Subscribe to the daily newsletter.

BBC regional TV news cancelled as strikes begin


The BBC’s regional TV bulletins and local radio and online output in England are expected to be disrupted by a 24-hour strike from 11am today (Wednesday March 15).

National Union of Journalists (NUJ) members working for BBC Local started the action this morning in response to plans to merge some local radio shows.

The BBC said it had “tried to minimise disruption as much as possible,” though its own website states that “the 13.30, 18.30 and 22:30 regional TV news programmes across England are not expected to be broadcast.”

Over on Twitter, BBC 5 Live broadcaster and podcaster Scott Bryan seemed to go one step further, apparently confirming that the regional shows would not go ahead:

Pickets have gathered at several of the BBC’s regional bases since the strike action began:

Shortly after 11:00 on Wednesday, several local radio stations broadcast syndicated programming. Others kept their own shows, although many used stand-in hosts, drawing accusations of “scab” labour that we might normally describe as taking us “back to the seventies.”

These are not normal times however, and in fact the language only really takes us back to last weekend, when several high-profile BBC presenters walked out in solidarity with suspended MOTD host Gary Lineker. 

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “It’s not simply a question about jobs and conditions for our members – they believe passionately in the value that quality local content brings to their audiences, journalism that is trusted and relied upon in the communities they serve.

The BBC told Prolific North in a statement: “We’re sorry that audiences will experience some changes to local tv and radio services in England as a result of industrial action by the National Union of Journalists. We have tried to minimise disruption as much as possible. 

“We are obviously disappointed that the strike has gone ahead. We have a plan to modernise local services across England  – including more news journalists and a stronger local online service – which will see no overall reduction in staffing levels or local funding. Our goal is a local service across tv, radio and online that delivers even greater value to communities.

“We will continue to engage with the trade union and do everything possible to minimise the impact on staff.” 

Programming in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is not affected.

Subscribe to the Prolific North Daily Newsletter Today!

Want all the latest content from Prolific North delivered direct to your inbox daily? Of course you do!

Related News