Verguson, Christine Jane (2014) ‘Opting out’? nation, region and locality. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis considers the extent to which the BBC, arguably the nation’s most important cultural institution, attempted to meet its commitment to regional and local broadcasting in one English region, Yorkshire, between 1945 and 1990. The study focuses specifically on the extent to which a distinctive regional culture can be identified within the BBC in Yorkshire and how this changed over time while also considering how BBC programme makers both engaged with and represented the audience and the extent to which they attempted to foster place-related identity.

The years 1945 to 1990 included the relaunching of English regional broadcasting at the end of World War Two, the arrival of television in the North and a redefinition of the BBC’s non-metropolitan broadcasting at the end of the 1960s with the creation of a new BBC television region based at Leeds and the launch of BBC local radio. Prior to, and then alongside, the establishment of these new services, Leeds-based producers working for the BBC North Region were bringing new voices in drama and entertainment to the attention of the nation. But by 1990 this period of relative regional autonomy and expansion had come to an end and producers of regional programmes had been told they were to focus on news and current affairs. An oral history approach has been employed alongside an analysis of programme material that concentrates on day-to-day local and regional broadcasting - programmes made in the region for the regional audience - going beyond the ‘texts’ to ask why these programmes were made and how they were made. Different aspects of programming are considered (regional television news and features, the early years of local radio) together with BBC cultures and practices.

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