BBC English Regions

BBC English Regions

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BBC English Regions is the division of the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 responsible for local television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

, radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

, web
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...

 and teletext
Teletext
Teletext is a television information retrieval service developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s. It offers a range of text-based information, typically including national, international and sporting news, weather and TV schedules...

 services in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. It is one of the BBC's four 'Nations' - the others being BBC Scotland
BBC Scotland
BBC Scotland is a constituent part of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the publicly-funded broadcaster of the United Kingdom. It is, in effect, the national broadcaster for Scotland, having a considerable amount of autonomy from the BBC's London headquarters, and is run by the BBC Trust, who...

, BBC Wales
BBC Wales
BBC Cymru Wales is a division of the British Broadcasting Corporation for Wales. Based at Broadcasting House in the Llandaff area of Cardiff, it directly employs over 1200 people, and produces a broad range of television, radio and online services in both the Welsh and English languages.Outside...

 and BBC Northern Ireland
BBC Northern Ireland
BBC Northern Ireland is the main public service broadcaster in Northern Ireland.The organisation is one of the three national regions of the BBC, together with BBC Scotland and BBC Wales. Based at Broadcasting House, Belfast, it provides television, radio, online and interactive television content...

.

The division is made up of 12 separate regions. Many of the names of these regions are similar to those of the official government Regions of England
Regions of England
In England, the region is the highest tier of sub-national division used by central Government. Between 1994 and 2011, the nine regions had an administrative role in the implementation of UK Government policy, and as the areas covered by elected bodies...

, but the areas covered are often significantly different as they are determined by terrestrial
Terrestrial television
Terrestrial television is a mode of television broadcasting which does not involve satellite transmission or cables — typically using radio waves through transmitting and receiving antennas or television antenna aerials...

 transmission areas, not administrative boundaries.

The headquarters of BBC English Regions is at The Mailbox
The Mailbox
The Mailbox is an upmarket development of offices, designer shops, restaurants, bars and luxury city-centre apartments in the City Centre and on the boundary of the City Centre Core in Birmingham, West Midlands, England. It includes a mini supermarket and three art galleries: the Artlounge, Castle...

 in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, with regional television centres in Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

, Hull
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull , usually referred to as Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It stands on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles inland from the North Sea. Hull has a resident population of...

, Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...

, Nottingham
Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

, Norwich
Norwich
Norwich is a city in England. It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk. During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of the most important places in the kingdom...

, Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Tunbridge Wells
Royal Tunbridge Wells
Royal Tunbridge Wells is a town in west Kent, England, about south-east of central London by road, by rail. The town is close to the border of the county of East Sussex...

, Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

 and Plymouth
Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

, and local radio stations based at 43 locations across England.

Overall the division produces over 70% of the BBC's domestic television and radio output hours, for about 7% of the licence
Television licensing in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies, any household watching or recording live television transmissions is required to purchase a television licence every year. As of 2010, this costs £145.50 for colour and £49.00 for black and white. The licence is required to receive any live...

 fee.

Since April 2009 the English Regions division has been aligned with the BBC News
BBC News
BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

 department to 'maximise co-operation in the BBC's news operations'.

The Four Regions


The current BBC English Regions division was the product of the controversial Broadcasting in the Seventies report - a radical review of the BBC's network radio and non-metropolitan broadcasting structure - published on 10 July 1969.

Before this the structure of regional broadcasting in England had remained virtually unchanged since the late 1920s, when the establishment of 4 regional radio transmission stations covering England had led to a regional structure on similar lines. BBC North
BBC North
BBC North is a brand used by the BBC to mean any of the following.*The large BBC North region, centred on Manchester, that was active from the late 1920s until 1968....

 was based in Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 and covered the area from Cheshire
Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

 and Sheffield
Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

 northwards, BBC Midlands and East Anglia was based in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 covering a swathe of central England from the Potteries to Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

, and BBC South and West was based in Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

 covering the area south and west of a line from Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

 to Brighton
Brighton
Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove in East Sussex, England on the south coast of Great Britain...

. The London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 area, though it had regional transmission infrastructure of its own, produced only national programming and wasn't considered to be a region as it acted as the sustaining service for the other regions.

These regions (alongside the national regions BBC Scotland
BBC Scotland
BBC Scotland is a constituent part of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the publicly-funded broadcaster of the United Kingdom. It is, in effect, the national broadcaster for Scotland, having a considerable amount of autonomy from the BBC's London headquarters, and is run by the BBC Trust, who...

