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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 15:42 GMT
More BBC Wales on network pledge
The families outside the miners' cottages in Blaenavon
Sir Michael praised Coal House, saying it deserved a wider airing
Wales must have a higher profile on network television, according to the chairman of the BBC Trust.

Sir Michael Lyons said it was important programmes made by the BBC in Wales were seen across the UK.

He praised BBC Wales productions like Doctor Who and Torchwood and said others, such as the reality show Coal House, deserved more recognition.

On a visit to Cardiff, he also promised more investment in BBC Wales, and said it needed to reflect all its audiences.

The chairman said the BBC had made a commitment to increase network programmes commissioned from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"The trust will be looking for evidence that we are moving rapidly in that direction", said Sir Michael, adding particular praise for Coal House, the recent reality TV show which took three families back to live in a small mining community in 1927.

Sir Michael Lyons
People don't only want to know that programmes are being made locally, they want to feel that their lives are reflected on the television screen and other BBC services
Sir Michael Lyons

Sir Michael said Coal House was an "innovative programme," providing a "distinctive view" of life in those days, and should enjoy a wider airing.

Part of the reason for his two-day visit, during which he also met First Minister Rhodri Morgan, was to celebrate the success of BBC Wales drama Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood.

Sir Michael, who as trust chairman represents the interests of the licence payer, praised "the value and quality of what BBC Wales is doing".

He said: "Frankly, the search for better value for money is not something that ends. You don't get to a stage where you say, 'I've sorted that' ".

Despite the threat of job losses, he said there would be investment in Wales as new services were developed under the six-year licence fee settlement.

One proposition is for enhanced local services online - a project still at the development stage.

David Tennant and Catherine Tate
Doctor Who is a huge network success for BBC Wales

He said the trust was also committed to ensuring all the diverse audiences in Wales were reflected on the BBC.

"There is certainly an appetite in Wales, as there is in Scotland, as there is across the United Kingdom, " said Sir Michael.

"People don't only want to know that programmes are being made locally, they want to feel that their lives are reflected on the television screen and other BBC services.

"And that's the area where I do think the BBC has further to go demonstrating that its aware that Britain is made up of many communities and that they all want to see it reflecting that diversity, that richness.

"Personally I think that will strengthen us as a nation."

The chairman also said research showed audience support for the BBC fell as you moved away from London.

"Actually, it stands up fairly well in Wales, which I think is a great tribute to BBC Wales," he said.

"But it does leave me with a very clear message that we have to do better at reflecting all the different elements of life in the United Kingdom, and perhaps some times we're a bit too focussed on what's happening in the south-east because that's where most of our employees are still located."



SEE ALSO
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