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BBC underlines commitment to North East

The BBC Director-General has re-iterated the corporation’s commitment to the the North East.

Tim Davie was speaking at the recording of Radio 4’s Reith Lecture in Sunderland.

“We’ve done our Memorandum of Understanding with the North East Screen Investment Partnership, and committed to investing at least £25 million here over five years. We’re working with 12 local authorities and three mayoral authorities to work on a plan to fund network TV production, film production in the region,” he explained.

“In the last two years, we’ve had six new North East commissions – like Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes, and we’re just warming up our engines.

“We’ve seen a £500k development fund for new writing, to bring new people in. We’ve had the first City of Comedy festival held in Newcastle and our Festival of Proms from Gateshead, which was a triumph.

“Helen Munson, the BBC’s Daytime Commissioner, is based in the North East. And we’ve got the University of Sunderland’s Chrissy Cameron and Newcastle’s Chris Howard presenting BBC Radio 1’s early mornings.

“In the coming months we’ll also have our new dedicated online news service for Sunderland and Wearside.

“We’ve got a brand-new product and technology hub at our refurbished base in Newcastle and committed to 70 new roles there which is fantastic. We’ve got a 15% increase in our headcount here, and we’re growing.”

Davie also spoke about the new Northern Creative Corridor, which was announced earlier this week and sees leading figures in the creative industries coming together with local leaders to promote the region.

“We have announced with Andy Haldane, the Royal Society of Arts and the Bank of England, the Northern Creative Corridor Charter. This means getting everyone together across the north of England to tell those stories and develop the economy,” he continued.

“If we get the creative industries in the North, in terms of contribution to the economy, at the same level as London, we would be creating hundreds of millions of pounds worth of economic value. And the jobs will be better paid than average and more interesting.”

Nayeema Chowdhury, Head of Delivery in the BBC Product Group, spoke about the BBC’s new North East tech hub: 

“Our Product and Technology Groups support the breadth of the BBC’s digital products and services, including iPlayer and Sounds.

“The hub has opened in the newly refurbished Barrack Road Broadcasting Centre, with a fantastic purpose-built space to accommodate digital and agile ways of working.

“The intention behind the hub is to tap into the thriving tech industry here in the North East and attract local talent. We’re continuing to grow with roles currently available for Product Data Managers and Software Engineers.”

Davie is pictured with Dragons’ Den’s Sara Davies who was a guest at the Reith Lecture.

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