BBC

Police officers are making hundreds of pounds illegally selling their uniforms and equipment on the internet, and criminals are buying them to commit offences posing as legitimate officers. BBC Inside Out South East investigates this illicit trade and its consequences to public safety across the South East of England in the first programme of the new series on Monday 18 October at 7.30pm on BBC One.

Police officers wear uniforms and have warrant cards so that the public can identify them but Inside Out reporter Glenn Campbell investigates evidence that some officers are illegally selling their uniforms and equipment for cash via the internet.

In 2006, a group of men pulled off Britain’s biggest cash heist, stealing 53 million pounds from a depot in Tonbridge by using items of police uniform to gain access. Retired police officer, Roy Sutherland, says that without the uniforms, it would never have happened: “It was very much an important aspect of that robbery that police uniform was involved. People produce warrant cards or uniform and people trust them.”

Within just a few weeks, Glenn managed to purchase a full, current issue Metropolitan Police uniform and other items including a Sussex Police cap and Kent Police warrant card holder – all for just over £200.

Glenn says: “The ease with which I managed to get hold of authorised police equipment was remarkable. All it takes is a quick Google search to bring up dozens of official police items.”

A retired Chief Superintendent, who asked to remain nameless, said that the sale of police uniform was not uncommon. He says: “I investigated several officers who sold their kit… I think it’s very widely known you can sell your kit and make lots of money from it.”

The programme reveals that the ease of buying uniform has had devastating consequences on people. Max, a pensioner in Brighton, said he was deceived into losing £23,000 in life savings.

Max says: “They showed me their badges and I really believed they were police officers… after it happened, if anyone knocked on the door I wouldn’t answer it. I was as nervous as a kitten. I felt suicidal and that’s the truth.”

Both Kent and Sussex Police stated that the uniform remains the property of the police when an officer leaves the service and any breach of this is taken very seriously. Assistant Chief Constable, Allyn Thomas says: “The equipment does not belong to the officers so it is not theirs to sell. They should know better. And certainly, in light of some of the examples you have given us, we’ll certainly review our policy.”

Inside Out South East can be seen on BBC One in the South East region of England at 7.30pm on Monday October 18.

The programme is also available across the whole country on BBC iPlayer for seven days following the original broadcast.

Over five consecutive days in Spring 2011, BBC Daytime will bring viewers an insight into the British criminal justice system.

A compelling new drama, Justice, takes inspiration from a real-life community justice centre in Liverpool and a new observational documentary series, Neighbourhood Blues, follows the work of a new task force tasked with tackling the enduring problem of housing estate crime.

Liam Keelan, Controller BBC Daytime, says: “Crime in Britain is an issue many of our viewers care passionately about, and is something we wanted to reflect on screen.

“This week-long series of programming tackles strong social issues in an innovative and positive way and are just two examples of new programmes I’m proud to have on BBC Daytime over the coming year.”

Justice (5×45), takes inspiration from the work in the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre, a one-stop shop for tackling crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour, using a community based, problem-solving approach.

The drama, filmed and set in Liverpool, follows the fictional judge Patrick Coburn, known locally as the “Sheriff of Kirkdale” and seen by the community as either a liberal lefty or a power-crazed despot.

The drama follows an ever-changing line-up of guest stories at the Community Justice Centre, along with the dark secret that Coburn has kept from those around him.

But the judge and his revolutionary centre are also under threat from within. The judicial establishment see the centre as a woolly liberal money drain and want their power back – will the Judge and his team be able to keep the wolves at bay?

Justice, due for transmission in Spring 2011, is made by LA Productions for the BBC. Liam Keelan is the executive producer for the BBC and Colin McKeown is executive producer for LA Productions. The drama is written by up-and-coming writing talent.

Neighbourhood Blues (5×45) is the new observational documentary series following the work of a ground-breaking new force in Kent, as it confronts the problems of troubled local housing estates and takes on the law-breakers who are making life a misery for many of the families living there.

Kent Police have set up special Neighbourhood Policing teams not only to combat the “ASBO Menace”, but also to use modern and positive “restorative justice” methods to change criminal behaviour.

