Ivan Lewis MP Defends BBC Salford Move

In a speech to a Media Conference in Manchester today, Shadow Culture Secretary, Ivan Lewis MP defended the expensive relocation.

“Let me say this to those commentators, celebrities and BBC staff who have railed against the BBC move to Salford and the investment in Media City, shame on you for your outdated prejudices, one dimensional view of Britain and negativity about the north which belongs in the dark ages. Alongside the NHS, the BBC is one of our great national institutions. One of Britain’s greatest achievements. It is right that she accepts her responsibility to support the regions but also the quality of her output will be immensely strengthened by seeking out a more diverse talent pool and range of experiences. If the BBC is to be the authentic voice of Britain it must look like Britain.”

The BBC’s move to the North West, some feel is ‘move for move sake’ and won’t improve the content of programmes – and could do the opposite.

“The BBC’s relocation offers enormous economic potential but it is also culturally groundbreaking. This is not just a question of duty but the Corporation will also glean tremendous benefit by deepening and strengthening her relationship with Britain outside of the capital city. This move should be seen as the “High speed media link” between North and South, not an opportunity to perpetuate a backward looking North South divide.” Lewis added.

The move to Salford Quays will see the Manchester Oxford Road Studios, operational since 1975, close along with BBC Television Centre in London being sold off. The latter is a listed building, and has been used by the BBC since 1960 becoming its most iconic production facility. While the BBC initially said the new Salford project would create jobs for local people, the majority of ‘important staff’ have moved to the area from London. The jobs for locals appears to be nothing more than cleaning and security staff.

The most high profile move from London is BBC Breakfast, which currently has double the ratings of its ITV Daybreak rivial. Some fear this could be lost with the ‘move for move sake’.