BBC South West
Isles of Scilly
southern and western Somerset
|Nation||BBC English Regions|
|TV transmitters||Beacon Hill
in this area
BBC Radio Cornwall
BBC Radio Devon
BBC Radio Jersey
|Key people||Leo Devine
(Head of Regional
& Local Programmes)
BBC South West's television service (broadcast on BBC One South West) consists of the flagship regional news service Spotlight, the opt-out service BBC Channel Islands, the topical magazine programme Inside Out and a 20-minute opt-out during Sunday Politics. A late night football magazine show Late Kick Off is co-produced with BBC South, BBC West and the independent production company Pergall Media.
On weekdays, the four stations carry local programming between 5am and 6pm before joining together for networked programming between 6pm and closedown at 1am. Weekend evening programmes are also simulcast with stations in the BBC West region.
BBC South West also produces regional news & local radio pages for BBC Red Button and BBC Local websites for each county.
BBC South West began a regional television service on 20 April 1961 (nine days before the first broadcast of the rival ITV station, Westward Television) with ten-minute news bulletins on weekdays, originally presented by Tom Salmon. A year later, the bulletin was expanded and relaunched as the news magazine programme South West at Six (hosted by Sheila Tracy) before being renamed again on 30 September 1963 as Spotlight South West.
An opt-out for the Channel Islands was introduced during the 1990s, beginning with short bulletins after the Nine O'Clock News on weeknights, presented from a small studio at the Fremont Point transmitter. The service was expanded on 16 October 2000 and now incorporates the first half of Spotlight's main 6:30pm programme (under the name BBC Channel Islands News) and the full late bulletin after the BBC News at Ten on weeknights. The service is now based at the studios of BBC Radio Jersey in St Helier.
Following the merger of Westcountry and HTV West to become ITV West & Westcountry in February 2009 (later becoming "ITV West Country" in January 2013), Spotlight is now the only regional TV news service dedicated entirely to, and produced in, the South West, as the ITV service (ITV News West Country) is based in Bristol with bulletins and opt-outs for the region. ITV Channel Television continues to produce and broadcast its own dedicated local news service for the Channel Islands from its studios near St Helier in Jersey.
The Plymouth studios were originally a Victorian villa on Seymour Road called Ingledene before being bought by the BBC following the Second World War and subsequently fitted out with technical facilities. A new colour television studio was added to the complex in 1974, allowing Spotlight to broadcast in colour for the first time. The studios were due to close in late 2011, with BBC South West moving to a new purpose-built broadcasting centre on the banks of Sutton Harbour, opposite the Barbican in Plymouth city centre.1 The move stalled, however due to a developer pulling out of the project and the effect of the recession on the construction industry. In late 2012, the owner of the harbour expressed fears the move may never happen and admitted other parties had expressed an interest in moving to the site earmarked for the BBC.2 In 2013, the BBC confirmed it would not be moving to Sutton Harbour, but instead be refurbishing its existing Plymouth headquarters.3