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Creative Future

Betsan Powys | 10:43 UK time, Thursday, 18 October 2007

In London yesterday where I was greeted by a bright poster in the lift at TV Centre which said "BBC: Developing a Creative Future". Someone had scrawled out the last three words and added " ... your P45s".

I'm watching the Controller, Mark Thompson as I write. He's talking to us on the ringmain, pitching his plans for the BBC for the next five years. What are they?

A smaller than fought for licence fee settlement means a smaller BBC; less money on concrete, more on content; fewer programmes - a cut of 10% in the number of programmes commissioned - but what he's cutting is the 'middling' output. More landmarks, more impact, fewer also-rans ... more repeats; more opportunities to access what we do via gadgets that are more techy than the tv in the corner and the radio on the sideboard. And all this with the biggest 'fewer' of all: fewer staff.

The Trustees (your representatives as licence fee payers) say this is what you want: innovative broadcasting that is relevant to you and easier to access. (I wonder if you want Jonathan Ross to get that much money ... but you do want Jonathan Ross and he doesn't want to come cheap so there you go.)

How many jobs are going? 2500, though that word 'redeployment' is looming large. Post closures may be down to 1800. Which 1800? Ahhh. That's the bit we don't yet know.

What does this mean for BBC Wales? We get to find that out within the next half an hour or so.

There was a line from Mark Thompson about 'moving production out to the nations'. Good, I thought, just before thinking that I don't really know what that means. And where does the Political Unit's work appear on the flowchart of 'landmark' to 'middling' output? I'm brave enough to ask. You're welcome to comment. I think.

Will we hear from the politicians on this today? The most shocking news of all is - wait for it - Chris Bryant MP turned down a chance to appear on Good Morning Wales. What is the BBC coming to?


You'll have heard/seen/read enough about this by now but here are the bare bones: 25-35 redundancies in the first two years at BBC Wales, with a potential total of 145-155 redundancies in Wales over the full five year period.

What's our staffing level now? 1,289

Two thoughts:

Sir Michael Lyons, the Chair of the Trustees was on Newsnight last night, Breakfast News this morning, as well as News 24. We'd hoped to hear from the National Trustee for Wales today but were told she felt this was a day for Mark Thompson and his staff, not for the Trustees, to talk. Really? Seems no-one passed on that message to Sir Michael.

Will an emphasis in future on delivering more local services be bad for political reporting? No, clearly not. If it means more good journalists based in more places around Wales, seeing, hearing and reporting politics far from Cardiff Bay, it can only be good. Just note the 'if'.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 02:15 PM on 18 Oct 2007,
  • Gwawr wrote:

Why does the BBC send a dozen different staff to a press conference, court case, or publicity stunt, when the commercial sector are perfectly capable of producing quality content with a much smaller crew - usually just one?

No-one likes to see redundancies in any walk of life, but these cuts at the Beeb really have been a long time coming.

  • 2.
  • At 03:14 PM on 18 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Harris wrote:

"Our ambition is to move to a new building that will have the technology and resources to help us make more world-class content across all platforms," Ms Richards added.

WHY does Menna (and the BBC/Llandaff/IWA/Welsh Pontcanna Taffia) have to say, "World class", at EVERY point?

It is gabble, hype, and mindless boosterism of the worst kind! Nothing is actually measured in "World Class" terms....still less the output of Greater Llandaff...there are very few "icons" or "iconic projects"...and "flagship" means ..."the architect is my son in law"...for God's sake, get over the Blairspeak!

Having said that, BBC Wales' political coverage is excellent ("global class" !)and I would hate to see any cuts there. It's the ONLY real watchdog on the Assembly's "doings" - post "One Wales valium. Cut some of the "cosy corner" junk on Radio Wales.

WE say give Betsan a BIGGER Budget NOW!

  • 3.
  • At 05:27 PM on 18 Oct 2007,
  • Arfon Jones wrote:

Does anything good come out of such massive redundancies...rarely. We are already concerned about the press in Wales...the written press is appalling and ITV Wales are insignificant, we have been totally reliant on the BBC for quality and accuracy and even that is now being reduced...a sad day.

  • 4.
  • At 09:28 PM on 18 Oct 2007,
  • Foucault wrote:

Betsan- there is a real contradiction on this one for me- I think some natural 'redesign' of roles through technology and working differently was, to some extent, inevitable- but just as long as this does not include you and your work. Then I will be leading the resistance to this particular 'revolution' my self!!

  • 5.
  • At 09:01 AM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • nic wrote:

155 cut in posts is 12%, is their some discrepancy here with the "moving out to the Nations" quote?

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