Monday, 21 August 2017

Welsh life seldom depicted by BBC Wales, says content chief

 Sian Gwynedd

There is more coverage in the media about the lack of in-depth portrayals of Wales on BBC TV.  The issue has been highlighted in a discussion at the recent National Eisteddfod.  This time the BBC speaker has been Sian Gwynedd, saying very similar things to Rhodri Talfan Davies a few months ago.  It;s all very well for senior  BBC figures to be making these sorts of points -- but hang on a minute.  Aren't they the people creating the BBC Wales policy and implementing it?   They are effectively criticising their own shortcomings.   Or is it all much more complicated than that?  (It usually is!!)  Maybe they have their plans and they want to implement them, but are being held back all the time by restrictions placed on them by BBC HQ in London?  Watch this space...........


Wales not well-represented on BBC television, says content chief

9th August 2017

There hasn’t been enough content depicting Wales on the corporations’ UK-wide channels, according to BBC Wales’ Head of Content.

Although many BBC programmes were made in Wales, such as Dr Who and Casualty, Welsh life was very seldom depicted in them, she said.

She added that the BBC had a duty to present the history of Wales to the people of the country, but also to a UK-wide audience.

Sian Gwynedd was speaking at an event organised by Cardiff University at the National Eisteddfod today.

Presenter Angharad Mair, who was also on the panel, said that there was a tendency to present the Welsh people like “monkeys in a zoo” on programmes presented by outsiders.

“Not only are we not depicted enough, but I’m also disappointed with the way we’re depicted,” she said.

“We don’t complain enough,” she added, noting that the BBC went to greater lengths to placate their audience in Scotland.

Not fielding presenters who had an intimate understanding of Welsh culture betrayed a lack of confidence in ourselves, she said.

Sian Gwynedd said that there had recently been an increase in the use of Welsh presenters, such as Nigel Owens, fronting UK-wide programmes.


These are three of the key drama people working for BBC Wales:  Nick Andrews, Sian Gwynedd, and Simon Winstone

Nick Andrews
Head of Commissioning

Nick leads BBC Wales commissioning across television, iPlayer and interactive platforms. He is part of the Commissioning Group which brings radio, television and online together for the first time to share cross-platform ideas and seek out bigger, bolder content.

Head of Development at BBC Wales from 2015-2016, he previously had a wide-ranging career. His impressive track record of winning network commissions includes The First World War From Above and Scott’s Hut for BBC One, BBC Two’s Operation Crossbow and he contributed to the development of BBC Three’s The Call Centre. Nick also led planning for BBC Wales’ season of programming to mark the Dylan Thomas centenary.

He is also an award-winning producer and director. His documentary Roger: Genocide Baby won him the BAFTA Cymru Breakthrough award and it was followed by another BBC Three film, I Woke Up Gay. He has also worked for Radio 1, BBC Radio Wales and as a director on The One Show.

Sian Gwynedd
Head of Content Production

Sian is responsible for driving collaboration and development across the production community as well as a wide portfolio of responsibilities. She leads on the development of the partnership with S4C, an industry-leading approach to production talent, on-screen diversity and BBC Wales’ network radio output.

Sian was Head of Welsh Language Programmes and Services from 2012 – 2016 and Editor of BBC Radio Cymru 2006-2012.

Sian has a background as a journalist and joined the BBC in 1994 as a researcher with Radio Cymru news. She was appointed Editor of Newyddion in 2003. During the past 20 years she has worked in Wales as a journalist for newspapers and magazines, and as a reporter and producer for a number of radio and television news programmes. Originally from Bala she was educated at Ysgol y Berwyn, Y Bala and Newnham College, Cambridge, where she read Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic and History.


Simon Winstone
Head of Drama - Wales

BBC Studios, the BBC’s main TV production arm, has appointed Simon Winstone as Head of Drama - Wales, to lead its world-class drama series and serials business, based at Roath Lock in Cardiff.
BBC Studios, that launched as a commercial subsidiary in April 2017, produces a raft of multi-award-winning drama in Wales, including Doctor Who, War And Peace, Casualty and Russell T Davies’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Simon will be responsible for overseeing the drama series and serials team and productions based in Cardiff, building on their creative success and seeking out new opportunities, as BBC Studios can now make programmes for other broadcasters and channels in the UK and internationally, as well as the BBC.

He joins BBC Studios from Red Planet Pictures, where his roles included Head of Drama (Wales), Head of Development and most recently Executive Producer. His impressive credits include Death In Paradise, Crash, The Nativity, By Any Means, The Passing Bells, Dickensian and Hooten And The Lady.

Nick Betts, Director of Scripted, BBC Studios says: “Simon is a highly talented and experienced creative, who has already contributed to the success of two of BBC Studios’ biggest dramas over the years - EastEnders and Doctor Who. I am delighted to be welcoming him to BBC Studios at this exciting time.”  Simon reports directly to Nick Betts.


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