Media courses win BBC support

October 29, 2004

The BBC has signed two major agreements with universities in the Midlands.

The corporation will for the first time provide joint training for students as part of a new media production course at De Montfort University. It is also creating a new "drama village" at Birmingham University.

The BBC has signed a contract with De Montfort to provide production training to students taking degrees in broadcast technology and media production. This will include ten two-hour sessions on campus and four five-day residential courses on BBC premises.

Students will learn gallery, floor, presentation, production and studio skills as part of the course. The BBC contract is for 80 students starting on December 6 to January 2005.

Nigel Paine, head of BBC training and development, said: "It's important for the BBC to have a strong link with broadcasting technology and media studies in the UK to secure a steady stream of talent with up-to-date knowledge coming into not only the BBC but the entire UK broadcast industry. We hope this will trigger closer collaborations with more universities in the future."

While the course will not give students a direct route into the BBC, Mr Paine said the training is so well regarded worldwide it should help open doors to a media career.

Birmingham University, meanwhile, negotiated a strategic partnership with the BBC this summer. It will house the corporation's new drama village at Archibald House on the Selly Oak campus. Once the 1920s building has been refurbished, it will become a production house for new drama series, including Doctors , in January 2005.

"What's really exciting about it is that there's nothing like this anywhere else in the UK," said Sue Primmer, Birmingham's communications director.

Birmingham already has news broadcasting links, but it sees the move as a way of feeding its academic expertise into more creative productions.

Ms Primmer said she was keen to see the BBC's College of Journalism, proposed after the Hutton inquiry, hosted in the city of Birmingham, with its multicultural environment and wealth of academic expertise.

Last week, at a reception held at the British Library, former BBC director-general Greg Dyke introduced York University's plans to create a department of theatre, film and television.

Mr Dyke, who is chancellor of the university, is funding a chair and heading development of the department, which is expected to be up and running by 2007.

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