BBC English Regions

Last updated

BBC English Regions
TV transmittersTerrestrial, cable and BBC UK regional TV on satellite
Radio stations BBC Local Radio
Headquarters The Mailbox, Birmingham, England
Nation England
Regions BBC East
BBC East Midlands
BBC London
BBC North East and Cumbria
BBC North West
BBC South
BBC South East
BBC South West
BBC West
BBC West Midlands
BBC Yorkshire
BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire
Key people
Helen Thomas, Director of BBC England (2018 - date)
Official website

BBC English Regions is the division of the BBC responsible for local and regional television, radio, web, and teletext services in England, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. It is one of the BBC's four "nations" – the others being BBC Cymru Wales, BBC Northern Ireland, and BBC Scotland. [1]


The division is made up of 12 regions. Many of the names of these regions are similar to those of the official government Regions of England, but the areas covered are often significantly different, being determined by terrestrial transmission coverage rather than administrative boundaries. [2]

BBC English Regions has its headquarters at The Mailbox in Birmingham (West Midlands) and additional regional television centres in Norwich, Nottingham, Television Centre (London), Newcastle, MediaCityUK (Manchester), Southampton, Tunbridge Wells, Plymouth, Bristol, Leeds, and Kingston upon Hull as well as local radio stations based at 43 locations across England. [3]

Overall, the division produces over 70% of the BBC's domestic television and radio output hours, for about 7% of the licence fee. [4]

Since April 2009, the English Regions division has been aligned with the BBC News department to "maximise co-operation in the BBC's news operations". [5]


The four regions

The current BBC English Regions division was the product of the controversial Broadcasting in the Seventies report – a radical review of the BBC's network radio and non-metropolitan broadcasting structure – published on 10 July 1969. [6]

Before this the structure of regional broadcasting in England had remained virtually unchanged since the late 1920s, when the establishment of four regional radio transmission stations covering England had led to a regional structure on similar lines. BBC North was based in Manchester and covered the area from Cheshire and Sheffield northwards, BBC Midlands and East Anglia was based in Birmingham covering a swathe of central England from the Potteries to Norfolk, and BBC South and West was based in Bristol covering the area south and west of a line from Gloucester to Brighton. The London area, though it had regional transmission infrastructure of its own, produced only national programming and wasn't considered to be a region as it acted as the sustaining service for the other regions.

These regions (alongside the national regions BBC Scotland, BBC Wales and BBC Northern Ireland that performed a similar role outside England) were well-suited to delivering the pre-war BBC Regional Programme and the post-war BBC Home Service that replaced it. By the 1960s, though, the growth of television, the birth of the more locally based ITV franchises in 1955 and the development of smaller BBC Local Radio stations (made possible by the development of FM radio) were making the structure look increasingly anachronistic.

Broadcasting in the Seventies

The effect of Broadcasting in the Seventies was to separate the two different roles of regional BBC offices into different organisations: [7] [8]

Each of the production centres also had network radio studios (BBC Birmingham, for instance, producing The Archers ) plus a small television news studio, the latter to enable local (opt out) programming.

As a result of the latter, Plymouth-based BBC South West and Southampton-based BBC South were split from BBC West in Bristol; Norwich-based BBC East separated from BBC Midlands in Birmingham; a new smaller BBC North West was created from the existing Manchester-based region, with the old BBC North name being taken by the newly created region based in Leeds; [11] and the existing Newcastle-based BBC North East separated from the old BBC North Region in this process.

In addition London and the surrounding area was finally recognised as a region with the creation of BBC South East although it wasn't to get a dedicated regional programme of its own until 1982. [12]

These new regions produced local news programmes and opt-outs on television, but regional radio programming on the BBC Home Service was to be replaced by BBC Local Radio. [13] The report stated that the local radio experiment, started in 1967 "has proved that there is a demand for local radio" and that the BBC should "put forward to the Postmaster General a provisional scheme for expanding our local network to about forty stations".

Current structure

This structure has largely survived since the 1970s. Local news services were developed on Ceefax from 1997 and were extended onto the web in 1999. The decreasing costs of television production and improving technology also enabled the gradual development of even smaller regions. In 1991, BBC East Midlands was finally created in Nottingham, [14] BBC London (separated from BBC South East) became a region in 2001 [15] and BBC North was split into BBC Yorkshire and BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire in 2004 [16] – with the new millennium seeing several BBC regions moving into new premises. In the East, South and South West regions, sub-regional opt-outs during local news programmes have also been created (similar to those on ITV regional news programmes), based respectively in Cambridge, Oxford and Jersey. In total, the BBC has produced the regional news bulletins for London, the East, South East, South, South West, West, the West and East Midlands, and the North West regions of England, with the Look North branding for Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and the North East and Cumbria, with national bulletins for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. All follow the national UK-wide BBC News bulletins.

