JOINT STATEMENT BY BBC CYMRU WALES AND S4C
BBC Cymru Wales and S4C have announced changes to long-running drama Pobol y Cwm following the Welsh language broadcaster’s decision to stop funding a weekly omnibus.
From September 2014, the Sunday afternoon repeat of the week’s events in the BBC Wales produced drama will be brought to an end. S4C said the decision reflects changing viewing patterns experienced by all broadcasters, and the fact that recent episodes are now available online via Clic and the iPlayer. The decision also reflects the need to cut costs in a difficult financial climate.
Additionally, as a result of the decision, from January 2015, the programme will be broadcast four times a week instead of the current five – with the series taking two week-long breaks during the year.
The decision to cancel the omnibus has been taken against the backdrop of significant financial savings facing the Welsh language channel. Although the BBC funds most of the Pobol y Cwm series - the weekly omnibus has been funded by S4C.
Sian Gwynedd, Head of Welsh Language Programmes and Services at BBC Wales said,
“This is obviously disappointing news but we recognise that S4C, just like the BBC, is operating in a very tough financial climate at the moment. We're also confident a four night a week Pobol y Cwm will continue to appeal to audiences the length and breadth of Wales. Pobol y Cwm is a flagship programme for both the BBC and S4C and we have exciting story lines ahead in this the 40th year of its illustrious history.”
Commenting further, Sian Gwynedd said,
“It’s too early at this stage to say what the precise impact will be on the production team. But our immediate focus is to discuss the implications of the change with production staff, artists, Trades Union, the Writers Guild and Equity."
Dafydd Rhys, Director of Content at S4C added,
“Following the cuts to S4C’s budget which continue over coming years, we are still in the process of identifying further reductions in our spending.
“While we are aware of how much people appreciate the weekly Pobol y Cwm Omnibus, it isn’t possible to continue to pay the sums we’re currently paying. However, viewers are able to watch episodes of Pobol y Cwm with subtitles through S4C’s online on-demand service, Clic, and the BBC iPlayer.
“There is enormous appreciation within S4C for the work that everyone on the Pobol y Cwm team does and we will continue to support the series both financially and creatively in order to maintain its high production values. However, in the current financial climate and with changing viewing patterns, we cannot maintain the current level of financial support.
“I’m confident that some of our savings will be reinvested in order to develop drama in the independent production sector. And we are also committed to working with the BBC to develop new drama in the future.”