Instead of simply pounding the beat in a problem area, the teams sit down and agree a plan to solve the crime at the root cause of the problem. Working with the public, they undertake intelligence work, instigate stings, kick doors in and do whatever else it takes to tackle the criminals at the heart of the problem.

Each episode of Neighbourhood Blues will follow the work of a specific team and get up close with the characters in the unit and the neighbourhood crimes that they are currently working and have worked to solve.

Neighbourhood Blues is also due for transmission in Spring 2011 and is a Raw Cut Television production for the BBC. The executive producer for the BBC is Pam Cavannagh and Steve Warr is executive producer for Raw Cut. 

BBC Director-General Mark Thompson has announced to staff this morning (12 October) that his deputy Mark Byford is leaving the organisation.

Mr Thompson told staff that Mr Byford’s BBC career, which has spanned more than 30 years “has included so many achievements on behalf of our audiences in the UK and around the world”.

Writing to staff, Mr Thompson said: “Mark has played a critical role in recent years as the leader of all journalism across the BBC and has been an outstanding deputy to me and member of the Executive Board. But as part of our commitment to spend as much of the licence fee as possible on content and services, we’ve been looking at management numbers and costs across the BBC, and that must include the most senior levels.

“We have concluded – and Mark fully accepts – that the work he has done to develop our journalism and editorial standards across the BBC has achieved the goals we set to such an extent that the role of Deputy Director-General can now end, that the post should close at the end of the current financial year, and that Mark himself should be made redundant.”

Mr Byford will step down from the Executive Board at the end of March and will leave the BBC in early summer.

From April 2011, Helen Boaden, Director, BBC News, will join the Executive Board to represent BBC Journalism.

Paying tribute to Mr Byford’s 32 years of continuous and distinguished service, Mr Thompson said: “Michael Grade once described Mark Byford as the ‘conscience of the BBC’. Anyone who has worked with him – and there are thousands across the Corporation – will attest to his unfailing integrity and loyalty.

“He has always stood for the highest standards in journalism but also in all his doings at the BBC. But he has also played a central role over the years in modernising BBC journalism and grasping the promise of this new digital age. I have never had a closer or more supportive relationship with any colleague and cannot begin to express my personal sense of gratitude to Mark for his honesty, steadfastness and energy. I know many of you will feel the same.”

In a separate note Mr Byford told BBC staff: “Obviously I will be very sad to leave this brilliant organisation that has been such a dominant part of my life for so long. But I know this decision is the right way forward. From a summer holiday job to head of all the BBC’s journalism – I have been fortunate and blessed to have had such a wonderful career at the BBC. Today, I’d like to thank all my close friends and valued colleagues across the BBC for their friendship and support, and their inspiration, creativity and wisdom. I have learnt so much from so many. I feel privileged and proud to have been a part of the best broadcasting organisation in the world.”

Mark Byford joined the BBC in 1979 as a television researcher at BBC Leeds, going on two years later to produce a special edition of BBC Look North which won a Royal Television Society Award. He went on to win a second RTS Award the following year for the South Today programme from Southampton.

Mark Byford held a wide range of editorial positions, including Head of Television News, Bristol. As Home Editor, BBC News and Current Affairs, in the BBC Newsroom, Mark led the UK television news coverage of the Clapham rail crash, the Lockerbie bombing and Hillsborough, three of the biggest news stories of that decade.

He returned to Leeds in 1989 in a pioneering post as the first bi-media Head of Regional and Local Programming for Yorkshire and Humberside. He was appointed Controller Regional Broadcasting at 33 and as head of all regional journalism at the BBC he brought in a whole new team of specialist correspondents across the UK and focused BBC Local Radio on being a speech led service building audiences to a record 10 million listeners a week.

He joined the BBC Board of Management in 1996 as Director, Regional Broadcasting. Two years later he became Director of the BBC World Service and went on to establish the BBC’s Global News Division. Under his leadership at that time, BBC World Service achieved its highest audience ever of more than 150 million listeners and won prestigious Sony and Webby awards.