, BBC Wales
BBC Wales
BBC Cymru Wales is a division of the British Broadcasting Corporation for Wales. Based at Broadcasting House in the Llandaff area of Cardiff, it directly employs over 1200 people, and produces a broad range of television, radio and online services in both the Welsh and English languages.Outside...

 and BBC Northern Ireland
BBC Northern Ireland
BBC Northern Ireland is the main public service broadcaster in Northern Ireland.The organisation is one of the three national regions of the BBC, together with BBC Scotland and BBC Wales. Based at Broadcasting House, Belfast, it provides television, radio, online and interactive television content...

 that performed a similar role outside England) were well-suited to delivering the pre-war BBC Regional Programme
BBC Regional Programme
The BBC Regional Programme was a UK radio network which operated from the end of the 1920s until the outbreak of World War II in 1939.-Foundation:...

 and the post-war BBC Home Service
BBC Home Service
The BBC Home Service was a British national radio station which broadcast from 1939 until 1967.-Development:Between the 1920s and the outbreak of The Second World War, the BBC had developed two nationwide radio services, the BBC National Programme and the BBC Regional Programme...

 that replaced it. By the 1960s, though, the growth of television, the birth of the more locally-based ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 franchises in 1955 and the development of smaller BBC Local Radio
BBC Local Radio
BBC Local Radio is the BBC's regional radio service for England and the Channel Islands, consisting of 40 stations. They cover a variety of areas with some serving a city and surrounding areas, for example BBC Radio Manchester; a county, for example BBC Radio Norfolk; an administrative region for...

 stations (made possible by the development of FM radio) were making the structure look increasingly anachronistic.

Broadcasting in the Seventies


The effect of Broadcasting in the Seventies was to separate the two different roles of regional BBC offices into different organisations:
  • The two major television channels BBC1
    BBC One
    BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

     and BBC2
    BBC Two
    BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

     were to remain primarily national operations. To prevent this leading to total domination by London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

    , three large Network Production Centres (NPC), each one having its own medium-size colour tv studio - BBC Bristol, BBC Birmingham
    BBC Birmingham
    BBC Birmingham is one of the oldest regional arms of the BBC, located in Birmingham, West Midlands. It was the first region outside of London to start broadcasting both the corporation's radio and television transmissions, the latter from the Sutton Coldfield television transmitter...

     and BBC Manchester
    BBC Manchester
    BBC Manchester is the British Broadcasting Corporation regional headquarters for the North West, the largest BBC region in the UK. BBC Manchester also forms a key part of BBC North....

     - were established in the headquarters of the former regions, to produce programming for national broadcast across the entire United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    .


Each of the above production centres also had network radio studios (BBC Birmingham
BBC Birmingham
BBC Birmingham is one of the oldest regional arms of the BBC, located in Birmingham, West Midlands. It was the first region outside of London to start broadcasting both the corporation's radio and television transmissions, the latter from the Sutton Coldfield television transmitter...

, for instance, producing The Archers
The Archers
The Archers is a long-running British soap opera broadcast on the BBC's main spoken-word channel, Radio 4. It was originally billed as "an everyday story of country folk", but is now described on its Radio 4 web site as "contemporary drama in a rural setting"...

) plus a small television news studio, the latter to enable local (opt out) programming.
  • BBC English Regions was created to take on this other role of the former regions - the production of specifically local programming (mainly from small island sites) - through a new tier of eight much smaller regions described on page eight of the report as "the basic unit of English broadcasting outside London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

    "
    and controlled from headquarters in the newly built Pebble Mill studios
    Pebble Mill Studios
    The BBC 's Pebble Mill Studios were located in Edgbaston, a suburb of Birmingham, England. The views from the roof overlooked Cannon Hill Park, a nature centre, as well as Birmingham's city centre...

     in Birmingham
    Birmingham
    Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

    .


As a result of the latter, Plymouth
Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

-based BBC South West
BBC South West
BBC South West is the BBC English Region serving Devon, Cornwall and the Channel Islands.-Television:BBC South Wests television service consists of the flagship regional news service Spotlight, the opt-out service BBC Channel Islands, the topical magazine programme Inside Out and a 20-minute...

 and Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

-based BBC South
BBC South
BBC South is the BBC English Region serving West Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, western Berkshire, Oxfordshire, south east Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight.-Television:...

 were split from BBC West
BBC West
BBC West is the BBC English Region serving Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.-Television:...

 in Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

; Norwich
Norwich
Norwich is a city in England. It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk. During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of the most important places in the kingdom...

