BBC to merge Norwich and Cambridge Look East shows

The Forum, in Norwich's city centre, is home to one of the busiest libraries in the country. Pictur

BBC Cambridge is to merge with the Norwich-based Look East programme, which is broadcast from The Forum in the city centre - Credit: Archant

The BBC plans to end its Cambridge version of regional news programme of Look East and merge with the Norwich edition. 

The move is part of a major overhaul of BBC services.

Director-general Tim Davie made the announcement to staff on Thursday, May 26, with news that 1,000 jobs will be cut across the corporation.

The move has been described as a bid to become a "digital-first BBC" and that it was necessary to "continue to provide great value for all".

It currently broadcasts two versions of the Look East programme, one from Cambridge and one from its studio in Norwich at The Forum.

The changes are part of a wider shake-up of its regional news output which also includes moving its CBBC and BBC Four channels to online-only on iPlayer.

Mr Davie told staff: "They want us to keep the BBC relevant and fight for something that in 2022 is more important than ever.

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“To do that we need to evolve faster and embrace the huge shifts in the market around us.”

The news comes off the back of the BBC needing to save £285 million in response to the Culture Secretary’s announcement in January that the licence fee will be frozen at £159 for the next two years.

The announcement has received backlash from several people and has been described as a "backwards step by Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner.

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner opposes the axing of regional TV news output from the BBC at its studio in the city

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner opposes the axing of regional TV news output from the BBC at its studio in the city - Credit: BBC

He said: “I understand the pressure that the BBC is under but the essence of local news is that it is local. And this is a step backwards.

“Cambridge and the area surrounding it is the fastest growing region in the country, with real interest in local stories.

“This retrograde step is bad for views, bad for the BBC and bad for the region.”

Also announced was a directive from Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries ordering it to “promote equality of opportunity” for people from working-class backgrounds.

This legal direction includes  a target for 25 per cent of staff to be from low socio-economic backgrounds and ensuring 50 per cent of radio and 60 per cent of TV programme production spend is outside London by the end of 2027.