HoC 85mm(Green).tif

Welsh Affairs Committee

Oral evidence: Broadcasting in Wales, HC 620

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Ordered by the House of Commons to be published on 7 December 2022.

Watch the meeting (Welsh)

Watch the meeting (With simultaneous translation)

Members present: Stephen Crabb (Chair); Virginia Crosbie; Wayne David; Geraint Davies; Ben Lake; Rob Roberts; Beth Winter.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Member present: Kevin Brennan.

Questions 32-92


I: Siân Doyle, CEO, S4C, Phil Henfrey, Head of News & Programmes, ITV Cymru Wales, and Rhuanedd Richards, Director, BBC Cymru Wales.

Written evidence from witnesses:

- S4C

ITV Cymru Wales

- BBC Cymru Wales

Examination of witnesses

Witnesses: Siân Doyle, Phil Henfrey and Rhuanedd Richards.

Q32            Chair: Bore da. Good morning. Welcome to this meeting of the Welsh Affairs Committee. We are delighted to be joined this morning by Rhuanedd Richards, director of BBC Cymru Wales, Phil Henfrey, who is head of news and programmes at ITV Cymru Wales, and Siân Doyle, chief executive of S4C. They are here this morning to help us with our ongoing inquiry into broadcasting in Wales.

I will kick off the discussion this morning by asking each of you whether you feel that the distinctive role of public service broadcasting in Wales is as strongly appreciated as it has been in the past within Government. I am talking about Government at UK level, principally, but also the Welsh Government, who take a close interest in these things as well. Or do you feel that public service broadcasting and the ethos around it is under threat?

Rhuanedd Richards: On whether it is appreciated enough, as broadcasters I think we can shout out a little bit more and be very proud of what we achieve between us and the contribution we make through PSB. I would argue that that contribution is hugely significant on a cultural, democratic and economic basis. Culturally, Wales would not have a permanent, full-time symphony orchestra without the BBC. Over a million hours of Welsh-language listening to Radio Cymru would not happen without public service broadcasting. English-language radio, with a national radio station that is largely speech-based, would not happen without the support of public service broadcasting. And would we have seen a tripling of audiences viewing women’s football in Wales on the TV without our support? Probably not.

Democratically, would the people of Wales know about the decisions taken in their name without the involvement of public service broadcasters—ITV, S4C and the BBC? I doubt it. I doubt they would receive that detailed information about decisions taken by you in Westminster specifically for Wales, or in the Senedd, without the significant coverage invested in by all of us as broadcasters.

On the economic contribution, the creative industries in Wales have grown so quickly over the last decade, and their contribution to the wider economy has been enormous, with employment in the creative industries in the Cardiff and surrounding regions, for example, growing by 53% since 2012. The BBC specifically contributes over £200 million every year to the Welsh economy and over 2,000 jobs. Despite the licence fee raising £187 million in Wales, the BBC spends £205 million in Wales every single year. As I say, that is a very significant contribution. We are proud of that, we are proud of what it achieves, and we are proud of the breadth and the depth of those services.

Phil Henfrey: I suppose in answer to the question, “Does public service broadcasting still matter?” I would echo what Rhuanedd said. Of course it does. Public service broadcasting matters in the UK, but it particularly matters in Wales. You only have to look at how there are several hundred channels available to audiences in Wales, and there is only one commercial channel—ITV—that is providing content for and about Wales. So in terms of the contribution that we make as a public service broadcaster, it is really significant in a Welsh context.

You also have to ask yourself the question, “You create the content, but is there an appetite for that content?” I think that is at the heart of your question. The answer is very much so. The evening news programme, which is in effect the only alternative to the BBC’s journalism in Wales, still attracts an audience that would fill the Principality Stadium twice over, and it does that on a nightly basis. Our website will attract some 2 million page views to Welsh content every month, which is double what it was doing a year ago.

