Twelfth coverage row: BBC NI boss say ‘no sacred cows here’ when it comes to culling programmes

The BBC’s regional boss has said there are “no sacred cows” when quizzed about why the Twelfth coverage is being cut.

By Adam Kula
Friday, 10th June 2022, 5:25 pm
Adam Smyth
Adam Smyth

Adam Smyth – a former Newsround reporter who in January rose to become interim director of the £83m BBC NI operation – was speaking to arts correspondent Robbie Meredith today.

The BBC’s Belfast HQ meanwhile refused to provide viewing figures for its past live coverage of the Twelfth, saying it does not make public the ratings of individual shows.

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What the corporation’s press office did say was this: “The available live audience for a late evening programme on BBC television is approximately 70-80% larger than a morning time slot.

“This is the opportunity we want to maximise, making use of film reports and stories from Orange Order events across Northern Ireland.”

Mr Smyth then expanded on this in his interview, saying that “putting some more resource into the highlights programme [as opposed to the live coverage] allows us to get out of Belfast and see all of Northern Ireland and really capture the richness of the cultural event that it is beyond Belfast”.

He stressed that whilst “we do not underestimate” the importance of the Twelfth, “nothing is sacrocanct; there are no sacred cows” when it comes to the BBC’s output.

Ultimately, he said “accusations of bias are completely unwarranted”.