See also

Related Research Articles

ITV Central

ITV Central, previously known as Central Independent Television and Carlton Central, ITV1 for Central England and commonly referred to as simply Central, is the Independent Television franchisee for the English Midlands. It was created following the restructuring of ATV and began broadcasting on 1 January 1982. The service is owned and operated by ITV plc under the licensee of ITV Broadcasting Limited. Historically Central made a major contribution to the ITV network schedule- especially in entertainment and drama - but today its main responsibility is the regional news service.

BBC West Midlands

BBC Midlands is the BBC English Region producing local radio and web content for Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, the West Midlands, and Worcestershire. Although the region has been unofficially called BBC West Midlands since BBC East Midlands became a separate region in 1991, it retains the BBC Midlands name and brand, with its history dating from 1927, for public use.

BBC Home Service British radio broadcasting service from 1939 to 1967

The BBC Home Service was a British national radio station that broadcast from 1939 until 1967, when it was renamed BBC Radio 4.

BBC Birmingham

BBC Birmingham is one of the oldest regional arms of the BBC, located in Birmingham. It was the first region outside London to start broadcasting both the corporation's radio and television transmissions, the latter from the Sutton Coldfield television transmitter.

Heart West Midlands regional radio station

Heart West Midlands is a regional radio station owned and operated by Global as part of the Heart network. It broadcasts to the West Midlands from studios in Birmingham.

BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, sometimes abbreviated to BBC Yorks & Lincs, is the name for the BBC's twelfth English Region, based in Kingston upon Hull and created from the division of the former BBC North region, based in Leeds. The primary transmitter is located at Belmont and covers East Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and north west Norfolk.

<i>BBC Look North</i> (Yorkshire and North Midlands)

BBC Look North is the BBC's regional television news service for West, South and North Yorkshire and northern parts of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The service is produced and broadcast from the BBC Broadcasting Centre at St. Peter's Square in Leeds with district newsrooms based in Bradford, Sheffield and York.

The history of ITV, the United Kingdom "Independent Television" commercial network, goes back to 1955.

BBC North Operational business division of the BBC

BBC North (Group) is an operational business division of the BBC.

BBC Yorkshire

BBC Yorkshire is one of the English regions of the BBC. It was formed from the division of the former BBC North region into BBC Yorkshire and BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, based in Kingston upon Hull.

BBC North East and Cumbria

BBC North East and Cumbria is the BBC English Region covering County Durham, Northumberland, Teesside, Tyne and Wear, Cumbria and parts of North Yorkshire.

BBC North West Region of the British Broadcasting Corporation

BBC North West is the BBC English Region serving Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Derbyshire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man.

BBC East Midlands

BBC East Midlands is the BBC English Region covering Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, South Kesteven in Lincolnshire and some northern parts of Northamptonshire.

BBC East

BBC East is the BBC English Region serving Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and northern Buckinghamshire.

BBC West BBC English Region serving Bristol, most of Wiltshire, northern and eastern Somerset, most of Gloucestershire and northwestern Dorset

BBC West is the BBC English Region serving Bristol, most of Wiltshire, northern and eastern Somerset, most of Gloucestershire and north Dorset.

The BBC broadcasts all of the BBC One and BBC Two regional variations on digital satellite television from the SES Astra satellites at 28.2° east; providing local news programmes and other regional programming with local continuity and presentation for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The BBC refers to the whole UK regional network as "BBC Nations and Regions".

The city of Birmingham, England is home to an evolving media industry, including news and magazine publishers, radio and television networks, film production and specialist educational media training. The city's first newspaper was published in 1732.

This is a timeline of the history of the British television network ITV.

This is a timeline of the history of regional news on the British television network ITV.


  1. "BBC Nations & Regions". BBC Press Office. August 2004. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  2. "BBC English Regions". BBC Commissioning. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  3. "English Regions". BBC Press Office. Archived from the original on 29 March 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  4. "Information About BBC English Regions". BBC English Regions. Archived from the original on 20 March 2007. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  5. "BBC promotes role of national and regional broadcasting in leadership restructuring". BBC Press Office. 7 October 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  6. The BBC Story – 1960s (page 6) BBC
  7. Broadcasting in the Seventies. British Broadcasting Corporation. 1969. ISBN   0-563-08562-2.
  8. "Broadcasting in the Seventies" . Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  9. "House of Lords – BBC Charter Review – Minutes of Evidence". UK Parliament. 22 November 2005. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  10. "The future of Pebble Mill". BECTU. 7 May 1999. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  11. "Look North is 35!". BBC Bradford and West Yorkshire. 25 March 2003.
  12. "BBC South East News". The TV Room +. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  13. "Frequency Finder UK – History of radio transmission". Archived from the original on 30 April 2007. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  14. Broadcasting in the Seventies was a document concerned mainly with radio reorganisation and funding – having only one and one half pages devoted to television and the regions (on pages 7 and 8) – where it had stated, back in 1969, that "in the longer term, as money permits, we would hope to set up further centres, with the one in the East Midlands as a first priority".
  15. "BBC South East – News". TV Ark. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  16. "BBC – BBC buildings". Archived from the original on 22 March 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2007.

Further reading