BBC Cymru Wales


BBC Cymru Wales is a division of the BBC, and the national broadcaster for Wales.[1] Established in 1964, BBC Cymru Wales is based in Cardiff and directly employs some 1,200 people to produce a range of programmes for television, radio and online services in both English and Welsh.[2]

TV stationsBBC One Wales
BBC Two Wales
TV transmittersBlaenplwyf
Carmel
Llanddona
Moel-y-Parc
Preseli
Wenvoe
Radio stationsBBC Radio Wales
BBC Radio Cymru
HeadquartersBBC Wales headquarters,
Cardiff
AreaWales
Key people
Rhodri Talfan Davies (Director of BBC Cymru Wales)
Launch date
9 February 1964; 56 years ago (1964-02-09)
Official website
bbc.co.uk/wales
LanguageEnglish/Welsh

BBC Cymru Wales operates two TV channels (BBC One Wales, BBC Two Wales) and two radio stations (BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru). The total budget for BBC Cymru Wales (including S4C's £76 million) is £151 million, £31 million of which is for BBC-produced television productions.[3]

Services


Television

BBC Cymru Wales operates two television services, BBC One Wales and BBC Two Wales, which can opt out of the main network feed of BBC One and BBC Two in London to broadcast regional programming. These two channels broadcast a variety of programmes in English, including the flagship news programme BBC Wales Today which broadcasts several bulletins throughout the day including the main evening programme.

In addition to these two channels, BBC Cymru Wales is required to provide programmes in Welsh, which it supplies to the Welsh channel S4C free of charge using the BBC Cymru brand.[4] These programmes include a Welsh news service Newyddion, covering Welsh, general UK and international news, and a soap opera Pobol y Cwm, the longest running television soap opera made by the BBC.

Radio

BBC Cymru Wales operates two radio stations covering the entire country. BBC Radio Wales is the English language network, broadcasting local programmes for approximately 20 hours a day and simulcasting the BBC World Service during the station's down time. BBC Radio Cymru broadcasts Welsh programmes for approximately the same time covering a wide variety of genres. While off air, Radio Cymru simulcasts BBC Radio 5 Live's overnight programme.

Online and interactive

BBC Cymru Wales operates its own mini-site on BBC Online as well as providing news and features for other areas of BBC Online. In addition, news stories are provided for the BBC Red Button interactive service.

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

BBC Cymru Wales employs a full-time orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW), who give concerts in Cardiff, Swansea and across Wales. The majority of the orchestra's concerts are recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru. Since January 2009 the administrative base of the NOW has been the BBC Hoddinott Hall, in the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

History


The first broadcast in Wales was on 13 February 1923[5] from the radio station 5WA, later to become part of the BBC Regional Programme and in 1939 the BBC Home Service. During this time, the region was served from bases around Wales. During World War II, the regional services all ceased and broadcast the Home Service from London, although some Welsh content was included.[5] The BBC's Bangor base played host to the BBC Variety Department during the war, although this fact was never officially announced.[5]

Following the end of the Second World War, the BBC Home Service continued its regional opt-outs, including an opt-out service for Wales. This opt-out continued after the change from the Home Service to Radio 4 and paved the way for two full-time radio services - BBC Radio Cymru in 1977, followed a year later by BBC Radio Wales.[6]

The first television signals in Wales came on 15 August 1952 from the newly constructed Wenvoe transmitter. The transmitter itself broadcast the national BBC Television service. Wales would gain some significance when, in 1957, the BBC West region from Bristol was established including a daily five-minute news bulletin for Wales, followed five years later by the launch of the daily magazine programme, Wales Today.[5]

Broadcasting House, Cardiff

The launch of BBC Wales on 9 February 1964 provided a specific television service for the country. The new service was heavily promoted (proclaiming that Wales gets its very own TV service in 1964!) with animated promos using the sound of Welsh choirs to explain about interference from the mountains.[7] Two years later in 1966, BBC Cymru Wales' new headquarters at Broadcasting House in Cardiff opened and the first colour broadcast for Wales followed in 1970.[6]

BBC Cymru Wales outside broadcast vehicle, 2009

Prior to 1982, BBC Cymru Wales on television provided programmes in both English and Welsh, with the news programme Heddiw and the long-running serial Pobol y Cwm figuring among the key output. However, this changed with the launch of S4C on 1 November 1982 as all Welsh-language programming on both the BBC and the ITV contractor HTV was transferred to the new channel. As part of a guaranteed ten hours a week of BBC-produced programming, Pobol y Cwm switched to the new channel while a newly expanded news service, Newyddion, was launched.