In January 2004 he became Deputy Director-General of the BBC but within three weeks of his appointment Greg Dyke resigned as Director-General, following the publication of the Hutton Report, and Mark Byford became Acting Director-General for five months. With no substantive Chairman and Director-General, he had to stabilise the organisation as it faced the biggest crisis in its history. During this time he led the drawing up of the BBC’s Charter Review document, Building Public Value.

When Mark Thompson was appointed Director-General in June 2004, he enhanced Mark Byford’s role as his deputy to be head of all the BBC’s journalism at UK, international and local levels, the first time such an appointment had been made.

During the last six years as DDG he has led all the BBC’s journalism at UK wide, global and local levels, across radio, television and online. During his tenure as Head of the Journalism Group the BBC has achieved record audience levels both in the UK and internationally and won numerous Emmy, BAFTA, RTS and Sony Awards. He devised the pioneering “Democracy Live” website and is a passionate supporter of democracy and the provision of high quality, impartial coverage of politics and Parliament.

He has also led the BBC wide planning and co-ordination of some of the BBC’s biggest and most complex projects including the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and the General Election in 2005 and 2010. As Chair of the BBC Academy Board he has brought together all the BBC’s training and development activities in a new BBC Academy, establishing Colleges of Journalism, Production and Leadership, to build standards and skills across the BBC and the wider broadcasting industry.

He is a Fellow of the Radio Academy and has been awarded honorary doctorates recently by the Universities of Leeds, Lincoln and Winchester in recognition of his outstanding contribution to broadcast journalism and public life.

Mr Byford was born in Castleford, West Yorkshire.

A documentary to screen on BBC One in the North East and Cumbria next Monday night (11 October at 7.30pm) will follow playwright Lee Hall and the cast of The Pitmen Painters as they take the critically acclaimed play to Broadway.

Presented by actor Christopher Connel, who plays miner and painter Oliver Kilbourn in the play, the programme follows the cast’s rehearsals in Newcastle, their arrival at New York’s Samuel J Friedman Theatre (home of the Manhattan Theatre Club) through to the tension of the first night.

The play, which opened on 30 September this year, has attracted some extremely positive reviews stateside with The New York Daily News describing the play as “warm and wonderfully acted” with “uniformly stellar performances from the terrific cast.” The New York Post said: “smart and inspirational in a way that never panders to the audience.”

“I just felt that this was a piece that had to be done,” says artistic director Lynne Meadow from the Manhattan Theatre Club. “It’s an exploration of the difficulties of being an artist… it’s a play that explores class …it really resonates here.”

It’s almost unheard of for an all-British cast to perform on Broadway – let alone a bunch of Geordies – but Hall was determined that if he was going to take the play to Broadway that it had to be with the original cast.

“This is the first time in 40 years that we have brought over an entire company of actors… the authenticity leaps across the stage,” says theatre executive producer Barry Grove.

One of the biggest challenges for an American audience was whether they would be able to understand what was being said, and so Hall and the Theatre had to think carefully about how they might adapt the play.

They did this by cutting certain cultural references and content that might be amusing to a British audience but an American audience wouldn’t understand.

“We’ve trimmed away and re-shaped it a bit – it’s like sharpening a blade,” says Hall.

William Feaver, whose book about the Pitmen Painters inspired Lee to write the play in the first place, is also at the opening night and comes to support Lee and the cast.

Feaver knew the miners personally and, when asked what they would have made of all the hype and specifically a premiere says: “Tickled and delighted, proud, embarrassed – this would be the most supreme embarrassment of the lot – and wonderful at the same time!”

After the play the cast are enthused with the reaction they have had from the audience and the fact that the Geordie accent didn’t seem to be a problem.

“The accents didn’t get in the way – I’ve seen Billy Elliot,” says one woman.

“It’s all from the heart, so you get what they are saying,” says another.

“It’s quite funny to think that for at least until Christmas a little corner of New York will be Ashington – and I think we should be really proud that we brought that from the North East to New York,” says Chris.

