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Thursday 10 Jul 2014

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BBC North: northern locations to get greater exposure

BBC North Director Peter Salmon is to announce plans to give northern towns, cities and places greater exposure on screen.

He will say he wants to create high quality new programmes that showcase the north to the whole world, and commit to greater location filming for existing shows like Tracey Beaker Returns which is based and set in Newcastle.

One entire episode of the new Tracey Beaker series will be set on an adventure holiday course in Northumbria, and the new series will also feature The Angel of the North and other iconic landmarks to give the show a greater sense of local identity.

Producers aim to make the show as synonymous with Newcastle as Torchwood and Doctor Who are with Cardiff. The show will also work with schools in Darlington on a project to boost media skills, and take part in an event for secondary school students from across the North East at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle on 2 July.

The new drive to boost location filming is part of the BBC's biggest ever relocation, moving five major departments to Salford Quays, and a key driver for ensuring at least half of all BBC production to be outside London by 2016.

In a keynote lecture to the Royal Television Society at Sunderland University on Tuesday 25 May, Peter Salmon will say: "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 to places like Leeds, Liverpool, Bradford, Sunderland Hartlepool, Hull and York.

"Traditional methods of employing actors with all-purpose northern accents in programmes made and set in the south, or in a TV 'no place' are just not good enough. People love seeing their own home town or region on TV too, they want the BBC to provide a credible voice and iconic locations that separate the authentic from the fake.

"Where we make great programmes like Tracy Beaker Returns in Newcastle it's fantastic for the city, but surely we can do even more in future to represent our northern communities on screen and showcase locations that people recognise and identify with.

"The BBC's main focus is on making quality programmes, and the more regional we can be the more successful we can be at delivering quality for audiences. By combining quality and locality we can be more representative and raise the profile of our great northern towns and cities around the world."

Peter Salmon will also meet two Sunderland students, Nadia Haif and Kevin Moeliker, who have been successful in securing a dream work placement opportunity with the BBC Sport news team and Radio 5 Live to report on the World Cup from Television Centre. The scheme is part of a range of new links that BBC departments moving to Salford are forging with northern universities and colleges.

During the lecture he will speak about a number of new productions being filmed in the North East, including a new series of George Gently in Durham and a special documentary by Hartlepool poet Michael Smith called Deep North which will examine the North East's Baltic and Viking Heritage as part of BBC Four's Great Northern Season in the autumn.

Evidence shows that audience satisfaction with BBC programming declines the further away people live from London and the South East, and that by making programmes around the whole of the UK the BBC can better connect with our audiences, capture the best new talent and ideas, and help to support the wider creative industries.

Notes to Editors

Peter Salmon, the BBC's first Director North, will give the Royal Television Society North East and Cumbria Annual Lecture at Sunderland University on Tuesday 25 May at 7.15pm.

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