Broadcast News

Bookmark and Share

Mainland Broadcasters 'Failing NI'

There is broad support today to the damning conclusions of this morning's Northern Ireland Affairs Committee report 'TV Broadcasting in Northern Ireland'.
Pact, the trade body for independent producers, has welcomed the report which it said signalled an all round failure to promote broadcasting in NI, as exemplified by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's (DCMS) choice of the title 'Digital Britain' for its white paper on the coming digital revolution.
Pact Chief Executive John McVay said that the dearth of commissioning by the public service broadcasters, BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Five, of locally made television programming in the region represents a huge loss for both Northern Ireland and UK viewers.
"While the BBC's commitment to increase production from Northern Ireland is positive, it doesn't go far enough.
"What's more, it should not be left to the BBC alone to boost production in Northern Ireland.
"What we need is an attitudinal shift where commissioners in London from all the public service broadcasters actually spend time in Northern Ireland to build relationships with producers and really see the wealth of talent and opportunities that it offers," he insisted.
The senior figure's comments came after the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee said that public service broadcasters and the DCMS are failing Northern Ireland.
"The UK's major television companies have failed to portray the ordinary life, beauties, history and culture of Northern Ireland to the rest of the country," said the MPs in a report published on Tuesday.
They said that the BBC, Channel Four and other public service broadcasters "have neglected their obligations to Northern Ireland, leaving it comparatively invisible on screens across the water in Great Britain".
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Chairman Sir Patrick Cormack MP said: "While award-winning programmes and films about the Troubles are important and often of the highest quality, we are concerned that the everyday life of Northern Ireland, the beauties of its countryside and the glories of its history and culture play next to no part in the programmes that those who live in the other parts of the United Kingdom see."
One of the damning statistics quoted in today's report is that, in total Northern Ireland accounted for only 16 hours of network programming in 2007—less than one minute of network programming per 1,000 head of population, and lower than any other region of the UK.
The report quotes Peter Johnson, Director of the BBC in Northern Ireland, who accepted that NI had not received sufficient attention in the past, and said - given that 3% of the UK population live there - historically the position has been that not enough of the BBC's output has been made in Northern Ireland.
"It has typically varied between half a per cent and 1% of the overall mix," he admitted.
However, the paper also highlighted that the BBC has announced a commitment to increase its network programming from outside London to 50%, including at least 17% from the nations.
Although no specific target has been set for Northern Ireland, it is expected that at least 3% will be from Northern Ireland by 2016 and it is estimated that this will put an extra £30 million into the NI production sector.
The hard-hitting report concludes that as the BBC retains primacy, "it has not adequately discharged its responsibilities in Northern Ireland, and we repeat our call for a commissioner for programming to be based in Belfast".
Solidmate Ltd Memory Card Hire London

Top Related Stories
Click here for the latest broadcast news stories.

Production News : BBC And NI Screen Sign New Partnership
The BBC and Northern Ireland Screen have signed a new partnership agreement to support the television and online industries in Northern Ireland. The p
Production News : New Development Programme Announced For NI Product Firms
BBC Three is inviting independent production companies based in Northern Ireland to submit format ideas as part of a youth content development scheme
Production News : BBC Announce Gay Britannia Season
The BBC has announced a season of programming marking the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act 1967. Led by programming on BBC Two and BBC Four
Production News : Doctor Who Returns To BBC One
Doctor Who is to return to television screens on Saturday, 15 April. For the tenth series of the sci-fi show, some of the filming took place in Bristo
BBC Northern Ireland appoints Secretary
BBC Northern Ireland has appointed Mark Adair as Secretary. Adair is currently Chief Executive Officer for Community Relations Council and is a former
Production News : Luther To Return To BBC One
BBC One has confirmed that crime drama series Luther is to return. Filming on the series, which stars Idris Elba as DCI John Luther, is due to start f
Production News : BBC Two Acquires 'Feud: Bette And Joan'
BBC has announced that it has acquired the eight-part series, Feud: Bette and Joan. The drama, which focuses on the famous rivalry between Hollywood s
Westminster Live Studios Host Leaders Debate For BBC
It was a busy week when Westminster Live studios in the heart of political London were asked to host the now infamous leaders debate for the BBC, init
Production News : BBC One Commissions Wild Alaska Live
Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content and Tom McDonald, BBC Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual, has announced Wild Alask
HBO Fantasy Epic For Northern Ireland
Fantasy filmmaking is on the way to Belfast. Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Culture and Arts Minister, Nelson McCausland have
BBC NI Announces Primetime Scripts
Three scriptwriters are to have their work made into dramas for television in an exciting new initiative from BBC Northern Ireland and Northern Irelan
NI Screen Returns £22m To Economy
As cameras start to roll in Belfast on HBO's Game of Thrones, a TV series which is said to be one of the largest ever to shoot in Europe, Northern Ire
Ofcom appoints new members to Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland
Ofcom has announced the appointment of new members to its Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland. As set out in Section 20 of the Communications Act
Northern Ireland Film And Television Commission Announce £12 Million Package
At an event billed as 'Building on Success', The Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission announced its new 3-year strategy and revealed the ma
BBC Studios New Series Deadly Predators Begins Filming
BBC Studios Natural History Unit has announced its new seven-part series, Deadly Predators, has begun filming in the UK. Presented by BAFTA Award-winn