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24 September 2014
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The new BBC Drama Village in Birmingham

Lights, campus, action for BBC Birmingham's Television Drama Village

BBC Birmingham's new television Drama Village at the University of Birmingham will be officially opened tomorrow evening (Tuesday 10 May) by Alan Yentob, BBC Creative Director, and Professor Michael Sterling, Vice Chancellor, University of Birmingham.


The television drama village - home to the popular BBC ONE daytime series Doctors, Dalziel & Pascoe, The Afternoon Play and the new drama shorts series Brief Encounters - now has its main base at the University's Selly Oak campus.


Doctors has a purpose-built set at Melville Hall, with the production and post production staff based at Archibald House.


Over 100 staff and artists are based at the village.


The drama village development emphasises the BBC's commitment to invest in production talent and local and national programme-making in Birmingham.


This is important for the local creative economy and ensures that the BBC, as a truly national broadcaster, brings the diversity of modern Britain to life for its audiences.


Alan Yentob, BBC Creative Director, says: "The television drama village represents a new and exciting venture for the BBC, working in partnership with the University of Birmingham.


"The move allows us to generate new ways of working, and provides us with an opportunity to introduce the latest technology for programme making.


"The Selly Oak campus has a fantastic range of locations and the university will benefit from our presence by their students having access to hands-on media production.


"The drama village will continue to find and develop new talent from writers to producers and directors," he adds.


"It's already begun to reap rewards, with the award-winning Afternoon Play series, and with Brief Encounters, which is giving new writers a chance to be mentored by established writers and have their drama short shown on BBC ONE Daytime.


"The BBC is completely committed to regional production and we're genuinely excited about the future of drama in the city. We intend to build upon this alliance with the University and continue to explore ways of working together."


Professor Michael Sterling, Vice Chancellor, University of Birmingham, adds: "This unique partnership is a landmark opportunity for both the University and the BBC. With two highly innovative sets of colleagues involved, there's clear creative potential to feed directly into academic programme and broadcast content, training and a whole range of other reciprocal benefits.


"This means it's a wonderful addition to Birmingham and the region's talent base as a whole. We're all looking forward to a productive and rewarding relationship."


BBC Birmingham's television drama unit has an outstanding reputation for drama production. Established in the Sixties, the unit became renowned in the Seventies and Eighties for series such as Boys from the Blackstuff, Howard's Way, All Creatures Great and Small, Preston Front and Edge of Darkness.


BBC Birmingham Television Drama Village: The Facts


The village consists of Archibald House and Melville Hall at the University's Selly Oak campus, and three units at Stirchley Trading Estate in Hazelwell Road.


Archibald House: 13,000sq ft drama production and post production

Melville Hall: 4,000 sq ft.


Facilities within Archibald House include:


Five edit suites

Two dubbing suites

One finishing suite

One dialogue recording/audio dubbing room

One grading suite

13 dressing rooms

A costume workshop

A hair and make up workshop

Open plan offices


The programmes produced at the television drama village:


Doctors (BBC ONE)

Christopher Timothy leads the cast as senior partner Dr Brendan McGuire, along with Diane Keen, Corrinne Wicks, Sterling Gallacher and Ben Jones.


Now in its fifth year, Doctors is set in the fictional village of Letherbridge, and follows the continuing stories of the staff and their patients. In the series the doctors have just moved to the new Mill Health Centre (signifying the move from Pebble Mill to the new television drama village).


Dalziel & Pascoe (BBC ONE)

This long-running BBC ONE series stars Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan as detectives Dalziel & Pascoe. The intriguing blend of classic murder mysteries, compelling characters and down to earth humour has won the series millions of viewers since it began in 1996.


Warren Clarke is the idiosyncratic, no-nonsense copper, Dalziel, with penetrating wit and questionable personal habits. Colin Buchanan is the perfect foil as Pascoe, his cultured side-kick.


The Afternoon Play (BBC ONE)

The Afternoon Play made its debut on BBC ONE in January 2003. The superb quality of the writing has ensured a wealth of popular and well-loved talent taking part in the plays.


Brief Encounters (BBC ONE)

A new series of drama shorts for BBC ONE daytime. Brief Encounters aims to give new writers an opportunity to develop their scripts with the help of experienced mentors including: Andrew Davies, Willy Russell, Russell T Davies and Tony Jordan.


BBC Birmingham's other base is at The Mailbox. The state of the art broadcasting centre is home to regional and network programmes for television and radio, and is the headquarters for BBC English Regions.


University of Birmingham: The Facts


The University of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute, part of the Department of English, is based in Stratford-upon-Avon and is a unique centre for the postgraduate study of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The Institute was founded in 1951 by the theatre historian Allardyce Nicoll, who was its first Director.


One of the most established British university drama departments, the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts at Birmingham enjoys a highly respected national and international reputation for excellence in teaching and research in the study of Drama. The Birmingham courses provide all students with a grounding in the arts involved in theatrical performance. Students acquire an all-round knowledge of the theatre, as well as direct experience of performance.


The University has around 150,000 graduates living across the globe, many of whom are professionally involved with the media. Some of the well-known faces include Tamsin Greig (Channel 4's Green Wing, and BBC's The Archers); Ben Shephard (presenter of GMTV); David Lodge (author of Nice Work, Small World); Victoria Wood (actress and comedienne); and Chris Tarrant (TV presenter)


The University of Birmingham has approximately 31,500 students, 6,000 staff and a turnover of £316 million. Birmingham encompasses not only the lakeside setting and green landscape of its Edgbaston campus, but also has bases across Birmingham - including the Selly Oak Campus - as well as the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Ironbridge Institute at Ironbridge Gorge, and at its outward bound Priestley Centre on the edge of Lake Coniston in the Lake District.




Category: TV Drama; BBC; Daytime
Date: 09.05.2005
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