The Pitmen Painters, BBC One (North East & Cumbria), Monday 11 October at 7.30pm. Also available nationally on BBC iPlayer.

The BBC today published the results of its research into the portrayal of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people across its television, radio and online services.

The report is the result of audience research with over 2,000 members of the public across the UK. The BBC also held a public consultation, carried out over 10 weeks between January and April, which elicited over 9,400 responses. This is the largest study undertaken by the BBC into the portrayal of LGB people and continues the BBC’s commitment to better understand its audiences. It follows a study into disability portrayal conducted in March 2009 and plans to increase the amount of national and regional portrayal, announced in July this year.

The research and consultation findings reveal that the BBC has made progress with its portrayal of LGB people but could do more to better reflect the diversity of LGB audiences. Some of the key findings were:

LGB people want to see more LGB portrayal and greater diversity within it

LGB audiences want greater authenticity in LGB portrayal, less reliance on stereotypes and further integration across genres to reflect the everyday lives of LGB people

The clear majority of the UK population are comfortable with LGB portrayal or do not feel strongly about it

Intimacy, both emotional and physical, is the primary concern for people who are uncomfortable with LGB portrayal

The BBC has made progress and compares relatively well to other broadcasters but there is more to be done

The published report includes the results of the study, conducted by 2CV and Kantar Media for the BBC together with the public consultation and will be shared with production teams, commissioners and decision-makers both across the BBC and the wider industry. Recommendations based on the report’s findings have also been made to the BBC’s Diversity Board, chaired by BBC Director-General, Mark Thompson.

These recommendations are:

The BBC commits to addressing the issues raised through the audience research and consultation to achieve accurate and authentic portrayal of lesbian, gay and bisexual people across its services

All BBC Editorial Heads will be responsible for identifying how to address the key issues raised and overseeing resulting activity

All BBC Editorial Heads will be responsible for debriefing outcomes of research and consultation with their teams

BBC will review this research and consultation again in two years to ascertain whether the BBC has moved forward in the eyes of our audiences

BBC Working Group on the Portrayal and Inclusion of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Audiences will monitor pan-BBC implementation on behalf of the Diversity Board

Tim Davie, Chair of the BBC Working Group on Portrayal and Inclusion of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Audiences, responsible for commissioning the research, said: “The BBC has a responsibility to serve all our audiences as best we can and there are clear commitments we are taking from this study. We have already begun to share the research with content teams across the BBC in order to continue the progress we have made towards achieving more authentic and diverse portrayal of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.”

Amanda Rice, BBC Head of Diversity, said: “The publication of this very significant piece of work sends a clear signal to all our licence fee payers that the BBC is committed to meaningful engagement with all audiences. Not only is this a key priority within our diversity strategy, it is also one of the best ways we can continue to learn about what the UK’s diverse communities want and expect of the BBC.”

Findings

Audiences

The research comprised of a qualitative phase, consisting of focus groups and in-depth interviews with LGB and heterosexual people, and a quantitative survey whose participants were drawn from a nationally representative sample and a ‘boost’ sample of LGB respondents, to achieve the broadest spectrum of views. LGB participants were made up of people who were out and established, recently out and not yet out. Heterosexual audiences consisted of some people who were more comfortable with LGB issues and portrayal and some who were less comfortable. Of the nationally representative sample, the majority of which were a heterosexual audience: 49% were found to be comfortable with LGB portrayal, 32% were ambivalent and 18% were found to be uncomfortable – with half of this group (9%) very uncomfortable.

Quality, quantity and authenticity

When shown the research stimulus, audiences were surprised at the amount of portrayal of LGB people but there was evidently more that the BBC could do. Whilst 37% of the LGB sample rated the BBC’s LGB output as good or very good, 25% of the same sample rated it as poor. Those who rated the BBC positively said that its portrayal of LGB people was honest, fair and reflected real life whereas those who rated the BBC as poor said there was not enough LGB portrayal and it was too stereotypical. The lack of consensus illustrates the diversity of opinion, needs and viewing preferences amongst the LGB sample. Lesbian women felt that they were under-represented and LGB audiences, as a whole, perceived a real lack of portrayal of bisexual people. There was also an appeal for less reliance on stereotypes, particularly those of camp, gay men – although stereotypes were shown to have their place as part of a wider spectrum of portrayal.

