Category: BBC; Wales
Figures released yesterday reveal that
Doctor Who led BBC Cymru Wales to one of its most successful
twelve months ever during 2004-05.
In the BBC Wales Annual Review 2004-05 - which presents
a summary of the Broadcasting Council for Wales's assessment of BBC
Cymru Wales's performance for the year - the Council hails a year of
"extraordinary success of BBC Cymru Wales's productions for network"
and "a string of amazing programmes and series."
The value of programmes made by BBC Cymru Wales for
the BBC's national networks rose from £16 million in 2003-04 to more
than £30 million in 2004-05.
The Review forecasts that BBC Wales's income from the
networks will rise even further this year.
Two more series of Doctor Who have been commissioned
from BBC Cymru Wales, along with other major series such as Tribe
(for BBC TWO); A Year at Kew
(BBC TWO); Paparazzi
(BBC ONE and BBC THREE); and The Curious
House Guest (BBC TWO).
The Review reveals that BBC Cymru Wales's triumphs on
the UK stage were mirrored by the performance of its services for audiences
The highlights noted in the Review included:
BBC Cymru Wales's television programmes made for
audiences in Wales out-performed the network programmes they replaced.
On average, when BBC Cymru Wales opted out of the national networks,
its programmes were watched by a two per cent greater share of the viewing
audience in Wales than the network programmes attracted in the rest
of the UK.
As an example, the Review highlights the particular
success of BBC Cymru Wales's St David's Day celebrations, when it opted
out of the peaktime BBC ONE schedule to show three programmes exclusively
to Wales. The share of the audience attracted by Donny
Osmond Coming Home, Cable
Connects with Katherine Jenkins and People's
Voice with Huw Edwards was up to 12 per cent higher
than that achieved by the BBC ONE network programmes shown at the same
time in the rest of the UK.
BBC 2W's weekly audience of 250,000 made it the most
watched BBC digital channel in Wales.
BBC Cymru Wales continued to provide S4C with its
most popular Welsh language programmes, led by the soap opera Pobol
y Cwm which celebrated its 30th anniversary last autumn.
The Review describes BBC Radio Wales's listening
figures as "extremely positive" while BBC Radio Cymru achieved its highest
ever number of listeners per week in the first quarter of 2004. The
launch of a unique BBC Radio Cymru optout service for south west Wales
- featuring Ray Gravell, Siân Thomas
and Marc Griffiths - saw listening in the area increase
by up to 50 per cent.
Usage of BBC Cymru Wales online services - already
the most popular in Wales - continued to rise spectacularly. The Welsh
language service BBC Cymru'r Byd (bbc.co.uk/cymru) registered a 60 per
cent rise in 'hits' while use of the English language pages (bbc.co.uk/wales)
rose by a staggering 76 per cent.
The Review commends BBC Cymru Wales's Here for You
local community project as "a powerful exercise in connecting with communities,
building public value and enriching output."
"We have seen the engagement of the BBC in Wales with
its audience go from strength to strength," says the BBC National Governor
for Wales, Professor Merfyn Jones.
Menna Richards, Controller BBC Wales, says: "BBC Wales
staff and programme suppliers have continued to serve our communities
with energy and dedication in a year marked by successes in which we
can all take justified pride.
"We can build on such achievements as we continue
to strengthen our central role as a broadcaster in Wales and, through
the network TV and radio services, as a provider of top class programmes
to the whole of the UK."
The BBC Cymru Wales Annual Review highlights two areas
to which the Broadcasting Council of Wales says it will pay particular
attention during the forthcoming year.
"Council has enthusiastically supported the BBC's commitment
to a new strategic partnership with S4C," says Professor Jones, "But
concern was expressed about the possible implications of Ofcom's recommendations
for the BBC's editorial control over its programmes on S4C and for the
top-slicing of the licence fee.
"The fundamental issue at stake is the future of
Welsh language broadcasting and the provision of high quality services
to the Welsh-speaking audience in the digital age.
"Council is also concerned about the particular problems
associated with the lack of availability of digital radio in parts of
Wales, notably the lack of access to Radio Wales and Radio Cymru on
DAB across vast areas of Wales.
"It will continue to do what it can to place this
issue high on the agenda of the BBC and the Government."