Long-running Scottish drama on the cards under BBC transformation plan

The BBC has unveiled plans to "better reflect" all parts of the UK with more programmes made outside of London and a ‘long-running drama’ set in Scotland on the cards.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 4:22 pm

It will shift away from London over the next six years in what it bills as its "biggest transformation in decades".

News and current affairs programmes like Newsnight will be presented from different UK bases and Radio 4's Today show will be co-hosted from outside London for at least 100 episodes a year.

Viewers will see a "noticeable shift in portrayal of different parts of the UK in drama, comedy and factual" shows, the broadcaster pledged.

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The BBC, which was accused of failing to understand the vote for Brexit, hopes the move changes the tone of its programmes and journalism.

The decision could also result in a BBC rival to ITV soap Coronation Street.

The broadcaster said it would air two new long-running drama series - one from the North of England and the other from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Viewers would see around 30 or more episodes a year of the soap or drama, with the exact format to be decided.

A huge transformation is on the cards. Picture: PA

The BBC said that "major parts of BBC News" would "shift across the UK ... ensuring we cover the stories that matter most to audiences and more effectively representing different voices and perspectives".

As part of those plans, Radio 4 programme PM would also be presented from across the UK.

It comes after former Today programme host John Humphrys said the BBC had failed to understand the vote for Brexit.

And Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said "the BBC needs to be closer to, and understand the perspectives of, the whole of the United Kingdom and avoid providing a narrow urban outlook".

Under the new plan, a "clear majority" of the BBC's "UK-wide TV will be made across the UK" and not just in London.

More than 100 new and returning drama and comedy titles will reflect the lives and communities of audiences outside London over the next three years, the BBC said.

BBC Radio 3 and 6 Music would be "rooted in Salford" while, also in radio, Newsbeat and Asian Network would be based in Birmingham.

Key daytime programmes on Radio 1, 1Xtra and Radio 2 would be made across the UK and 50 per cent of network radio and music spend would be outside London by 2027/28.

The BBC said the plans, which will see more of its operations move to Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds and Salford, will "cement our commitment to better reflect, represent, and serve all parts of the country".

Unveiling the new plans, which come as the BBC begins discussions with the Government over the future cost of the licence fee, BBC Director-General Tim Davie said that the "challenges for the BBC are real, and we must act now".

He told BBC staff that "people must feel we are closer to them".

With the rise of global streaming giants "the jeopardy for the BBC remains high", he added.

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