Into the late 1990s, BBC Cymru Wales continued to expand their services. The first web pages for Wales began to appear on BBC Online in 1997, including a variety of features surrounding programming, schedules, community events and other stories.[6][8] The following year, BBC Wales gained additional air time through the use of a late prime-time to midnight opt-out from new digital channel BBC Choice.[6] This lasted until opt-outs ended on the channel in 2001; subsequently BBC Wales opted out of the BBC Two prime-time schedule on digital platforms to broadcast BBC 2W.[6][9] This latter service closed on 2 January 2009 – prior to the digital switchover which would have ceased separate broadcasting on analogue and digital.[10]

Expansion in the number of drama productions handled by BBC Cymru Wales since 2011 has resulted in the construction and opening on a new studio centre in Cardiff.[11]

In August 2013, it was announced that Broadcasting House and Ty Oldfield (Oldfield House), opposite, was for sale, with plans to move to a new a purpose-built headquarters in the city centre. The BBC attributed the decision to "ageing infrastructure at Llandaff" and considered sites including Central Square, land south of Cardiff Central railway station, and land between the Senedd and Atradius.[12] In 2014, it was confirmed that Broadcasting House would be demolished and turned into 400 residential units.[13] The BBC confirmed in 2015 that Central Square would be the location of their new headquarters building[14] and began to move out of Llandaff studios in 2019.

The new BBC Wales headquarters building opened in 2020, culminating in the building's first audio broadcast on 15 July by channel announcer Leanne Thomas.[15] This was followed by the first radio broadcasts, by BBC Radio Cymru 2 host Daniel Glyn on the 25 July[16] and by Radio Wales host Owen Money on the 31 July.[17] The building's first video broadcast was made by reporter Alex Jennings as part of a piece to air on the afternoon broadcast of Wales Today.[18]

Studios


BBC Cymru Wales building in Bangor, Gwynedd.

The current headquarters of BBC Cymru Wales is located within Broadcasting House, Llandaff, Cardiff.[6] The studio centre was built in 1966 and opened the following year as a purpose built location to house the expanding presence of the BBC in Cardiff.[6] The centre contained studios for the news programmes, radio space including that used by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales until 2009, and another studio for drama productions constructed in the mid-1970s.[19]

Previously, the BBC in Wales had been located in a converted chapel in Broadway, Cardiff and in temporary accommodation at BBC Broadcasting Centre on the banks of the River Taff.[5] While these studios played host to drama, entertainment and regional programmes, the site was still not ideal. The site only held two studios, both located in the church, and the ability to broadcast film was not installed on the site for several years; film played into programmes from a telecine machine in Bristol or London and film processing for news was carried out by a firm called Park Pictures in Cardiff until BBC processing was installed in Stacey Road.

BBC Cymru Wales' Roath Lock studio complex.

The expansion of BBC Cymru Wales' productions in recent years has resulted in investment for new studios. To gain extra capacity, BBC Wales invested into Upper Boat Studios in Pontypridd to house several productions, notable centred around Doctor Who and its sister productions Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Despite the investment in Upper Boat, the studio complex soon became too small to house new productions being moved to the BBC Nations.[20] As part of this decision, it was decided in March 2009 that BBC productions Casualty and Crimewatch were to relocate from their former homes at BBC Bristol network production unit to Cardiff.[20]

To house these new programmes, a new 170,000 sq ft studio complex was built, designed to house the productions of Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Casualty, Upstairs Downstairs, and Pobol y Cwm. Located in Porth Teigr, Cardiff Bay, Roath Lock Studios gained permission in January 2009[21] and construction began in June 2010[22] with the building topping out in February 2011. Production began at the site in autumn 2011[21] and the site was officially opened on 12 March 2012.[23] As a result, Pobol y Cwm moved from the Llandaff studios and Doctor Who moved from Upper Boat studios to the new complex, with Casualty joining them at the site. Despite being designed to house them, the site never housed the Sarah Jane Adventures, following the death of main actress Elisabeth Sladen in 2011, or Upstairs Downstairs, following the series' cancellation.

