Blog Type, Fellowship Blog, Fellowship Type, Sector based Fellowships, Industry Sector, Culture & Creative, Digital | June 2015

Broadcasting Fellowship: David Nuttall MP

The Industry and Parliament Trust is a charity which among many other activities provides opportunities for parliamentarians to gain first-hand experience of what life is like in British business.

Having grown up and spent my working life before being elected in the coalfields and heavy industry of South Yorkshire I had some knowledge of the workings of our manufacturing industry. My constituency in Bury North is just a few miles North of Media City at Salford in Greater Manchester. Many of my constituents are already employed in the broadcasting and creative industries and it is clear that as the sector continues to expand this is where there will be many more employments opportunities in the years ahead.

On the Industry and Parliament Trust’s Fellowship Programme, parliamentarians spend 18 days studying their chosen sector. This can either be with a single company or, as in my case, several different host companies and organisations. Very often MP’s pay what are usually referred to as flying visits to companies where they are introduced to just a couple of key individuals and given a quick tour, but with the Fellowship Programme MP’s have a real opportunity to get under the skin of a Company and find out what the real issues are.

I must thank the Industry and Parliament Trust who through their extensive links were able to arrange for me to visit a wide range of companies across the broadcasting industry.

I must thank the Industry and Parliament Trust who through their extensive links were able to arrange for me to visit a wide range of companies across the broadcasting industry.

I started my placements with several visits to ITV plc. This was a great place to start as they allowed me to spend time in each of their different divisions and I was able to gain an understanding of the way the broadcasting industry operates which was to prove invaluable throughout the remainder of my visits. I also visited ITV Granada in Manchester where I looked at their operations there and visited the set of Coronation Street.

David Nuttall MP visits the "Rovers Return Inn" on the set of Corronation Street.

After ITV I spent two days up in Glasgow visiting STV plc. STV are the independent broadcaster in Scotland and were one of the regional broadcasters which did not join together with the others to form ITV. During my time with STV I spent sessions with STV Productions looking at their content strategy, the development and commissioning process and rights management. I also sat in during the broadcast of an edition of their news and current affairs programme Scotland Tonight. Having been many times on the interviewee side it was a different perspective to see how the process works form the other side.

My next placement was up in in Salford with BBC North. I toured the Studios and met with various key personnel including BBC Studios BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport. The move of several BBC departments out of London up to Manchester has been one of the major drivers behind the development and growth of Media City with thousands of new jobs being created.

As broadcasting itself is such a wide area I tended to focus on the field of news and current affairs coverage so my next placement with ITN was particularly valuable. ITN provides news programmes for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. In addition to the main news programmes it also has a video creation business ITN Productions and through ITN Source sells footage from its vast archives dating back to 1896. During my visits to ITN I visited the archives and saw were the huge number of reels are stored.

After the Worldwide reach of ITN my next visit was to Nine Lives Media a small independent production company based in Manchester. I had already met with representatives of PACT the trade association for independent feature film, television and digital media producers to discuss the key issues facing the sector and this visit enabled me to see at first-hand how an ’Indie’ operated in what is a very competitive market. I sat in on an ‘ideas’ meeting where staff discussed possibilities for future productions, watched a casting session and went out on location whilst they were shooting drama documentary based on the Moors Murders.

My next placement took me back to London and Channel 5. Here I discussed their business model, their programme strategy, what they commission and why, their relationship with independent producers and the regulatory framework they have to operate within.

During the summer recess this year I spent a couple of days down in the Midlands with the Quidem Radio Group who cover the Warwick, Coventry, Tamworth Rugby, Banbury, Loughborough and Hinckley area. It was interesting to see how the a commercial radio station operates and fascinating to watch two of their skilled presenters broadcast two different programmes to two different stations live at the same time!

My last visit was to Channel 4 where I was able to discuss their portfolio of channels and how they decide what to schedule where. I also looked at their online operations and met with their Head of News and Current Affairs and the Commissioning Editor for Channel 4 Sport.

If I was to try and summarise the issues which affect all these various enterprises I would say that they all have to contend with the decisions Government makes and spending time ‘in the real world’ with real businesses is a reminder of everything we do in Parliament has a knock on effect to those outside. Every restriction placed on business runs the risk of unintended consequences.

Our creative industries make a growing contribution to the British economy. It is vital that they are given the freedom to thrive and compete on the international stage.

David Nuttall MP is awarded his Fellowship Cartoon upon completion, stood alongside Sir David Amess MP, Ian Mearns MP and Rt Hon John Bercow MP.

In conclusion I would like to formally place on record my sincere thanks to all the dozens of people from all the various companies I have spent time with for being so open and generous with their time. I have found the whole Fellowship experience to be very instructive and informative and whilst it does involve a considerable commitment I believe it was very worthwhile.

By David Nuttall, Member of Parliament for Bury North

Interested in hosting an MP or Peer for a day as part of an IPT Fellowship? We are always looking for new host organisations from across all of the UK. To find out more about how to get involved in an IPT Fellowship, please contact:

Liz Dawson

Parliamentary Affairs Manager

0207 839 9405

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For more information on the Fellowship programme please contact a member of the Fellowship team:

Elizabeth Dawson

Parliamentary Affairs Manager

0207 839 9405

Alex Reeves

Parliamentary Affairs Officer

0207 839 9412

Radhika Madlani

Parliamentary Affairs Officer

0207 839 9404