Petition to keep Casualty in Bristol
A campaign is to be stepped up to halt plans to move the production of popular medical drama Casualty from Bristol to Cardiff.
Members of the organisations that represent actors and production staff gathered at a public meeting in Southville yesterday to plan how they will take their efforts forward.
As reported in the Bristol Evening Post last month, the BBC has taken the decision to move the drama, which has been based in the city for 22 years, to Cardiff as part of plans to expand production "beyond the M25".
At the open meeting of Equity- the trade union for actors and performers- on Tuesday, the decision was taken to set up a Downing Street petition opposing the proposals and write to Gordon Brown.
Ian Bayes the national Equity BBC organiser urged local campaigners to gain the support of the Bristol public to put pressure on the BBC for a turnaround.
He said: "Look at what happened with Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, the BBC are very sensitive to things.
"Public pressure is needed, not just from yourselves but from the populus and society. Local people need to be part of the campaign to keep Casualty within the society."
David Shepheard of South West Screen, the regional development agency for film, TV and new media, told the meeting that Bristol has grown with Casualty and has learnt how to deal with it being filmed in the city.
He also said that the organisation had been working with the BBC to find new sites in the city for the show and even suggested a drama village, like the corporation have proposed for Cardiff, could be set up in Bristol with Casualty at the heart of it.
Mr Shepheard said: "I think the politics of this are driving this rather than sensibility. More pressure needs to be put on parliament to ask why the BBC is moving Casualty.
"We are trying to get the senior people from the region in front of the BBC to say this doesn't make sense and we want to help you to keep Casualty in Bristol."
David Donovan, of broadcast and film union Bectu, who deals with members in both Cardiff and Bristol believes Casualty should stay where it is and told the meeting there was "no logic" to the suggestion to move the programme.
He said: "We need to raise the profile of our campaign.
"Maybe we should be looking at the population. We need to give them the argument of what will embarrass the BBC that this was not such a good idea after all."