BBC ahead of schedule in plan to shift programme production more towards ‘nations and regions’

A SCHEME to shift away from London the production of BBC programmes for UK-wide audiences is ahead of schedule, according to latest figures released by the Corporation.

The BBC is seeking to have half of its network programmes made outside of London by 2016, with 17 per cent coming from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, combined.

And already, some 41 per cent of network programmes are ‘Out of London’ with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland together accounting for 16 per cent (as opposed to an interim target of 12 per cent), with Scotland’s share being nine per cent.

The figures represent programmes made last year. The previous year, 2010, Scotland accounted for 7.4 per cent of network programming.

For Wales, its 2010 figure was five per cent and last year was 5.3 per cent. For Northern Ireland, it was 0.8 per cent in 2010 and 2.1 per cent last year.

In a BBC statement, BBC Scotland Head of Programmes, Donalda Mackinnon, is quoted, as saying: “Increasing our network output benefits all audiences wherever they are in the UK. Seeing Scotland and Scottish life reflected more widely in our programmes has to be a good thing as is the making of programmes with universal themes from a Scottish perspective. It is also enormously important to the extended creative industry and to the wider economy in Scotland.

“What’s been particularly pleasing is that we’re now producing programmes across a number of genres, whether it’s Waterloo Road’s relocation to Greenock; the hugely popular Mrs Brown’s Boys; Eggheads from Daytime; Copycats from Children’s; the award-winning Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die; or our new Factual project set in Glasgow Science Centre, Planet Ant.”