Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 17:03 UK

Network TV 'needs more of Wales'

Doctor Who's David Tennant and Torchwood's Eve Myles
Doctor Who and Torchwood 'do not portray life in Wales'

Welsh Culture Minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas has said that UK TV networks are failing to broadcast sufficient programmes from Wales.

The minister claimed that only 0.8% of network programmes are made in Wales.

He also said that despite recent successes such as Dr Who and Torchwood, there was a basic failure to portray Wales on the networks.

Mr Thomas said he was opposed to any piecemeal devolution of legal powers over broadcasting in Wales.

He told members of the assembly's broadcasting committee that the devolution of broadcasting had not been discussed by the Welsh Assembly Government's cabinet.

But he said that his own personal opinion was that he was opposed to devolving parts of broadcasting.

This, he added, would damage the industry in Wales.

Mr Thomas said that he would only be interested in the comprehensive devolution of broadcasting - something that he did not envisage in the short or medium term.


Mr Thomas told AMs that Wales was "not getting sufficient coverage on the network at the moment ... it's about 0.8%, which is worth about 23m to Wales."

He added that if this level of coverage increased to 3% it would be worth around 66m, and that a 5% share could be worth in the region of 100m.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM and Iona Jones, of S4C
The broadcasting committee heard evidence from S4C

He said that the two BBC Wales productions Dr Who and Torchwood were "encouraging", but these did not portay life in Wales, and that programme commissioners should ensure that UK-wide audiences had an understanding of important developments in Wales.

The minister also questioned the long-term prognosis for network produced programmes in Wales, demanding to know what kind of commisions might follow in the future.

Mr Thomas voiced concerns about digital switchover and the end of analogue broadcasting.

He said he feared that these services would not be universally available across Wales, and that it was "unacceptable that some people in Wales will get a poorer service than others ... we have to try to deal with those issues."

The chief executive of S4C, Iona Jones, later told the same committee that a deal had been signed with ITV Wales to provide a Welsh language service, with journalistic support, via the ITV Wales local website.

It is thought this service will expand existing Welsh language ITV Wales provision for S4C, allowing wider access via the internet.

AMs were also told that the future of the S4C2 channel, which broadcasts live coverage of assembly proceedings, is currently under joint review by S4C and BBC Wales.

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