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BBC Cymru Wales announces package of support for Wales’ creative sector

Mon 6th Apr 2020

BBC Cymru Wales has today announced a special package of support to assist independent production companies in Wales working with the broadcaster during the Coronavirus crisis.

The package - which has been shared with independent companies - includes:

A new commissioning round launched this week for TV and radio content as well as short-form content for younger audiences

Additional support for smaller independent companies across the UK nations - as part of an enhanced BBC Small Indie Fund

A special fund to turbo-charge TV development projects

A new radio development fund to support new programme ideas

The package aims to help support the sector during the current Coronavirus crisis and complements proposals being announced by BBC network television to support independent producers across the nations and regions.

Acknowledging the sector’s key role in delivering BBC Wales’ content on BBC One and Two Wales, Nick Andrews, BBC Wales’ Head of Commissioning says: “We’re taking a responsible and proactive approach to the situation with the aim of supporting the creative industry during this difficult period. The independent sector provides most of BBC Wales’s programmes, outside of news and current affairs and some of our best-loved and most entertaining programmes, so it’s in all our interests to ensure the industry can continue to thrive once the current crisis is over.”

BBC Radio Cymru’s Editor, Rhuanedd Richards, says: “At this time, the people of Wales are turning to Radio Cymru to provide good entertainment, great company and a reason to be cheerful. With the support of the sector, and thanks to the overwhelming response of our listeners, we are determined to continue to deliver a great service with as much variety in our schedule as possible.”

The Editor of BBC Radio Wales, Colin Paterson, says: “The independent sector has a strong track record of rising to creative challenges - we need that now more than ever. Radio Wales has already adapted the daily schedule, responding to the changing needs of our audiences. Opening up our programmes to new ideas will allow us to go even further, supporting independent producers and lifting the spirits of our audience.”

In a special call with sector partners on Friday, BBC Wales’ commissioning team set out a range of measures being taken by the BBC to support the sector in Wales, including:

A new BBC Wales commissioning round launched this week looking for TV and radio programmes reflecting life during the current crisis and beyond. Given the seismic change in everyday life in Wales, the broadcaster is looking for content capturing the highs and inevitable lows of life during a pandemic as well as fresh, new ideas to bring us together as a nation or pure escapism

A doubling of the BBC Small Indie Fund (from £1m to £2m) - managed by BBC Content - to support smaller independent companies across the UK, who are most vulnerable at this time. BBC Wales and BBC network television commissioners will work together to identify suitable companies.

A one-off BBC Wales fund to turbo-charge TV development projects such as drama and comedy with an eye on future schedules beyond 2020

A radio development fund to support new programme ideas across Radio Wales and Radio Cymru which can be turned around quickly for broadcast over the next few months.

New short-form commissioning opportunities for BBC Wales social media platforms aimed at educating and entertaining audiences - particularly those under 45 years of age.

Increased investment in BBC Wales archive content for BBC iPlayer by acquiring programming from partners in the sector. The aim is to introduce a substantial archive of great Welsh content to iPlayer over the coming weeks and months.

A commitment by BBC Wales and network television to work closely with production companies on current projects which have been disrupted, to find supportive solutions wherever possible. This will include being flexible around delivery, and varying cash flow as appropriate on a title-by-title basis

BBC Wales has confirmed it is working in partnership with the Welsh Government’s new Creative Wales unit to identify opportunities for collaboration in supporting the wider sector.

While TV commissioning will be rolling process, the radio commissioning round will close on April 21 with ideas commissioned at the beginning of May. Nationwide restrictions on travel and social contacts will be a priority whilst considering the commissioning and delivery of any ideas.