BBC Unveils Transformation Plan


The BBC has unveiled plans for what it is calling its “biggest transformation in decades” as it shifts program spending and much of BBC News across the U.K., outside of London.

“Our mission must be to deliver for the whole of the U.K. and ensure every household gets value from the BBC,” said Director-General Tim Davie. “These plans will get us closer to audiences, create jobs and investment and develop and nurture new talent.”

By 2027-28, the BBC will spend at the very least an additional £700 million ($974 million) across the U.K. as it shifts its “creative and journalistic center” outside of London. This is expected to generate an additional economic benefit of more than £850 million ($1.2 billion).

“Over the last year, the BBC, which has been an essential part of the U.K.’s culture, democracy and creativity for almost a century, has helped inform, educate and entertain all four Nations, as we have collectively faced some of our toughest moments in recent history,” Davie stated. “Now, as we look to the future, we must play our part in supporting social and economic recovery; rebuilding the creative sector and telling the stories that need to be heard from all corners of the U.K.”

The blueprint, The BBC Across the U.K., includes a mandate for at least 60 percent of spending on network TV commissions to be outside of London.

Significant parts of BBC News will shift across the U.K., with half of the U.K.-focused story teams to be based outside of London.

Salford is being set as the main base for the BBC’s digital and technology teams, supported by digital teams in Glasgow, Cardiff and London. BBC Studios will also expand its bases in Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow.

The BBC is also investing in local reporting, with a network of digital community journalists and a tailored BBC One for Yorkshire, North West and North East England.

The plan also calls for boosting the creative economy across the U.K., with renewed partnerships with Northern Ireland Screen and Creative Scotland. The BBC will also enter into a new pact with Creative Wales and explore alliances in the North and Midlands in England.

Part of the blueprint includes the BBC One daytime show Morning Live broadcasting year-round from Salford, beginning in January. It will air on BBC One at 9.15 a.m. throughout the year, with regular three-week intervals for the Rip Off Britain series, which broadcasts in the same slot.

The BBC has said it will invest in the creation of two new long-running network drama series over the next three years, one from the North of England and one from one of the Nations. In this same period, more than 100 new and returning drama and comedy titles will reflect communities outside of London, including at least 20 that will portray Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Research from KPMG has found that about half of the BBC’s total economic contribution is generated outside of London, up from 32 percent in 2012.