Authenticity was crucial to the credibility of the BBC’s LGB portrayal and many believed that quality in this area had improved. However, LGB audiences were roughly split, with 43% thinking the BBC’s LGB portrayal was realistic compared to 38% believing it was stereotyped. This contradiction could be due to a number of factors shaping opinions on authenticity, such as tone, language, behaviour, visual identity, stereotypes and talent; all relative to differences in life experience and audience expectations for each particular genre.

Both LGB and comfortable heterosexual audiences wanted more instances of portrayal of LGB people to demonstrate greater inclusivity across BBC content.

Intimacy

Intimacy was the primary concern for uncomfortable audiences, who were highly resistant to any intimacy between LGB people, including kissing, hugging, hand holding and any implied intimacy or bedroom scenes whereas comfortable audiences felt that it was only fair to have parity with heterosexual displays of intimacy. The vast majority of LGB and comfortable audiences approached the issue in a similar way to heterosexual intimacy, with levels of intimacy, the watershed, platform and genre all key factors in acceptability. Such instances within portrayal of LGB people, due to their visual impact, could be considered among the landmark moments which stuck in the minds of viewers and provided personal and social momentum for LGB audiences.

Landmark moments

LGB audiences also called for more overt portrayal; this included must-see moments and predominant LGB themes within programmes, such as EastEnders, Tipping The Velvet and The Wire and shows such as Queer As Folk and The L Word from other broadcasters. These were felt to be very important to LGB and many comfortable audiences, broadening perceptions of the LGB community, providing role models and serving as a talking point. Uncomfortable heterosexual audiences had concerns about overt portrayal particularly during prime time because of potentially young audiences and also portrayal that they found distasteful creeping into programmes they valued.

Channel 4’s portrayal of LGB people was rated as ‘ground-breaking’ by 38% of the LGB audience compared with 23% who would use this term for the BBC’s LGB portrayal. On the other hand, the BBC garnered trust from uncomfortable audiences to approach the issue of LGB portrayal in a sensitive way. LGB audiences recognised the need for sensitivity but called for broadcasters to have pride and confidence in LGB portrayal.

Role of talent

LGB talent were seen as positive role models and credible representation for LGB audiences and some comfortable heterosexual people, particularly when their sexuality was known but not referenced. For those LGB audiences who were not yet out or recently out, the importance of visible LGB talent across genres was even greater, not only as personal role models but as a reference point for family and friends. LGB characters in drama held a similar role for LGB audiences.

Expectations of genre

The research showed that genre lends critically important context to portrayal of LGB people in broadcast media and audience needs differ according to genre.

Drama

Drama, in particular continuing drama, was shown to play a key role in addressing LGB issues and engaging uncomfortable heterosexual audiences. Authenticity in reflecting both LGB and heterosexual audiences’ views was seen as key. It was also felt that LGB characters should become more embedded before storylines around their sexuality were developed and that storylines shouldn’t only revolve around their sexuality. Both LGB and comfortable heterosexual audiences believed that LGB characters should experience more positive resolutions to storylines.

Comedy and Entertainment

The only real objections raised in this area were anything perceived as malicious; this included casual remarks which could be regarded as homophobic. Humour was of great importance to audiences in this genre, with an expectation that comedy was meant to be provocative and shouldn’t be too restricted by a politically correct agenda. As such, there was more acceptance of stereotyping, if done intelligently and offset by less stereotypical LGB characters. Jokes at the expense of the LGB community were more readily accepted if they came from within the community, such as a gay character.

News & Current Affairs

All audiences expected factual reporting and impartial language. It was also felt that a person’s sexuality should only be mentioned when particularly relevant and that broadcasters had a duty of care in relaying implications from news stories. Language and tone was seen as particularly important in that reporting should be judgement-free and not sensationalised. Audiences saw the use of LGB talent in news reporting as a powerful contribution to the BBC’s LGB portrayal because of the authoritative nature of the role.

