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Thursday, 1 November, 2001, 12:01 GMT
BBC announces job cuts
Blue Planet
Blue Planet: Presented by Sir David Attenborough
The BBC has announced 129 jobs will go in the corporation's Factual and Learning division which makes The Blue Planet and Louis Theroux's documentaries.

The job losses are to come in the London documentaries and arts departments, with further cuts in the religion and ethics section in Manchester.

But BBC Factual and Learning joint director Glenwyn Benson says the changes will not affect programme-making.

"We have a strong commitment to factual programming," she said.

Simon Schama
Schama: A popular and intelligent history of Britain
"Bold innovative pieces such as Son of God, Art That Shook The World and Simon Schama's A History of Britain are clearly at the heart of our public service offering to our audiences."

The axed posts - representing 5% of the division - are part of the BBC's overall television strategy announced in May.

Overall spending in the department is to remain constant. The BBC is planning to shift investment to the regions, with more factual programmes being made in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

'Horrified'

Broadcast union Bectu said they were "horrified" at the scale of the cuts and that they were expecting money to be put into programme areas and "not job cuts".

"These cuts are much deeper than necessary, and fly in the face of Greg Dyke's promise to spend more money on programme-making," said Bectu Assistant General Secretary Gerry Morrissey.

Son of God
Son of God: Presented a computer-generated image of Christ
"We are concerned that the management might try to use more freelance labour and if they do that we will resist it strongly," he said.

"We do not rule out industrial action."

The BBC argues that when the department was reorganised, it inherited an over-capacity and mis-match of skills to make the programmes it needs to make.

"We have a duty to licence fee-payers to ensure that as much money as possible goes on programmes," said Ms Benson.

"That is why we have identified over-capacity in our staffing across the division, we have had to make this decision."

See also:

16 Feb 01 | Entertainment
BBC faces industrial action
10 Jul 00 | UK
Job losses in BBC shake-up
20 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Bectu suspends BBC action
24 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
BBC man 'tipped' for Channel 4
11 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
BBC launches ocean odyssey
13 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
The weird world of Louis Theroux
26 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Looking for the historical Jesus
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