A really crucial point to make, though, is that this does not just happen. It happens because it sits within a regulatory framework that has enabled it to happen. Frankly, the fact is that that regulatory framework is hopelessly out of date. It was conceived in an era when Amazon was still a book store, when Netflix was posting DVDs and before Apple had even invented the iPhone. I want to continue to live in a Wales where, when you type “Wales” into a search bar, you get more results than documentaries about underwater mammals. Again, that is not just going to happen.

I think the media Bill really recognises the globalisation of content and the fact that, as content increasingly becomes globalised, access to that content will be concentrated around a smaller number of global players. The media Bill recognises that and looks to put in place provisions that secure prominence, inclusion and, indeed, fair value, so that if you are a provider of public service content, viewers in Wales will be able to find it and access it. That is vitally important.

So my perspective on the key reasons as I sit here is that the media Bill has the support of Government, the support of the regulator and the support of the broadcasters, but it now does really need to happen because the world is moving very quickly and its provisions will secure the future for public service broadcasting.

Chair: Thank you very much for that. We will come on to the media Bill in a bit more detail in a moment.

Siân Doyle: I concur with Phil and Rhuanedd, but it is even more so for S4C as a public service broadcaster. Our role from a Welsh language perspective is so central to everything that we do, and that would not be able to survive within a different framework. If you look at “The Road to Qatar”, which we all loved in November, we were able to provide that through the medium of Welsh and we had so many people engage with it—our engagement was up 1,000%. We also cover things like the Eisteddfod, which are a core cultural part of what we do. Then there is education, and our role within the language. It is so fundamental—having seen the census yesterday, it is even more so now—in terms of our engagement with people. We are now wanting to be on those platforms and be available to all ages.

As a public service, we have such a fundamental role and, if we were not around, we would have a real issue with the Welsh language. People want to engage with a service that actually reflects their day-to-day life and I think that that is a core part of what S4C does: whether through news, sports or drama, there is that reflection of the Welsh language. Our reach is not only to Wales; a third of our viewers are outside, in the UK and worldwide. Fundamentally, the answer to your question is yes.

Q33            Chair: On the media landscape that is evolving, as Mr Henfrey mentioned, hundreds of channels are available but a few global players are increasingly dominant. What is the mood within S4C about the landscape? Is the environment out there increasingly terrifying and challenging, or is it creating a world of opportunities?

Siân Doyle: I think you have to look at it as a world of opportunity. It is quite scary how much content there is available, but to be able to create that in the Welsh language is really exciting for us. The core for us is being able not only to create the content, but to have it available on the platforms that people can choose from. That is fundamental: there is nothing stopping Welsh drama being sold internationally now and being available everywhere, and creation of that from the service is key.

Yes, it is a big world out there and there is lots of choice, but we have to punch above our weight. We have been punching above our weight, to be fair: there is some amazing talent and skills that we are keeping in Wales that is able to service those viewers. And, with subtitles, the language is not the barrier any more; we can all talk about “Squid Game”, even if we do not watch it. That creates a really exciting opportunity.

Q34            Chair: Mr Henfrey also mentioned the importance of the media Bill, and progress on that in Parliament. Is that as important to S4C as it is for the larger networks?

Siân Doyle: It is absolutely fundamental for us for people to be able to find us, and to be prominent. Being part of that service in Wales for viewers is absolutely crucial, and it would be a real concern if we did not have that.

Rhuanedd Richards: I would say that is true for the BBC as well. The director-general is making a speech today, as it happens, looking at the future and imagining these services provided through internet only—it may be hard to imagine, but that is the direction of travel in terms of TV, radio, news and so forth—and even a position where linear viewing could be delivered through the internet.

Within that, we need a framework that safeguards prominence, ensures good connections, so that viewers and audiences in Wales can access those services easily, and guarantees prominence of Welsh content for audiences in Wales. As we develop our online platforms for the BBC—iPlayer, BBC Sounds, BBC News Online and BBC Sport Online—we have to make sure that those products can respond to location as well as to people’s interests, so that we can surface content that remains relevant to people’s lives.

Q35            Chair: Mr Henfrey, could you expand on what you were intimating when you mentioned that?

