720-degree cross-platform first for BBC Wales
BBC Wales is claiming a first for UK broadcasting with a new project that has been commissioned as a bilingual cross-platform venture.
In July, BBC Director-General Mark Thompson announced organisational changes at the BBC to enable what he termed "360-degree" commissioning and production - projects that encompass all broadcast platforms and media - which would be fully operational by April 2007.
BBC Wales has leapt ahead by commissioning, from South Wales indie Torpedo, its first major cross-platform project - covering not only radio, TV and New Media but involving both English and Welsh-language output.
"We are claiming the world's first 720-degree commission," quipped Martyn Ingram, BBC Wales Commissioning Editor - Independents.
"You only have to look at our news and sport coverage to see how successfully we have embraced the expansion of services over the years, from radio to include television and New Media in both languages. But this is the first time BBC Wales has commissioned a project from scratch involving all our services in English and Welsh."
The project, with the working title What's in a Name?, will explore the stories behind Welsh place names - a subject of perennial lively debate in Wales.
"When a short drive can take you through villages with names as diverse as Beaumaris, Red Wharf and Llanerchymedd in the space of ten minutes, it's obvious that we have a rich and diverse collection of tales to tell," said Martyn Ingram.
Producer Ceri Wyn Richards said: "Torpedo is delighted that BBC Wales has commissioned this innovative cross-platform project.
"It is a ground-breaking production that will take in the four corners of Wales - from Plwmp to Splott, from Abersoch to Camrose."
What's In a Name? will be launched on BBC Radio Wales, the Welsh language station BBC Radio Cymru and online.
Listeners will be encouraged to log on, phone, text or email with their stories, explanations, queries and insights into the names of the places where they live.
Some place names will be discussed with contributors on radio programmes; others will be developed into features that will be discussed and debated on a five-part television series to be broadcast next summer.
An interactive website - with a searchable database of definitions, myths and folklore surrounding Wales's place names - will remain as a permanent resource.
BBC Wales Publicity