Suggestions have been rife that the corporation was attempting to negotiate long-term deals with preferred post suppliers but this has been firmly denied. Instead, the procurement group will look closely at finishing work with a mind to reducing costs.
A spokesperson for BBC Bristol moved to reassure the local community by saying that the current set-up, where 40 per cent of post-work goes to BBC resources and the rest to independent facilities, will remain the same.
A reduction in the number of natural history and wildlife commissions over the past two years - with the BBC bringing more work in-house, ITV downscaling 'blue-chip' wildlife programming and US broadcasters such as PBS and Discovery veering away from natural history - had meant that indies, and subsequently local facilities, were facing the prospect of less work. And, although no further changes are expected, speculation claimed one casualty with the closure of long-established post company TK Films earlier this year.
Laurie Jones, who was managing director of the company, told Broadcast that business had been getting steadily worse over the past 18 months adding that 'the final straw came when [I heard that] BBC Bristol had attempted to negotiate long-term deals with companies that didn't include TK Films. After that, I could no longer see any point in staying open. I had already lost business when a major client, Partridge Films, closed and Granada Wild was formed. And then Granada put in its own editing and tape-to-tape transfer facilities.'
Andrew Jackson, executive producer of indie Tigress Films, which has an office in Bristol, commented: 'A year ago, independent producers were coming to the end of their natural history commissions and then dying a death. Now four or five are still here in name but haven't had work for more than a year. Nobody in their right minds would invest in post-production resources these days. The gravy train has broken down and we're all on our own now.'