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Author Topic:  Matthew Wright: Condems Mark Thompsom and the cuts  (Read 2009 times)

Tiger

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Matthew Wright: Condems Mark Thompsom and the cuts
« on: November 14, 2011, 04:32:23 PM »
This from the Guardian today.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/nov/14/matthew-wright-bbc-inside-out-cuts?CMP=twt_gu


Matthew Wright: BBC's Inside Out cuts are 'a joke'Presenter says he may quit London edition of current affairs show if 40% cost savings go ahead

 

 r, Monday 14 November 2011 07.19 GMT Article history 
Matthew Wright has attacked cuts to the BBC's Inside Out current affairs show. Photograph: BBC
Inside Out presenter Matthew Wright has branded the proposed 40% cuts to the BBC1 regional programme "a joke" and says he may quit the current affairs series if they go ahead.


Wright who fronts the London version of Inside Out as well as Channel 5's The Wright Stuff said the budget cuts the BBC show is facing as part of the corporation's "Delivering Quality First" cost-saving measures, mark "the beginning of the end for regional broadcasting on the BBC".


And he questioned why director general Mark Thompson had allowed the BBC to agree such a big cut, saying: "If a future government asks to save more then we could be asked to take out another 20%, you bearded muppet!"


Although the BBC is looking to make 20% cuts over the four years to April 2017 as a result of last year's licence fee settlement which froze its funding, Inside Out is facing a 40% cut to its 5m annual budget.


The move is expected to lead to 40 job losses and the existing 11 regional editions of the show being reduced to six.

Wright said he wanted to make a stand for regional broadcasting, because it is "the poor relation" and "therefore it's easy to get at".


He went on: "The BBC is the last bastion. It has a public service broadcasting remit and I think regional broadcasting has core Reithian values. It serves communities. I'm on the coal face as I make the programme but most viewers have no idea what's around the corner for their regional programmes.


"I have yet to find anybody who can explain why the BBC is making 40% cuts to Inside Out. The most Mark Thompson was asked to deliver was around 20%. No one wilfully in the modern age gives up twice as much savings as they've been asked to."


When she spoke to Inside Out staff recently, BBC News director Helen Boaden said the priority in regional television had to be the 6.30pm and 10.30pm bulletins, so she "reluctantly" looked for greater savings from Inside Out.


However, Wright said that "the tragedy is there seems to be no reason for the BBC to do this".



"On the day I was hearing messages that 40% cuts were coming to Inside Out I read in the papers that the BBC was in talks with Kylie Minogue to do The Voice, with a salary not unadjacent to 1m," he added. "The BBC is not supposed to be competing commercially yet it's pretty clear that big money negotiations are going on still. A fraction of that wage would keep on running some regional programmes for a year."


He added: "The problem is that regional programming isn't very sexy. When 6 Music was under threat people, quite rightly, rushed to defend it. David Bowie made a song and dance about it and Ed Vaizey thought it was worth saving."



The first episode of the latest series of Inside Out was watched by 3.6 million viewers overall, more than the 3.4 million who watched Panorama.


Wright said that if the changes and cuts go ahead, there will be "little point me being involved in the show I'll have to ask myself do I want to be standing in a field in Kent, is it what I signed up to do I'm a Londoner and I wanted to make programmes about London."


Wright argued that viewers do not want news from other areas: "People from London want to watch shows about their region. Do I want to know what's going on in Kent or Sussex and vice versa? No one knows how this will operate. Are they going to have a London and south region?


"They can say that's a region but the function of regional broadcasting is to be about stories in people's region. The geography will be too wide. Why not just have north, middle and south? It's still regional broadcasting but compared with what we have at the moment it is a joke."


Wright's words echoed those of former BBC director general Greg Dyke, who pointed out recently at a speech at the University of West London that it was "only in recent years that the BBC abandoned a local regional news magazine show called London Plus, which covered the whole of London, all of Kent and half of the south-east. I think it was Michael Grade who nicknamed London Plus 'Fuck Off Kent'."


Rita

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Re: Matthew Wright: Condems Mark Thompsom and the cuts
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2011, 11:46:30 PM »
Interesting Tiger.  E-mailed in to Matthew Wright last week to see if he would mention the local radio day on his programme and now this happens!

Tiger

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Re: Matthew Wright: Condems Mark Thompsom and the cuts
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2011, 01:36:51 PM »
Dear Rita,

Well, I think you should take some credit!

Great that he has spoken out.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 08:12:08 PM by Tiger »

Tiger

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Re: Matthew Wright: Condems Mark Thompsom and the cuts
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2011, 08:11:12 PM »
Actually Rita,

I was a bit rushed at lunchtime, and have to say this..

You are a star!

There is no doubt, that your contributions, to your local station, your local press, the national press,and to the national media, is having a very important impact. You represent many , many listeners, by your example, and I hope that they follow your brilliant example. It seems Matthew did.

X


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