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An invisible nation? The BBC and english-language arts television in Wales

Genders, Amy

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Authors

Amy Genders Amy.Genders@uwe.ac.uk
Wallscourt Fellow in Screen Business and Creative Enterprise



Abstract

The history of the BBC’s regional programming is one of perennial tension between representing and reflecting the diversity of the UK’s nations and regions, and what is often perceived as an unrelenting ‘metropolitan centricity’. Through charting the mixed fortunes of English-language arts television for and about Wales, this article examines how the narrow range of cultural representation available on BBC television is situated within a PSB strategy that continues to regard regional arts as inherently ‘provincial’ and as such, inferior to that of London. The data and analysis presented derives from a broader study based on twenty-one qualitative interviews conducted with key figures directly involved in the production and commissioning of arts content across the BBC’s television, radio and online services. The accounts provided by these interviewees are also contextualised by analysis of broadcasting policy and internal BBC documents, including the BBC’s annual year books and reports. The article concludes by arguing that if the BBC is to reflect more adequately the true diversity of the UK’s nations and regions, and the distinct arts and cultures constituted within them, it must start by devolving its commissioning powers more equally. Rather than merely shifting centralisation from London to allocated ‘centres of excellence’ such as Scotland in the case of arts broadcasting, an effective public service arts proposition should strive to give greater autonomy and agency to the nations and regions so that they might build their arts strategies in their own image as opposed to that of the capital.

Citation

Genders, A. (2019). An invisible nation? The BBC and english-language arts television in Wales. Journal of British Cinema and Television, 16(4), 409-428. https://doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2019.0492

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 12, 2019
Online Publication Date Sep 30, 2019
Publication Date Oct 1, 2019
Deposit Date Jul 10, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 10, 2019
Journal Journal of British Cinema and Television
Print ISSN 1743-4521
Electronic ISSN 1755-1714
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 4
Pages 409-428
DOI https://doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2019.0492
Keywords public service broadcasting, BBC, arts broadcasting, television, Wales, nations and regions, provincialism
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/1492933
Publisher URL https://www.euppublishing.com/loi/jbctv
Additional Information Additional Information : This article has been accepted for publication by Edinburgh University Press in Journal of British Cinema and Television.

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Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication by Edinburgh University Press in Journal of British Cinema and Television.






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