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BBC announces move away from London in ‘biggest transformation in decades’

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The BBC has unveiled plans to “better reflect” all parts of the UK with more programmes made outside of London and a soap set in the North of England on the cards.

It will shift away from London over the next six years in what it bills as its “biggest transformation in decades”.

News and current affairs programmes like Newsnight will be presented from different UK bases and Radio 4’s Today show will be co-hosted from outside London for at least 100 episodes a year.

Viewers will see a “noticeable shift in portrayal of different parts of the UK in drama, comedy and factual” shows, the broadcaster pledged.

The BBC, which was accused of failing to understand the vote for Brexit, hopes the move changes the tone of its programmes and journalism.

The decision could also result in a BBC rival to ITV soap Coronation Street.

The broadcaster said it would air two new long-running drama series – one from the North of England and the other from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Viewers would see around 30 or more episodes a year of the soap or drama, with the exact format to be decided.

The BBC said that “major parts of BBC News” would “shift across the UK … ensuring we cover the stories that matter most to audiences and more effectively representing different voices and perspectives”.

As part of those plans, Radio 4 programme PM would also be presented from across the UK.

It comes after former Today programme host John Humphrys said the BBC had failed to understand the vote for Brexit.

And Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said “the BBC needs to be closer to, and understand the perspectives of, the whole of the United Kingdom and avoid providing a narrow urban outlook”.

Rob Burley, who created Politics Live in 2018,  said the changes to BBC News meant his role as editor of live political programmes had “closed”.

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