It was announced in August 2013 that the Llandaff studios would close in a few years and that the headquarters of BBC Cymru Wales would subsequently move to a new site.[24] In June 2014, it was announced that the new headquarters would be on the site of Cardiff Central bus station and will house 1,000 staff and will have around half the floor space of the Llandaff base with 70% less studio space, as a result of the opening of Roath Lock.[25] Staff started to move into the new headquarters in October 2019,[26]

In addition to these properties, BBC Cymru Wales also has properties in Aberystwyth, Bangor, Carmarthen, Newtown, Penrhyndeudraeth, Swansea and Wrexham and at BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, home to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Television productions


BBC Wales reporter Craig Duggan conducting an interview in Puerto Madryn, Argentina, for the 150th anniversary of Y Wladfa.

BBC Cymru Wales produces local and networked programming for broadcast in Wales and the rest of the UK. In recent years, its drama output has been particularly successful, including the 2005 revival of the classic science-fiction series Doctor Who and its spin-offs Torchwood (2006) and The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007). In addition, BBC Wales commissions other drama output for the BBC network from independent producers, such as Life on Mars (200607).

In-house productions

The following productions were created by BBC Cymru Wales for broadcast in Wales:

  • Wales Today (1962–present)
  • Week In Week Out (1964–present)
  • Pobol y Cwm (1974–present)
  • Ffeil (1995–present)
  • Scrum V (1995–present)
  • Newyddion (1982–present)
  • Hospital 24/7 (2009–present)
  • BBC Wales Live (2019–present)
  • Politics Wales (2019–present)
  • BBC Wales Investigates

Former productions

In addition to programming for Wales, networked productions from BBC Cymru Wales include:

Independent commissions

In addition to the in-house commissions, BBC Wales also commissions other independent companies to produce programmes. These include:

For Wales:

For the UK:

Radio productions


See also


References


  1. "BBC - What we do - About BBC Cymru Wales". BBC - What we do - About BBC Cymru Wales. BBC. p. "BBC Cymru Wales is the nation's broadcaster". Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  2. "Rhodri Talfan Davies, director, BBC Cymru Wales". About BBC Cymru Wales. BBC. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/psb-review-3/responses/Scottish_Government.pdf
  4. "About BBC Wales". BBC. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  5. "Our History 1923-1966". About BBC Cymru Wales. BBC Cymru Wales. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  6. "History of the BBC in Wales". About BBC Cymru Wales. BBC Cymru Wales. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  7. "History of BBC Wales". TVARK. Archived from the original on 20 January 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  8. "BBC Wales Online (1998)". Internet Archive/BBC Cymru Wales. Archived from the original on 11 July 1998. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  9. "BBC Wales launches new channel". BBC News. 29 October 2001. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  10. "Up to 155 jobs to go at BBC Wales". BBC News. 18 October 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  11. Moore, Rowan (25 March 2012). "Roath Lock studios, Cardiff – review". The Observer. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  12. "BBC Wales to locate its new £170m headquarters at Cardiff's Capital Square scheme". Wales Online. 9 June 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  13. "Closedown: Broadcasting House Llandaff". Living Magazines Cardiff. 2 April 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  14. "New headquarters for BBC Cymru Wales expected to be confirmed shortly at heart of Central Square scheme". Wales Online. 30 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  15. "A big moment behind the scenes earlier! Watch the BBC News at Six being introduced live for the very first time from our new home in Cardiff Central Square". Twitter. 15 July 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  16. "The first radio broadcast from Central Square, Cardiff goes live on @BBCRadioCymru2 and @BBCRadioCymru". Twitter. 25 July 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  17. "A big moment behind the scenes earlier! Owen Money broadcast the first ever BBC Radio Wales show from our new home in Cardiff Central Square". Twitter. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  18. Jennings, Alex (20 August 2020). "Battled the wind a little for tonight's live report but it was exciting for 2 reasons..." Twitter. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  19. Kempton, Martin. "Rest of Britain today". TV Studio History. Archived from the original on 8 June 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  20. "BBC evicts top shows from London". BBC News. 15 October 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  21. Brown, Maggie (8 October 2010). "BBC Cardiff drama village takes shape". Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  22. "Work starts on BBC Wales drama village in Cardiff Bay". BBC News. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  23. Palit, Nick (12 March 2012). "BBC Roath Lock studios: Official opening in Cardiff Bay". BBC News. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  24. "BBC's Cardiff headquarters to relocate". Ariel. BBC. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  25. "BBC Wales HQ to move to Cardiff city centre". Ariel. BBC. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  26. "BBC Wales staff start move to new Cardiff headquarters". BBC. Retrieved 28 October 2019.