-based BBC East
BBC East
BBC East is the BBC English Region serving Norfolk, Suffolk, north Essex, Cambridgeshire, northern and central Hertfordshire, most of Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, and parts of Buckinghamshire.-Television:...

 separated from BBC Midlands in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

; a new smaller BBC North West
BBC North West
BBC North West is the BBC English Region serving Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire, Walsden in West Yorkshire, the Isle of Man , north-west Derbyshire, the Yorkshire Dales including Settle and Ribblesdale, and southern Cumbria.BBC North West television output is also broadcast in...

 was created from the existing Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

-based region, with the old BBC North
BBC North
BBC North is a brand used by the BBC to mean any of the following.*The large BBC North region, centred on Manchester, that was active from the late 1920s until 1968....

 name being taken by the newly created region based in Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

; and the existing Newcastle
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...

-based BBC North East
BBC North East and Cumbria
BBC North East and Cumbria is the BBC English Region covering Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham, North Yorkshire, Teesside and all but the southern part of Cumbria...

 separated from the old BBC North Region in this process.

In addition London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and the surrounding area was finally recognised as a region with the creation of BBC South East
BBC South East
BBC South East is the BBC English Region serving East Sussex, Kent, and parts of Surrey and West Sussex.The BBC region was created in September 2001 by the joining of the Heathfield transmitter , with the Bluebell Hill and Dover transmitters to form a new regional TV service...

 although it wasn't to get a dedicated regional programme of its own until 1982.

These new regions produced local news programmes and opt-outs on television, but regional radio programming on the BBC Home Service
BBC Home Service
The BBC Home Service was a British national radio station which broadcast from 1939 until 1967.-Development:Between the 1920s and the outbreak of The Second World War, the BBC had developed two nationwide radio services, the BBC National Programme and the BBC Regional Programme...

 ceased, replaced by the national Radio 1
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00pm including electronic dance, hip hop, rock...

, Radio 2
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 is one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the United Kingdom. Much of its daytime playlist-based programming is best described as Adult Contemporary or AOR, although the station is also noted for its specialist broadcasting of other musical genres...

, Radio 3
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 is a national radio station operated by the BBC within the United Kingdom. Its output centres on classical music and opera, but jazz, world music, drama, culture and the arts also feature. The station is the world’s most significant commissioner of new music, and its New Generation...

 and Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 and the growing number of local radio stations. The report stated that the local radio experiment, started in 1967 "has proved that there is a demand for local radio" and that the BBC should "put forward to the Postmaster General
United Kingdom Postmaster General
The Postmaster General of the United Kingdom is a defunct Cabinet-level ministerial position in HM Government. Aside from maintaining the postal system, the Telegraph Act of 1868 established the Postmaster General's right to exclusively maintain electric telegraphs...

 a provisional scheme for expanding our local network to about forty stations"
.

Current Structure


This structure has largely survived to the current day. Local news services were developed on Ceefax
Ceefax
Ceefax is the BBC's teletext information service transmitted via the analogue signal, started in 1974 and will run until April 2012 for Pages from Ceefax, while the actual interactive service will run until 24 October 2012, in-line with the digital switchover.-History:During the late 60s, engineer...

 from 1997 and were extended onto the web
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...

 in 1999. The decreasing costs of television production and improving technology also enabled the gradual development of even smaller regions. In 1991 BBC East Midlands
BBC East Midlands
BBC East Midlands is the BBC English Region covering Derbyshire, Leicestershire, south Nottinghamshire, South Kesteven and Rutland.-Television:...

 was finally created in Nottingham
Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

, BBC London
BBC London
BBC London is the BBC English Region producing local radio, television, teletext and online services in London and parts of the surrounding area. Its output includes the daily BBC London News and the weekly Politics Show on television, the BBC London 94.9 radio station and local coverage of the...

 (separated from BBC South East) also became a region in 2001 and BBC North
BBC North
BBC North is a brand used by the BBC to mean any of the following.*The large BBC North region, centred on Manchester, that was active from the late 1920s until 1968....

 was split into BBC Yorkshire
BBC Yorkshire
BBC Yorkshire is one of the English regions of the BBC. It was formed from the division of the former BBC North region into BBC Yorkshire and BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, based in Hull.-Television:...

 and BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire
BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire
BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, sometimes abbreviated to BBC Yorks & Lincs, is the name for the BBC's twelfth English Region, based in Hull and created from the division of the former BBC North region, based in Leeds...

in 2004 - with the new millennium seeing several BBC regions moving into new premises.