Sport

There were limited expectations from all audiences in this area as any incidents of portrayal would be secondary to the sport itself. However, ‘out’ LGB talent, as with news reporting, were shown to have a positive impact on portrayal of LGB people. Broadcasting presenters aside, portrayal of LGB people was accepted as something of a taboo in the world of sport, particularly football and rugby, by both LGB and heterosexual audiences but the use of language, should it be referred to, was extremely important. Some viewers felt that LGB partners of sportspeople during commentary at sporting events were not referenced in the same way as heterosexual partners would be.

Children’s

There were expectations that portrayal of LGB people in this area would focus on appropriate themes for children such as emotions, relationships and family. Uncomfortable heterosexual audiences saw children’s television as no-go area for LGB portrayal, believing it to be irrelevant to children of a young age and also for fear of it being presented as a choice. However, some LGB and comfortable heterosexual audiences saw a need for some degree of portrayal of LGB people in children’s content. There were a number of uncomfortable heterosexual parents who were outraged to find a reference to LGB parents on a BBC website for young children, whereas comfortable parents were pleasantly surprised by this.

Desired role of the BBC

The research findings point to the following for the BBC:

An editorial commitment from the BBC to better reflect the diversity of LGB audiences, tailored by genre. Importantly, both heterosexual and LGB audiences called for more realistic coverage, less-sensationalised coverage and less reliance on stereotypes

Integrating the ‘worlds’ of heterosexual and LGB people so that sexual orientation is less a topic to cover and more an identity to reflect in the mix

To make the most of creative opportunities in:

Incidental LGB portrayal across genres, fairly representing and reflecting everyday lives

Overt and/or landmark content tailored to people hungry for more portrayal of LGB people and for that to sometimes be challenging and iconic

To flag and endorse upcoming LGB portrayal to engage with LGB audiences, whilst taking into account the needs and sensibilities of other audiences

Tim Davie will be speaking at the Westminster Media Forum, ‘Reflecting Diversity – the LGBT community and the media’ on Thursday 30 September to present the research and consultation findings, talk about next steps for the BBC and take part in a panel discussion on the portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across the media as a whole.

This year’s BBC Children in Need Appeal is even more exciting than ever! Launched on the 20 September, the 2010 Appeal will reach its crescendo through the star-studded BBC One TV show on Friday 19 November.

At the heart of every Appeal are the amazing armies of fundraisers across the nation and this year their call to arms is “Show your spots let’s raise lots!” Showing your spots doesn’t mean doing anything difficult, expensive or scary, it just means doing something outside of your normal routine to help us raise money, which could be as simple as wearing spots, or as daring as a sponsored abseil.

This year Pudsey is accompanied by his best bear friend, Blush, who will be lending a helping paw during the busy Appeal countdown. Pudsey is also getting even more digital; for those Facebook fans Pudsey’s Facebook page will be announcing all the latest BBC Children in Need news; while, the BBC Children in Need website will allow users to put virtual Pudsey ears on photos of their families and friends, giving everyone the chance to be Britain’s favourite yellow bear.

Last year, thanks to the amazing generosity of the British public, a record breaking £39 million was raised. This is currently being used to really change enhance the lives of thousands of disadvantaged youngsters right here in the UK.

With more children than ever needing your support every donation, no matter how small, really does make a huge difference. The BBC Children in Need appeal is an opportunity for the UK to pull together at home, at work or at school, to support those in need children and young people who need it most.

David Ramsden, CEO of BBC Children in Need, says: “Every year we are both humbled and inspired by the extraordinary lengths our supporters go to raise money, and we hope this year is no exception. This is why we are asking for your support again in 2010.”

Since the BBC Children in Need Appeal started in 1980, over £564 million has been raised to make a real and tangible difference to the lives of disadvantaged youngsters.

