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Peter Salmon Peter Salmon | 12:15 UK time, Wednesday, 26 May 2010

MediaCity at Salford QuaysAs a son of the North, I've always thought the most stirring clause in the BBC Charter is the promise to reflect the nation back to itself.  That doesn't mean people living in London patronising regional viewers with programmes about flat capped Northerners with whippets or Welshmen who sing in choirs. It means recognising that 'the audience' is a set of different communities who often come together in shared tastes and enthusiasms, but at the same time may have different needs and different cultural identities. And now, with the opening next year of MediaCity at Salford Quays, the BBC will really be putting its money where its mouth is. What will come out of that mouth is a distinctive new Northern voice for the Corporation.

We are in a process of unprecedented editorial devolution, the BBC aims to shift half of all its network production out of London by 2016. In the biggest single move in its history, no less than five departments Sport, Children's, Learning, Radio Five Live, and parts of Future Media and Technology - will transfer from London to Greater Manchester. An enormous range of television, radio and online content, including some of our most loved shows like Match of The Day and Blue Peter, will be made in the North.

Where you place your feet affects the way you see things and the stories you tell. I want people all over the UK to be able to turn on their television or radio, and hear northern voices: not only in the sense of familiar vowel sounds, but also in that they describe the world in a way that is familiar and authentic. They want to see their hills, their valleys, their towns and their coastline celebrated. We need to be better at representing people's lives on screen, so our new base in Salford will be a filter, not a fortress, ensuring the benefits flow right across the North, to include great creative cities like Newcastle, Leeds, and Liverpool.

So in the next series of our biggest children's drama Tracy Beaker Returns, now made in the North East, there'll be more of Tyneside on screen, and even an episode set on an outdoor activities course in the glorious Northumbrian countryside. Producers aim to make the show associated to Newcastle in the way Torchwood and Doctor Who have become with Cardiff. Off screen the show is also engaging with young people, working with schools in Darlington on a project to boost media skills, and will take part in an event for secondary school students from across the North East at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle on 2nd July.


Peter Salmon is Director of BBC North

Apply for jobs in BBC North  

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Oh dear. This isn't a promising start for reflecting the whole of the UK is it? If you look at a map, you'll find Manchester is not in fact in the North - it's about half-way up (OK, a bit more).

    Presumably this means that instead of being patronised by Londoners, we can now be patronised by people in "the North" who live hundreds of miles south of us. I have to say it doesn't sound much different.

    I appreciate that the North you refer to is the North of England, but I think it would be healthy to remember that the rest of the UK exists, and don't turn the North of England into the new South East.

  • Comment number 2.

    1. At 8:55pm on 26 May 2010, Wulf wrote:

    "Presumably this means that instead of being patronised by Londoners,"

    One difference, London is the capital of the UK, and thus is the centre of the UK even though it isn't the geographical centre.

    "we can now be patronised by people in "the North" who live hundreds of miles south of us. I have to say it doesn't sound much different."

    Or indeed those hundreds of mile to the north, London is a long way from Cornwall you know, never mind Manchester.

    The BBC didn't need to waste millions of our money on new building 'up-north', they just needed to remember that they were the British Broadcasting Corporation and not the Buckinghamshire (in other words, Home Counties) Broadcasting Corporation and thus just make suitable editorial decisions/content.

  • Comment number 3.

    If they move Blue Peter from Londons Television Centre, will they also move the Blue Peter garden to Manchester?
    This includes the green house, fish pond, buried treasure that was buried after digging the last lot up in 2000.
    Buried treasure under the BBC staff car park and a few statues of some of the departed Blue Peter dogs.

 

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