BBC will not transfer work from Glasgow headquarters, corporation confirms

The BBC has decided not to transfer control of a studio from its Pacific Quay site in Glasgow to a London-based arm of the broadcaster.

The BBC had been looking at transferring studios based in Glasgow to a London-based subsidiary.
The BBC had been looking at transferring studios based in Glasgow to a London-based subsidiary.

Business director Mark Taylor confirmed that control of Studio A will not be moved to its BBC Studioworks subsidiary after bosses decided it “made the best financial and operational sense” to remain in Scotland.

The broadcaster is also exploring how to use another facility in the city’s Kelvin Hall as part of its “ambitions of increasing production activity in Scotland”, Mr Taylor told staff.

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The decision has been welcomed by the Scottish Government and the Bectu trade union, with Culture Secretary Angus Robertson declaring that “the future for TV and film production in Scotland looks bright”.

Holyrood’s Culture Committee had previously raised concerns about any possible transfer of the Pacific Quay studios, with particular warnings about the impact on jobs, training and skills in the sector.

But in an email to the corporation’s staff, Mr Taylor confirmed that the options for how the Glasgow studios were managed had been under review and had reached the decision to continue running them as part of BBC Scotland.

He wrote: “This review work is now complete and I wanted to let you know it has been agreed that Studio A at Pacific Quay will continue to be run as part of BBC Scotland.

“The detailed analysis we undertook showed this made the best financial and operational sense.

“A second stage of work is now underway to look at how we could work with the proposed new facility at Kelvin Hall to help our overall ambitions of increasing production activity in Scotland.

“The return of the Weakest Link to Studio A later this year, alongside new titles like Bridge of Lies and the Tournament, show the breadth and quality of the work that we, as a key part of the creative sector in Scotland, can deliver.”

Responding to the news, Mr Robertson said: “This is excellent news for screen production and decision-making in Scotland.

“I am pleased for everyone at BBC Scotland Pacific Quay and very glad that the constructive dialogue with staff and BBC Director General, Tim Davie, led to the best decision.

“We expect the BBC to genuinely invest in the creative economy of Scotland and in discussions I held with the Director General last week he said he is keen to support the expansion of screen and broadcasting capacity in Scotland.

“The future for TV and film production in Scotland looks bright and we must all support its growth.”

Paul McManus, an official for the Bectu media and entertainment trade union, said: “We are delighted that following pressure from Bectu, the Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Government, BBC bosses have seen sense and decided to retain production capabilities at Pacific Quay.

“As we warned, the proposed transfer of control to BBC Studioworks would have had a detrimental impact, not just on Pacific Quay, but jobs and skills in the wider Scottish production sector.

“We will now focus on working with the BBC on increasing production activity and bolstering Scotland’s thriving creative sector.”

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