BBC to put ‘Birmingham at the heart of broadcasting innovation’

The Mailbox - BBC Birmingham - an ATV photo 2015
After years of cutting back, and campaigns for the corporation to do more in the Midlands, the beeb yesterday confirmed it is to instigate a package of measures that will boost the BBC’s presence and investment in Birmingham by creating a new dual base for BBC Three in the city.

“I’ve seen in Birmingham how much of a difference our extra investment in the past couple of years has made – but I’ve also said there was more to do. Now we’re putting Birmingham at the heart of our innovation with BBC Three, and making it home to a new youth team for BBC News. The city’s incredible diversity also means it’s the perfect place to lead our work to ensure we reflect the changing face of Britain. This package is good news for Birmingham and good news for the BBC.” – Tony Hall, BBC Director General

The commissioning, publishing and some of the production of BBC Three’s short-form content, and the social media team that supports it, would move to the Birmingham in a phased transition by 2018 under the proposals. Additional resources will be put into BBC Three to innovate and further develop the Daily Drop in the city, including new commissioner and assistant commissioner roles based in Birmingham being created to exclusively commission short-form content.

Birmingham Street, 2014

Birmingham will also be the home of a new youth team within BBC News, who will be the main suppliers of the key news content for BBC Three’s Daily Drop.

In addition, the BBC’s proposed local news partnerships are expected to be based in Birmingham alongside the English Regions HQ, moving control of more spend to the city. The plans would move control of content budgets worth more than £10 million to BBC Birmingham, putting it at the heart of producing fresh talent and innovative digital content for young audiences.

These teams, together with Birmingham’s young and diverse demographic, will be harnessed to act as part of the hub for the identification, development and commissioning of new diverse talent and programmes as announced in the BBC’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy last month. To support this, the BBC Academy will launch a new scheme, the Birmingham Production Apprenticeship, for new off-air talent from diverse backgrounds.

“BBC Three’s had real success with shows like Thirteen, Cuckoo and Sex In Strange Places, and short-form content like Drugs Map Of Britain and Life And Death Row: Love Triangle all cutting through. With this additional resource, and being sited with BBC News, it means we can do so much more for young people. The move builds on BBC Three’s strong launch as an online channel, and allows it to benefit from the wealth of young talent in Birmingham. Being co-sited with this BBC News team and the BBC Academy will also allow for increased collaboration as BBC Three reinvents the BBC’s offer for young people. – Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three

The city formerly was home to the Central Junior Television Workshop, along with a base in Nottingham, which nurtured future acting and presenting personalities via training and experience at the ITV studios’ in the Midlands during the 1980s and 90s. ITV closed it’s major Birmingham production centre on Broad Street in 1997, the Nottingham Studios were axed in 2004 and the following year the BBC closed the iconic Pebble Mill centre in Birmingham.

BBC Three - BBC II!