Potential BBC proposals to pull drama production out of the city would be a “massive setback” for Birmingham’s media industries, MPs have warned.
They demanded a guarantee that the popular Doctors programme would continue to be produced at the Selly Oak Drama Village, at Birmingham University.
Lynne Jones (Lab Selly Oak) and Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston) issued the plea in a House of Commons motion, following reports that the BBC is planning to move production to the North-west.
An estimated 60 jobs would be lost if production is moved to Salford in Greater Manchester, which is due to become the BBC’s major production centre outside London.
The national broadcaster has already made a series of cuts in the West Midlands. Radio WM’s daily output is set to end at 10pm and the Mailbox, the BBC’s West Midlands headquarters, has already lost Radio 2 work.
The BBC insists it remains committed to the region, pointing out that it produces programmes such as Gardeners’ World, Around The World in 80 Gardens, Gardener Of The Year, Countryfile, Desi DNA and Points Of View here, as well as radio drama The Archers.
It has invested over £40 million in a new digital, state-of-the-art premises at the Mailbox.
But Dr Jones said she had been prompted to intervene after constituents who worked in the industry told her they were concerned about the BBC’s proposals.
Dr Jones said: “The BBC is moving many of its facilities out of London and into Salford because it wants to produce more programmes in the regions, and we support that.
“But we are concerned that the BBC is moving out of Birmingham as part of this. The motion is partly to remind the BBC about the good value Birmingham offers. The Media Village means they can film on campus without paying the fees that they would have to pay elsewhere.”