BBC factual programmes head to Bristol as part of corporation cutbacks

October 6, 2011

Nearly 60 BBC staff working on programmes such as the Hairy Bikers, Gardeners' World and Countryfile are to move to Bristol from Birmingham as part of a shake up of the corporation’s Factual programming department.

The move was outlined as part of a briefing to BBC staff about changes to the way the organisation is run.

However, 20 jobs, will go at the BBC across the region including in local news output. BBC Radio Bristol will broadcast a regional service during the afternoon although its drive-time, breakfast and mid-morning shows escaping the axe. National programmes for the whole of England will replace local programmes in the evening.

The BBC said 92 Birmingham-based production and editorial staff will be affected with around 60 per cent being offered the opportunity to relocate with the rest facing potential redundancy,

“Factual programming for BBC television and Radio 4 would be moved out of Birmingham and consolidated largely to Bristol,” said a BBC spokesman.

Programmes being moved from Birmingham include Countryfile, Gardeners' World and all other Royal Horticultural Society programmes, such as the Chelsea Flower Show, Coast, Hairy Bikers, See Hear and the Sky At Night.

The move formed part of the BBC cuts announced earlier today by director general Mark Thompson – branded Delivering Quality First (DQF) – in an address to staff.

It is a boost to Bristol’s TV industry following the decision by the BBC to end filming of Casualty in the city. The last Bristol-filmed episode of the long-running drama was shot this summer – ending 25 years of production in the city and potentially hitting the economy to the tune of £25m.

The BBC in Bristol has a worldwide reputation for its natural history output. In recent years the city has emerged as a leading base for independent TV dramas including Skins, Teachers and Mistresses. BBC Factual already makes some programmes in Bristol such as DIY SOS,

Bristol City Council leader Barbara Janke welcomed the BBC announcement: “(It) shows that the BBC remains 100% committed to Bristol and it is very welcome news that they plan to re-locate significant additional national television and radio production to the city. This builds on and is testament to our strengths in the creative and digital media sector,” she said.

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