BBC boss hits back after broadcaster is accused of ‘cancelling’ Bristol

West of England mayor Dan Norris has accused the broadcaster of 'cancelling, erasing and deleting' the city
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A BBC boss has hit back at the West of England mayor Dan Norris after he accused the broadcaster of ‘cancelling’ Bristol.   

Steph Marshall, the BBC's senior head of content and production for the West, says the Bristol-based Natural History Unit (NHU) is ‘a jewel in the crown of the BBC’ and that it is ‘proud of the productions that many outstanding people from across the West create’.   

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This comes after mayor Norris accused the broadcaster of ‘cancelling, erasing and deleting' Bristol for omitting the name of the city in the credits of programmes produced by the NHU, launching a campaign to 'Credit Bristol Again'.  

But Marshall says the BBC is currently ‘revamping our end credits to better showcase Bristol’, which she says will ‘showcase more productions that Bristol has appeared in and produced, not fewer’.   

She told BristolWorld: “I would like to reassure your readers that contrary to what Dan Norris, the Mayor for the West of England, said in December (NHU) is a jewel in the crown of the BBC, and we are justifiably proud of the productions that many outstanding people from across the West create. 

“Award-winning series’ such as Blue Planet, Dynasties and, of course, the return of Planet Earth would not be possible without the hard work, dedication, and ingenuity of our local talent in the heart of Bristol.” 

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Marshall's statement comes after Norris criticised the BBC for not naming Bristol in the end credits of Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster, which aired on BBC One on New Year’s Day. 

In December, he said: “I am immensely proud of Bristol as the home of natural history programmes. But it feels as if Bristol is being cancelled, erased and deleted.

"When millions of people tune in to see national treasure David Attenborough on New Year’s Day they will be in the dark about our city’s role. 

“BBC natural history made in the West has entertained, engaged, and enthralled audiences for decades.

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"We’re globally successful and multi-award-winning in this area. I want our great region to be recognised for all the great work we do.

“Enough is enough. It’s time to credit Bristol again.” 

The mayor is calling for ‘Made in Bristol’ to appear in the end credits of show produced by the NHU at the BBC’s base on Whiteladies Road in Clifton. Until 2016, the name of the city appeared in the credits. 

But Marshall said new end credits will show how proud the BBC is of its Bristol work and that these have been in the making for some time.

She said: “We are currently revamping our end credits to better showcase Bristol, and key regions of the West, whenever a programme is filmed or produced there. 

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“This will include a map of the whole of the UK, highlighting key counties, cities, towns, and villages where footage was captured.

"It will also highlight the production companies that helped create the programme, including those like the Natural History Unit in Bristol. 

“The result will showcase more productions that Bristol has appeared in and produced, not fewer. 

“This is part of an already ongoing effort to better represent and reflect our audiences across the UK, and the amazing contribution local communities make – including all those in the West.

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"This redesign of our end credits has been well underway for some time.” 

She added: “Like Dan, we share a strong passion for Bristol and the West of England, and it was recently found that, because of the BBC’s commitment to Bristol, employment in the creative industries in the region grew by 74 per cent between 2015 and 2020. 

“Bristol is an important creative powerhouse, teeming with a vibrant and creative identity and long may that continue.”

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