The BBC’s Â£ 25million investment in the North East will allow it to produce more programming in the region, support independent production companies and create new jobs.
Described as the company’s biggest investment in the region in decades, the announcement by BBC chief executive Tim Davie has been well received by local politicians and cultural organizations.
The plan will see the BBC produce a new North East daytime TV show, make Newcastle the BBC’s first ‘city of comedy’ and build on the success of its Angels of the North and Ambulance shows, which are filmed in the region.
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He also signed an agreement with the 12 Northeastern Councils to work more closely to invest in the region’s production industry, while the prestigious Reith Lectures – a centerpiece of BBC production since 1948 – will be coming from the region later this year.
The announcement – which follows a pledge last year to create 70 jobs with a new BBC digital hub in Newcastle – follows similar initiatives taken elsewhere in the UK by the BBC to help boost growth of the creative economy in the regions and nations of the United Kingdom.
BBC Managing Director Tim Davie said: âIt’s a really exciting day for the BBC and I hope for the whole of the North East as well. I am proud that we have been able to partner with so many organizations across the region.
âAnd what is clear is the ambition and determination to make the North East a major center for the creative industries and we want to play an important role in achieving this. We want to see more BBC content coming from the North East and a much more active and visible BBC in the region. It is time to continue this work.
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The move was hailed by North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll and his Tees Valley counterpart Ben Houchen.
Mr Driscoll said: âDepending on your generation, you will remember The Likely Lads, When the Boat Comes In or Byker Grove. Well, we need more Northeastern TV.
âOur region is magnificent; from Bamburgh Castle, across the Tyne Bridge, through Durham Cathedral to the Transporter Bridge. It is by investing in our region that our talented screenwriters, actors and technicians will be able to put us back on the map.
Newcastle City Council Chief Nick Forbes said: âGeordies is famous for its great sense of humor, so what better place than Newcastle to have a city of comedy? The BBC’s move from London to the regions was long overdue, but it is nonetheless a significant investment in our city creating 70 quality jobs which I warmly welcome.
âBringing the Reith Conferences to Newcastle in 2022 will also raise the profile of our intellectual and cultural offering as one of the great cities of the North. “
Tom Gutteridge, chairman of the Northern Film + Media industry group, also welcomed the BBC’s announcement, saying: âThis is a monumental time for the North East screen industry.
âIt will be a transformation and we hope not only to increase the number of large-scale productions coming to the region, but also to continue working, supporting and developing local productions to ensure that the voice of the North East is heard. by the global public. â
The BBC’s announcement comes just days after independent TV production company Fulwell 73 – the creators of Netflix’s Sunderland ‘Til I die and Friends Reunion show – announced it was opening an office in Sunderland.