Two television series set in the West Midlands have had to be filmed in London and Manchester because of the region's meagre production resources.
An executive making the two programmes has blamed a lack of BBC funding in the Midlands for decimating the industry in the region, with many of those employed in television moving away because so little is produced here.
Kenton Allen, former head of BBC comedy, is making The Job Lot, a new ITV sitcom set in a West Midlands job centre, and Raised By Wolves for Channel 4, a semi-autobiographical account of the childhood of Wolverhampton-born writer Caitlin Moran.
The Midlands was the natural home for both series, but the lack of production expertise proved to be too much of an obstacle.
Both are set in the Midlands but The Job Lot – to be screened at the end of the month, starring Russell Tovey and Sarah Hadland – was filmed in London and Raised By Wolves is to be made in Manchester.
The latest setback comes after the Post revealed that the Midlands receives the least expenditure per head of all the UK regions from the BBC’s £4.1 billion annual budget.
“We would have loved to have filmed in the Midlands, but there simply isn’t enough of a substantial base of film crews left in the region,” said Mr Allen, who was born in Stourbridge and runs Big Talk Productions.
“There isn’t the infrastructure to support a production or enough freelance staff. They have had to move away to go with the work, to Wales or the North West where all the money is invested.
“It is a shame. I am all for regionalisation, but the Midlands has been overlooked.
“There are far too many programmes made in Manchester and the North. For goodness sake, there are other parts of the country.”
Midland MPs are meeting BBC executive James Purnell, the former Labour Culture Secretary, as part of plans to increase the corporation’s spending in the region.
The Post revealed that while the Midlands contributes £912.3 million in licence fees each year, the BBC spends just £100 million here – and that figure continues to decline.
The corporation claims that for every £1 of licence fee, about £2 is returned to the surrounding economy – on that basis the region would see a boost to its economy of £750 million a year if the corporation invested the same as other regions.
The Campaign for Regional Broadcasting Midlands is now lobbying for more money to be spent in the Midlands and more programmes to be made here.
Mr Allen, aged 47, was educated at The Grange School and King Edward VI Sixth Form College in Stourbridge.
His first job was as a trainee studio manager at BBC Pebble Mill in Birmingham, working on Howards’ Way, Pebble Mill At One and The Archers, where he spent three months making sound effects.
He moved to Radio 1, becoming the station’s youngest ever producer, before producing Tonight With Jonathan Ross for Channel 4.
A move to Granada Television saw Mr Allen producing shows including Stars In Their Eyes and The Royle Family.
He said: “When I joined Pebble Mill, it was a centre of excellence for drama and it made great factual programmes like Top Gear. It is a great pity to see that disappear.”
The BBC said in a statement that the Midlands remains an important part of its production landscape.
The BBC’s 39 local radio stations, 42 online sites and England’s 12 television regions are all run by a headquarters team which is based in Birmingham alongside the BBC England’s news and sport online team, it said.
It added: “There is a substantial network drama base in Birmingham. Viewers have enjoyed Father Brown and WPC 56 which have both gone out on BBC One recently. In addition Doctors has grown from 21 hours in 2000 to 115.5 hours for series 13 in 2011. The iconic BBC Radio 4 radio drama The Archers is made at the Mailbox in Birmingham and Ambridge Extra has been re-commissioned by BBC Radio 4 Extra.”