Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 15:14 UK

News from Wales to be monitored

John Barrowman and James Marsters
Torchwood is one of BBC Wales' 'significant success,' the review says

A watchdog for viewers and listeners in Wales says it will continue to monitor the way Welsh news is handled by the BBC's network news coverage.

The Audience Council for Wales welcomed the review ordered by the BBC Trust on network news coverage of Welsh matters.

But in its third annual review, it highlighted the lack of availability of a digital radio signal in some areas.

It also said programmes such as Doctor Who and Torchwood were among BBC Wales' "significant" network successes.

Other programmes included Young Musician of the Year and the radio and television output of Coal House at War, said the review.

The 11-member council was set up in January 2007 to represent the views of people in Wales to the BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body. It replaced the Broadcasting Council for Wales.

During the year under review, the council met 11 times and hosted seven public meetings, in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Llanwnnen, Aberystwyth, two meetings (with different age groups) in Bangor and two in Cardiff.

Among the points made by the council this year were:

  • It strongly welcomed the review commissioned by the BBC Trust on BBC Network News' reporting on matters in Wales including issues devolved to the National Assembly and it will continue to monitor Network coverage of news items from Wales.
  • The council continued to draw the trust's attention to the problems of availability of DAB in Wales, especially the fact that Radio Cymru and Radio Wales are not available on DAB to half the population and about 70% of Welsh speakers are unable to receive BBC Radio Cymru on DAB.
  • The council again emphasised the importance of ensuring that the UK sees and hears much more of modern Wales in BBC Network output and has commissioned its own research on portrayal from the University of Glamorgan, Screening the Nation: Wales and Landmark Television, which will be published later this year.
  • The council welcomed the Network Supply Review on TV production outside London and urged the Trust to hold the BBC to account on its commitment to produce a higher percentage of Network TV programmes in Wales.
  • The council contributed its comments to the BBC Trust review of the BBC's services for younger audiences, hosting four outreach events with younger members of the audience in different parts of Wales to inform its response.

The council also reviewed the BBC's Welsh language output broadcast on S4C.

It concluded that the BBC fulfilled its Public Purpose obligations during the year under review (the duty to promote the six Public Purposes is placed upon the BBC by the Royal Charter).

The council also expressed its delight at the opening of the BBC Hoddinott Hall, the new home of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, in January of this year, considering it a major contribution to promoting the BBC Purpose of delivering cultural excellence.

Janet Lewis-Jones, BBC National Trustee for Wales and Chair of the Audience Council said: "During the past year, the Audience Council for Wales has continued to exercise its role as the voice of audiences in Wales and has made that voice clearly heard in the work of the corporation's sovereign body, the BBC Trust.

She added: "It gives me great pride to chair the Audience Council for Wales.

"I look back with admiration at the immense amount the council has achieved during 2008-2009 and look forward to seeing further successes resulting from the council's determination to ensure that the interests of audiences in Wales lie at the heart of all that the BBC does."

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