support and
appreciation was expressed for BBC Wales Today and Newyddion,
with the presenters considered first class. Appreciation was also expressed for
weatherman Derek Brockway.
Many participants said that they “loved nature
programmes” – e.g. Springwatch and Iolo Williams’ programmes about
nature in Wales, which were particularly appreciated.
Last Tango in Halifax
had been very popular and several participants expressed their appreciation of
the BBC’s costume/period dramas. Drama in general was considered good on BBC TV
but it was felt that there was not
enough of it. Drama on BBC Three was considered better than other channels – since
it “doesn’t patronise the audience”. Many felt that it was great that BBC TV had
no commercial breaks during drama.
Several participants said how much they had enjoyed the
Scandinavian dramas broadcast during recent year. Others felt that the BBC’s
depiction of violence and war was too graphic and sometimes gratuitous. Some also
felt that violence against women was too prevalent in drama, with some of the
scenes too graphic. It was felt that, more generally, the representation of
women – and older women in particular – was inadequate and should be improved
as a matter of some urgency. There was a perception too that there was a
paucity of stronger women portrayed by the media.
Some participants expressed their frustration at the
‘mumbling’ which they felt was currently prevalent among many TV actors.
However, other participants said that this was not as much of a problem on the
BBC’s output as it was on commercial TV channels.
Strong appreciation was expressed of factual
programmes, both BBC Wales and Network programmes, that feature the local area
– with Welsh Walks considered an excellent example. However, there was a
divergence of opinion on whether the area was adequately portrayed. Some
participants felt that since not much happened in the area it was unrealistic
to expect much coverage, and when newsworthy events did take place in the area,
then that coverage was good. Other participants disagreed, arguing that the
area should be better represented, both in news programmes and in other output.
Several participants expressed their satisfaction
with the BBC’s services for children, in particular CBeebies and CBBC.
BBC Three documentaries were
considered to be really good and a perception that the BBC was helping people to
understand citizenship, which was thought very important.
Some participants loved Radio 2; others loved Radio
4. The Archers was loved and loathed in equal measure, though anger was
expressed that the The Archers message board had been terminated. Radio 4’s
news programmes, Afternoon Plays, documentaries and natural history programmes
were particularly appreciated.
Some participants said that Radio Wales was the radio
station to which they listened all day and said that they loved to listen to
the Radio Wales phone-in each morning, which they considered to be topical on
every occasion. Chris Needs and Owen Money’s programmes were also particular
favourites amongst some of those present.
Religious services were appreciated on Radio Cymru
and Radio Wales.
The BBC World Service was considered ‘superb’ by one
particpant who said she considered it had a ‘bumper year’.
Cerys Mathews was
praised for presenting an interesting programme on BBC 6 Music.
On-line and on-demand
The BBC website was considered good, with a
‘community minded approach’ to content. It was felt that Pembrokeshire was
well-promoted on the website. The iPlayer was also considered a very useful
means of catching up on programming.
In terms of the local
internet infrastructure, participants said that broadband was good in the towns,
but patchy in the countryside, but acknowledged that there had been improvements
Participants loved to see sport from Wales on TV and considered
this very important. They said that it was a pity that Test Match cricket was
no longer on BBC TV and that the recent Lions rugby tour had not been broadcast
by the BBC. Formula One motor racing was thought to be much better on the BBC –
Sky’s coverage had “far too much talk” according to participants.
Another participant asked “why should sport displace
other programmes when the Red Button is available and there were plenty of
“Wimbledon was first
class” according to several participants. It was widely felt that “the BBC has
a lot of authority in its sports coverage – does it well and has the ‘X
Some concern was expressed at the perceived high
salaries of presenters. Participants also expressed their anger and disgust at
the level of pay-offs which some senior managers departing from the BBC had
received, which they considered disproportionate. Others disagreed, saying that
those who were departing had contributed to the BBC‘s development, and that
this deserved to be recognised through their departure payment.
The issue of portrayal was raised and in particular
the lack of older people appearing on television. There was also a perception
that people from Wales were not well represented, and that when a Welsh accent
was heard it was very obvious.
Reference was also made to historical abuse
perpetrated by Jimmy Savile in BBC premises, but the perception of the majority
of participants was that while shocking, it had not undermined their trust in
the BBC at the current time.
The perception on the
whole amongst the majority of participants was that the Licence Fee represented
good value for money.