Page last updated at 00:12 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Campaign to keep drama in city

Derrick Thompson with banner
Derrick Thompson who plays Charlie is the show's longest standing actor

Campaigners fighting to keep the BBC TV hospital drama Casualty filmed in Bristol have new hope that it might stay in the city.

Bristol firm Paintworks is in contact with the BBC and has offered a site for filming after the current studios were said to need upgrading.

A report by creative development agency South West Screen claims a move could lose the local economy 25m a year.

A possible relocation to Wales was announced by the BBC last October.

No final decision

The BBC said it wanted to relocate the show because "strategically it believed the move would play a significant part in fulfilling its commitment to building a creatively sustainable centre of excellence for drama in Wales".

But it also said no final decision had been taken, until it had "evaluated all proposals" and decided which provided the best value for money for the licence fee payer.

Productions will think twice about coming here, because they won't be able to come and make their shows as cheaply as they could before.
Caroline Norbury - South West Screen
Casualty was first transmitted in 1986 but the studios in the St Phillips area of Bristol where it is filmed are in need of a serious upgrade and the lease is about to expire.

Derrick Thompson, Casualty's longest standing actor and who plays the character Charlie, said: "As a resident of Bristol for the last 22 years, Bristol's a place I love.

"I love the culture here and I feel that it is well represented by Casualty and that something would go missing if you simply lifted it with the stroke of a pen in an office somewhere in London from Bristol and set it somewhere else."

Caroline Norbury, of South West Screen, said: "There is quite a lot of drama filmed here.

"The point is they come here because there's a strong drama infrastructure here to support it.

"If that isn't here any more those productions will think twice about coming here - because they won't be able to come here and make their shows as cheaply as they could before."

It is still unclear when a final decision will be taken about the future of Casualty - the BBC has said is that it will be sometime in the spring.

The full story features on Inside Out West on BBC One in the West region at 1930 GMT on Wednesday.



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