It was Groundhog Day for me when news broke that the BBC was proposing to cut £25m from the BBC England budget by 2022. Flashback to redundancies across regional programme teams, the culling of popular titles and complaints from audiences seeing and hearing less about where they live.
To Belfast for the weekend, staying at a Titanic-themed hotel next door to the studios where HBO films Game of Thrones. The charred battlements visible above the lot are a clue to how the final episodes play out.
Over eight seasons, Game of Thrones has spent more than €320m in Northern Ireland. In addition to the Titanic Studios, there’s another studio in Belfast Harbour filming a Superman spin-off.
We are in the wintry Northumberland countryside to celebrate Burns Night with friends on the lakeside at Kielder Water – a vast man-made reservoir surrounded by dense forest. Surprisingly, the chatter is not about the imminent delights of haggis, bagpipes and single malt, or the excitement of gathering beneath the darkest skies in Northern Europe – so prized by stargazers.
You wait years for big news about TV in the regions. And then in quick succession at the Nations and Regions Media Festival in Salford, along comes not one, but two major announcements about production outside London.
First Sharon White from Ofcom talked about the challenging quotas she was imposing on the BBC in her new role as the corporation’s regulator.