New primetime TV shows to be made in West Midlands under biggest ever reform of BBC

New primetime television shows will be based in the West Midlands under major plans to transform the BBC.

The broadcaster will shift its creative and journalistic centre away from London over the next six years, in a move bosses say will see the BBC better reflect and represent the whole country.

It comes as the broadcaster signed a landmark deal with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), pledging to significantly increase investment and its presence across the region.

The “Across the UK” blueprint will see at least one new primetime drama and one new primetime entertainment series set in the West Midlands, with other top shows set to join Great British Menu in being produced in the region.

A new peak time radio service and a learning hub will launch in Wolverhampton, and an apprentice training agency will be piloted in the region.

As part of plans for a "strong youth focus", Asian Network will be run from Birmingham, and Newsbeat will move to the city, providing content for Radio 1, Radio 1Xtra and Asian Network.

The BBC news data team will partly relocate to Birmingham, while a new network of digital reporters will be recruited to focus on local stories.

And BBC Three is set to launch a new documentary for producers to tell original stories from the Midlands.

Top shows set in the region in recent years include Peaky Blinders, Citizen Khan and Man Like Mobeen. Boon and Crossroads were also filmed in the region.

Closer

Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, said: “Our mission must be to deliver for the whole country and ensure every household gets value from us. These plans show how we want to be closer to audiences, create jobs and investment and develop and nurture talent.

"Over the last year, the BBC – which has been an essential part of the UK’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.

“Now, as we look to the future, we must play our part in supporting the UK’s social and economic recovery; rebuilding the creative sector and telling the stories that need to be heard from all corners of the country.”

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, said: "Today is a landmark day for the BBC and the West Midlands. For too long our region has been under-represented within the corporation but working with the new Director General Tim Davie over the last few months we are now beginning to put past problems right.

"The BBC’s commitment as part of our ground-breaking regional partnership is not just about jobs and buildings, it’s about ensuring that the voices and culture of the West Midlands are heard in BBC programming.

"From producing major prime-time TV shows here to the relocation of Newsbeat, today’s announcement is the first step towards achieving that fair representation and a much brighter future.”

Councillor Ian Brookfield, Wolverhampton Council leader and WMCA economy boss, said: “The creative industries are a key part of the economy in the West Midlands.

"Like many other sectors, our creative content sector has been hit hard by Covid-19 which is why it is hugely important that we see investment from the BBC in the region.

"The investment will provide jobs, skills and opportunities for people from across the West Midlands as we bounce back from the pandemic and thrive in the months and years ahead.”

The partnership deal will see the BBC work with West Midlands-based industry body Create Central, whose chair Ed Shedd, said: "This innovative partnership agreement lays the foundations for a bright future for both audiences and creators in the West Midlands.”

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News