Programmes, North-East

Oral Answers to Questions — Wireless and Television – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th May 1963.

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Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth 12:00 am, 14th May 1963

asked the Postmaster-General what proportion of broadcasting time has been devoted to purely North-East programmes, following the separation of the North-East wavelength from Northern Ireland.

Photo of Mr Reginald Bevins Mr Reginald Bevins , Liverpool Toxteth

This is a matter for the B.B.C., but it tells me that, since the North-East area has had its own wavelength, the Newcastle studios have been putting out about three hours and twenty minutes weekly of regular programmes of special interest to the area. This is about 3 per cent. of the time occupied by the Home Service.

Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth

Is the Postmaster-General aware that these figures are a little discouraging and that Manchester is not the beginning of the North but merely the end of the South? We in Northumberland were a kindom when London was a grass park. Will the right hon. Gentleman use what influence he has to ensure that these percentages are greatly increased?

Photo of Mr Reginald Bevins Mr Reginald Bevins , Liverpool Toxteth

The North-East has done a little better since this change was made. As the hon. Gentleman knows, more time is devoted to local North-East news and to the programme known, I believe, as the "Voice of the People" However, I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman has said and I will gladly convey his views to the B.B.C.

Photo of Mr Henry Clark Mr Henry Clark , North Antrim

Does my right hon. Friend realise that, if the north of England does not want to use the wavelength, the north of Ireland would be very glad to have it back again?

Photo of Mr Reginald Bevins Mr Reginald Bevins , Liverpool Toxteth

That is not my understanding of what the hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Milne) had in mind.