The BBC’s Natural History Unit has discovered the world’s highest living tigers during an expedition to the remote Himalayas in Bhutan.

Working with tiger conservationists and scientists the team, from BBC One’s Lost Land Of The Tiger, filmed the tigers over 4,000 metres high up in the Himalayas. The footage is the first real evidence that tigers are resident and breeding at this altitude.

With only about 3,000 tigers left in the wild the discovery is a major breakthrough for tiger survival.

The expedition team, which included climber and naturalist Steve Backshall, wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan, scientist Dr George McGavin, camerawoman Justine Evans and world renowned tiger conservationist Dr Alan Rabinowitz, used camera traps to capture the footage of the adult female and male tiger.

The male is seen to be scent marking on the film which indicates that this is his territory and he is not just passing through while the female is lactating which suggests that the animals are breeding at this height.

The team, which also discovered the new species of giant rat in last year’s Lost Land of the Volcano, was following tips by local people who had seen tracks in the area.

Gordon Buchanan, who was reduced to tears when he made the filming discovery in the camera traps, said: “This is such a significant discovery for tiger survival. The tigers’ behaviour suggests they are breeding and I am convinced that there must now be cubs somewhere on this mountain.”

For tiger expert Dr Rabinowitz, knowing that tigers are living at this height takes conservationists one step closer towards an ambitious plan to link up the isolated tiger populations throughout Asia with a tiger “corridor.”

The proposed corridor would enable individual tigers a sanctuary to move between areas safe from human impact so they can breed more widely.

Dr Rabinowitz said: “Tigers are thought of as jungle creatures and there is pressure on their habitats from all sides. Yet we now know they can live and breed at this altitude which is a safer habitat for them. Bhutan was the missing link in this tiger corridor.”

He added that the findings would be taken to the governments of the region.

The remote camera traps also captured film of the elusive snow leopard and leopards in the same valley which is possibly the only habitat in the world to have these three big cats.

Lost Land Of The Tiger, which is the fourth in the BBC’s expedition series, starts on 21 September at 9pm on BBC One.

The Switchover Help Scheme today (Monday 20 September) published its Progress Review, Helping Older And Disabled People Switch To Digital TV – The Help Scheme Story So Far.

Run by the BBC under an agreement with the Government, the Help Scheme offers older and disabled people practical help to convert one TV as their region switches to digital.

With switchover at the halfway stage, the Help Scheme has directly contacted nearly 2.5 million eligible people and installed equipment for more than 350,000. An estimated 150,000 more have taken detailed advice from its helpline, which helped them with their digital TV choices.

By the completion of switchover in 2012, the Help Scheme will have contacted more than 7 million eligible individuals and couples and expects to have installed equipment for around one million people.

The Progress Review sets out the Help Scheme’s story so far – the organisations it has worked with, the people it has helped, those who have helped it and the lessons learned along the way.

The report particularly focuses on how the Help Scheme draws on the help of national and local charities and on older and disabled people themselves to design and maintain the service standards of the Help Scheme and to reach out to the most isolated and at-risk individuals.

Switchover Help Scheme Chief Executive Peter White said: “Ultimately, our mission is to make sure that no eligible person is left with a blank screen after switchover. We have worked hard to make sure that those people who need support know what help is available and receive the highest standards of service.”

Leo Devine has been announced as the new Head of Regional & Local Programmes for BBC South West. 

He takes over the role from Jane McCloskey who now takes up a new appointment for the BBC leading on its relations with the independent sector as Head of Supplier Management, Commissioning.

Leo’s broadcasting career began in the Eighties when he worked as a journalist and presenter for the BBC in the East Midlands and London.  He was appointed Assistant Editor at BBC Radio Leicester in 1991 and became Managing Editor of BBC Radio Cornwall in 1995.

After a spell as Acting Head of Regional & Local Programmes in the South West in 1997, he took up the post of Editor, BBC Cambridge. Here he was the driving force behind the television and radio news-gathering operation for the area serving Cambridgeshire and the surrounding counties.

