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11/07/2006

BBC Wales record year is 'powerhouse of exceptional output'

A record year has put BBC Wales in the strongest position ever in its 83-year history according to figures released today.
The BBC Wales Annual Review 2005-06, which presents a summary of the Broadcasting Council for Wales' assessment of BBC Wales' performance for the year, shows that spending on BBC Wales programmes increased to record levels.
Money invested in programmes made by BBC Wales for the BBC's UK networks leapt to more than £50m in 2005-06, having tripled in just two years.
Professor Merfyn Jones, BBC National Governor for Wales, said: "During the year BBC Wales enhanced its reputation as a powerhouse of exceptional output for the BBC networks.
"This considerable achievement has changed perceptions of BBC Wales' capacity to contribute even more in coming years, especially in the context of the BBC's intention to develop more production outside London.
"It also builds the media industries and thus enhances the creative potential of Wales – a very substantial contribution to the economy of Wales."
The Broadcasting Council for Wales singles out 'Doctor Who' – which is made in Wales by BBC Wales – saying that its "combination of heritage and sophistication, together with the positive effect on family viewing, had been a huge achievement for BBC Wales."
It also noted the success of the BBC Wales network productions Tribe, The Girl in the Café, Life on Mars, BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, A Year at Kew and the Emmy award-winning Broadway: The American Musical.
Other significant successes highlighted in the BBC Wales Annual Review included: BBC Wales television programmes made for audiences in Wales again out-performed the network programmes they replaced on BBC ONE Wales and BBC TWO Wales; Wales Today continued to have more than double the audience of ITV 1 Wales News;
and BBC Wales Welsh language television programmes continued to be the most-watched on S4C.
Menna Richards, Controller, BBC Wales, welcomed the Annual Review: "What the last year has shown is that a combination of energy and talent and, in particular, a willingness to look outward, can seize any number of opportunities to reveal to the rest of the UK the creative ability that flourishes here in Wales.
"With record investment in programmes, record numbers visiting our online services, radio audiences growing and the success of the Here For You community strategy in creating a more open BBC that reflects communities across the whole of Wales, BBC Wales can claim to be in the strongest position in its proud history.
"It's the BBC thing. It's the way in which a huge broadcasting organisation can be flexible enough to provide room for a process of cross-fertilisation that puts more programmes made by BBC Wales on the networks.
"And, perhaps most important of all, in our various services on television, radio and online in Welsh and English we play the single biggest role in reflecting Wales to itself – not just on our own services but also in a substantial contribution to the continuing success of S4C, with whom we are in the process of finalising a new strategic partnership in the best interests of Welsh language audiences."
(SP/EF)
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