ITV is preparing to mothball YTV studio?

Fourty forty years ago (yes I know I’m ancient) I was just old enough to be aware of the start of Yorkshire Television in Leeds. While at school I was fortunate enough to be given a tour of the studios where I remember a production of the drama Hadley taking place with Gerald Harper. My cousin Dorothy worked on Emmerdale Farm and as a teenager I was smuggled into the YTV bar on many occasions.

Although I have worked for the BBC for practically all my working life, I have always harboured a sentimental attachment to YTV and wanted to work there. Some years ago when Calendar had a huge following the then Editor offered me  work as news presenter – it was one of those pivotal moments. I chose to head for London and the BBC network but I always felt it was like running away from home.

Eighteen months ago I returned “home” to work in the Calendar Newsroom as Channel Manager of ITV Local. I didn’t know at the time that ITV was about to embark on the biggest cuts in its history. The word from Michael Grade was that ITV Local was an important step into the future of ITV. However, within months a decision was made to disband the team of online specialists that pioneered this service. The remnant of ITV Local is now being managed in the regions by a skeleton on mostly non specialist journalists.

Gbitv-canteen1
At what looks like considerable expense, the reception area at ITV Yorkshire and the canteen at have recently been upgraded and made beautiful to accommodate audiences for shows like Countdown. The canteen these days seems almost deserted.  It looks like a place destined for great things, but if the word is true the revamp may have been premature.

And so, if the Guardian is correct, it appears as though many of the regions services and programmes are on the brink of closure. 

Tomorrow as the full year results are announced and the decisions are made clear, I will be looking to see what is left of the old YTV I so passionately believed was a great thing for Yorkshire

The Guardian reports
ITV is preparing to mothball its huge Yorkshire studios site, home to shows such as Heartbeat and The Royal, as part of its cost-cutting plans which will see hundreds of jobs cut and millions of pounds shaved off its programming budget.

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Published by Mark

Mark Waddington is a former BBC broadcaster and producer. He now works for the Diocese of Leeds as Urban Mission Officer. If you would like to get in touch email mark.waddington@leeds.anglican.org

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