In 1998, he became Head of Regional & Local Programmes for BBC West based in Bristol, and then moved on to be Head of Programming for the South West between 1999 and 2003. Since then he has run BBC North West and BBC South East, while for the past four years he has had a number of senior roles co-ordinating editorial links between network news and the BBC newsrooms in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the English Regions.  More recently he has been leading on editorial standards for all of BBC News.

Leo said: “I am delighted to be coming back to my home region.  The BBC is proud of its long association with the South West and its reputation for excellence in local and regional output.  The region is full of talented people producing creative and compelling programmes everyday for the audiences we serve.  It will be a privilege to be the Head of BBC South West.”

The Controller of BBC English Regions, David Holdsworth, said: “Leo is one of our most senior editorial leaders with an excellent track record and I know he is keen to use all this experience to build on the work Jane has begun in the region.”

Peter Salmon, Director, BBC North, today announced the first wave of companies that will be commissioned under the BBC’s @North initiative.

The @North digital initiative was launched by Peter Salmon in November 2009 to encourage and support the development and delivery of interactive content for CBBC and CBeebies. This first wave represents over half the money available, with a total amount of £500,000 earmarked for commissioning in the pilot of @North, and a further wave of commissions will be announced in the coming months.

The first companies to be commissioned are from Yorkshire, the North-East and North-West of England – Numiko and Brass from Leeds, The Workshop from Sheffield, Amaze from Manchester and Th_nk from Newcastle.

Peter Salmon, Director, BBC North, said: “The investment announced today marks a significant step towards realising the creative benefits that BBC North will ultimately deliver working in partnership with locally-based creative companies.

“The @North initiative has provided a valuable insight into how the BBC will work and engage with companies in the region to make the best content for audiences across the UK. I want to congratulate those companies whose ideas and creativity have been successful today and look forward to announcing the other companies in the forthcoming months.”

@North is a pilot project led by BBC Children’s, involving multi-disciplinary teams from across different divisions of the BBC including Future Media & Technology (FM&T) working collaboratively. The project also represents a new model of how the BBC will engage with independent companies and digital agencies across the north of England as well as with the regional screen agencies – Northern Film and Media, Screen Yorkshire and Vision+Media (North West).

Joe Godwin, Director, BBC Children’s, added: “@North has been a new way of working for Children’s and these companies have come up with some great ideas that will engage our young audiences and reflect how they consume content in the digital world.

“In addition to direct new commissions, @North has also enabled us to develop new relationships with small companies in the creative sector right across the north of England in addition to the companies that we already work with. This is an important part of our objectives as BBC Children’s prepares to move to our new home at MediaCityUK in Salford next year.”

Another key element of @North is to develop and strengthen relationships with companies beyond individual commissions. Since its launch the BBC has engaged with over 50 companies across the north of England through a range of workshops offering both creative and technical development expertise.

A networking event for games developers and web companies is being held at City Inn, Leeds on Wednesday 8 September 2010 from 5pm. The evening will be attended by representatives from the BBC, GameHorizon, Game Republic, Northern Film and Media, North West Vision and Media and Screen Yorkshire who will help facilitate introductions.

Peter Salmon and Sally Joynson, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire, one of the key partners in @North, met the three successful Yorkshire based companies at Screen Yorkshire’s offices in Leeds to mark today’s announcement of new BBC investment in the creative industries in the north of England.

Peter and Sally congratulated and discussed the project with: Andrew Brown, Creative Director from Leeds-based Brass; Jaron Ghani, founder and Technical Director of Numiko from Leeds; and Hannah Wysome, Content Producer for The Workshop from Sheffield

Sally Joynson, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted to congratulate all five companies who have made it through to the commissioning stage of this groundbreaking initiative. The fact that three out of the five are from Yorkshire; two from Leeds; and one from Sheffield; is testament to the extraordinary creative talent that we have in the region.

“We are at a critical junction in the country’s economic recovery and Screen Yorkshire’s work with partners such as the BBC helps ensure that businesses in Yorkshire have the greatest chance of becoming world leaders in digital media – one of the fastest growing and rapidly developing industries in the UK.”

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