Och Aye The News

By Hazel Last edited 128 months ago
Och Aye The News

It's the question on everyone's lips. Has Auntie's capacious bosom, formerly so welcoming of the frosty extremities, been overly nurturing to our fiery nucleus?

Or alternatively: why do they blather on about London so much on the BBC and never mention Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Yes, cast your mind back to last November, when the Big British Castle was accused of being London-centric. Never one to forego a drawn-out and expensive investigation, the BBC Trust, which was set up to ensure value for license fee payers, has announced that, er, yes, BBC News output is somewhat London-biased, and only about 7.5% of its stories are directly related to the 'regions'.

A selection of broadcasting luminaries and Eamonn Holmes have been chiming in with explanations: most of the production staff and presenters live in Greater London and hence have a personal affinity with issues concerning the capital; times are tight financially so production has become more centralised; hardly anyone lives in the regions, and they just seem to moan at us anyway, so screw them, they can make their own bloody programmes if they don't like ours, the bunch of po-faced heathens. That sort of thing.

The BBC's Director General, Mark Thompson, has already outlined plans to increase the proportion of production from the regions to 17% by 2016, and the Salford Quay project will see a few large BBC departments, including Radio 5 Live, moving to Manchester in the next few years.

But maybe the BBC's critics should look at the matter this way: London is a city characterised by extremes and divisions, be they of wealth, skin colour, politics, gang membership or culture. And it's these extremes that make our city in its nature newsworthy, a kind of grotesque and fascinating reflection of British society. So, the day after a schoolgirl was set on fire in the streets of Greenwich, maybe some people should count themselves lucky they don't feature so often in the evening news.

By Andy Fell

Image from chiefmoamba's photostream on Flickr, under the Creative Commons License.

Last Updated 16 June 2008