Northern Ireland news

BBC current affairs programmes to be presented in Belfast and other cities amid sweeping changes

The Duke of York speaking about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis in 2019. The current affairs programme will be presented from Belfast and other UK cities as part of changes to the BBC. File picture from Mark Harrington/BBC/Press Association
Sherna Noah, Press Association

BBC news and current affairs programmes, including Newsnight, will be presented from Belfast and other UK cities throughout the year.

The corporation yesterday announced plans to "better reflect" all parts of Britain and Northern Ireland.

It will shift away from London over the next six years in what it has called its "biggest transformation in decades".

The move comes after the broadcaster was accused by some of failing to understand the vote for Brexit.

Viewers will see a "noticeable shift in portrayal of different parts of the UK in drama, comedy and factual" shows, the broadcaster said.

News and current affairs programmes like Newsnight will be presented from different UK bases throughout the year.

Radio 4's Today programme will be co-presented from outside London for at least 100 episodes a year. PM will also be presented from across the UK.

Under the plan, a "clear majority" of the BBC's "UK-wide TV will be made across the UK, not in London - at least 60% of network TV commissions by spend".

Key daytime programmes on Radio 1, 1Xtra and Radio 2 will be made across the UK and half of network radio and music spend will be outside London by 2027/28.

More than 100 new and returning drama and comedy titles will reflect the lives and communities of audiences outside London over the next three years, the BBC said.

BBC One daytime show Morning Live will be broadcast year-round from Salford.

Unveiling the new plans, which comes as the BBC begins discussions with the government over the future cost of the licence fee, Director-General Tim Davie said the "challenges for the BBC are real, and we must act now."

Noel McClean, national secretary of trade union Bectu, said: "Our immediate concern is the impact on people, our members.

"As ever, the devil will be in the detail and Bectu will be going through the proposals with a fine-tooth comb to ensure that workers are properly supported through these changes and that the need for redundancies is minimised."

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