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BBC Wales praised for 'sexy and modern' programmes

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The director general of the BBC believes Wales has set a benchmark for the other regions to aspire to with its popular series of Doctor Who and Torchwood.

Mark Thompson said the BBC Wales-produced dramas were a fine example of the 'sexy and modern' programmes the regional offices should be making for the network.

Doctor Who, penned by Swansea writer Russell T Davies, is soon returning to BBC1 for a third series and has won a clutch of awards.

A spin-off show Torchwood (an anagram of 'Doctor Who') pulled in more than two million viewers when it made its debut on BBC3 last month.

Mr Thompson believes both series will run and run.

'Menna Richards (BBC Wales Controller) and her team here in Wales are flying at the moment,' said Mr Thompson who visited Broadcasting House in Cardiff yesterday.

'I'm sure we will be seeing more series of both Doctor Who and Torchwood.'

'There's a lot of admiration and a bit of jealousy elsewhere in the BBC because of the success here.'

Mr Thompson said there had been a debate for many years about whether a Wales-produced drama could be a success if it was screened nationwide.

He believes that with its stunning aerial shots of Cardiff and its fast-paced scenes, Torchwood, starring John Barrowman and Welsh actress Eve Myles, is the perfect solution.

'We wondered whether Wales could be portrayed as modern and forward-looking and Torchwood is the answer. It's obviously Welsh and it's sexy, modern and fantastic.'

The BBC is now keen to get more regional programmes screened on the network, including factual and music programmes.

'We want to boost network output from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 13% to 17.5% of all productions,' said Mr Thompson.

As the BBC moves towards the digital switchover, Mr Thompson said they were also considering delivering even more localised news. In the future, there could be mini news programmes from smaller areas within Wales.

A scheme has already been piloted in the West Midlands.

'There would be 10 minutes of television news from areas like North Wales or Mid Wales, just like you can get on the BBC website,' he said.

'We want to complement our national news service for the whole of Wales with some items closer to home. At the moment, those who don't live in places like Cardiff or Swansea sometimes feel the news is biased towards the cities. It will be the chance for us to broaden and make more relevant the news we produce in Wales.'

Mr Thompson's visit comes just months after it was revealed BBC Wales is in the strongest position ever in its 83-year history.

The BBC Wales Annual Review 2005-06 revealed that spending on BBC Wales programmes has increased to record levels.

Money invested in programmes made by BBC Wales for the BBC's UK networks leapt to more than pounds 50m in 2005-06, having tripled in just two years.

The BBC's spending is now being carefully assessed as the government prepares to set the new level for the TV licence fee.

The corporation's initial request had been for a licence fee increase of 2.3% above inflation for 10 years. This was later amended to 1.8% above inflation.

The BBC argued that anything less than that could endanger the UK's switchover to digital television, as well as the proposed increase in investment outside London.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Price, Karen (2006-11-25). BBC Wales praised for 'sexy and modern' programmes. The Western Mail p. 11.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Price, Karen. "BBC Wales praised for 'sexy and modern' programmes." The Western Mail [add city] 2006-11-25, 11. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Price, Karen. "BBC Wales praised for 'sexy and modern' programmes." The Western Mail, edition, sec., 2006-11-25
  • Turabian: Price, Karen. "BBC Wales praised for 'sexy and modern' programmes." The Western Mail, 2006-11-25, section, 11 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=BBC Wales praised for 'sexy and modern' programmes | url= | work=The Western Mail | pages=11 | date=2006-11-25 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 April 2024 }}</ref>
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