Phil Henfrey: The answer to your question is “both”, really—it is both a threat and an opportunity. There is the opportunity to create content for these new platforms. ITV, together with ITV Studios and Boom Cymru, employs nearly 350 people in Wales, creating content for viewers in Wales, but also for viewers across the UK and, indeed, around the world. There is a huge opportunity in that.

If we had been sitting here 10 years ago talking about this, we would have been talking about the future of multichannel television and the way that audiences are using the internet to get content in different ways. Ten years ago, we were a television channel, pretty much; that was all we did in Wales. Now we have a website, and that reaches audiences for news in ways that it could not 10 years ago. We still have a very strong television channel and very strong content on the channel, and I think that will continue to be the case for many years to come—I think audiences will continue to come to television—but increasingly, viewers want to access content in different ways, so they’ve got the website.

Tomorrow, ITV is launching something very significant, which is ITVX. Again, the world has moved on; it has moved on from catch-up. Ten years ago, we would have been talking about ITV Player. Now, ITV Hub is becoming ITVX, and ITVX is more than catch-up: it is supercharging streaming. It becomes a destination for audiences that are not coming to linear channels, as Rhuanedd was saying. They are accessing content in different ways, and we want to be in that space. That is what ITVX is all about, and what is really exciting about that is that ITVX is being launched with news right at the heart of it. It is one of the first streaming services to be launched in Britain that will have news on it, and within the next 12 months there will be a rail specifically for Welsh content. That gives me and my producers in Cardiff a really exciting opportunity to share content that we produce in Wales with audiences not just in Wales, but right across the UK.

There is great opportunity in this. I think ITV has always been a self-help organisation; it is always about, “What can we do in this market? How can we capitalise on this market?” But at the same time, with the speed and the profound nature of the change that is happening, what the media Bill does is create a level playing field to compete. It is not about a leg-up; it is about enabling providers of content that are specific to audiences in the UK, and particularly in Wales, to compete with companies that are making global deals and telling global stories with global budgets.

Q36            Chair: What is your understanding of the delay on the part of Government? Why haven’t we seen more progress on the Bill? Is it your understanding that there are still key questions to resolve within Government around issues of prominence, or has that argument been won by the public service broadcasters?

Phil Henfrey: As I said in my opening answer, I think it is one of those areas of change in the legislation that seems, to my mind, to have support, whether that is within Government or from politicians, the regulator or the broadcasters. There seems to be a coalition of support for this, and the delay on that level is frustrating because the urgency is there. I have been doing this job for nearly 15 years and my observation is that the pace of change is quickening. It is quickening every year. The biggest enemy in all this is complacency that the decisions that will need to be taken in a year’s time are different from the decisions that need to be taken now. There is an opportunity to take them now.

Q37            Rob Roberts: Siân, you used the words “punching above our weight”. We were pleased to tour the BBC last week, and Rhuanedd used exactly the same words several times. Why do you think that is, and is that sustainable going forward?

Siân Doyle: I think the Welsh language has so much opportunity for people within the sector. We employ about 2,300 people in the sector across Wales and that creates a fantastic production environment. There is a real appetite to create something through the medium of Welsh. As I said earlier, the language is not as much of a barrier any more because of subtitling, with things like the Nordi dramas and so on; these things carry now. There is a real excitement in our country to create something through the medium of Welsh and be able to really take that from a platform not only in Wales but outside it.

Rhuanedd Richards: I think it is to do with the strength of the sector over many years because of the position of S4C and the BBC over the decades, but also because of quality. Wales is now the fastest growing area anywhere in the UK when it comes to primary commissions in video and drama. That is a fantastic record. That is happening across the industry. It is Netflix when it comes to “The Crown” and “Sex Education”; it is ITV when it comes to “The Pembrokeshire Murders”; it is S4C and the BBC with “Craith/Hidden” and “Keeping Faith/Un Bore Mercher”.

Over the next 12 to 18 months, another six major dramas commissioned by BBC Wales will be filmed across Wales, with production companies across Wales benefiting from that investment. That is because the network trusts us to deliver and to drive up figures on our digital platforms. Last year, we had 70 million people accessing BBC Wales content on iPlayer. We are really proud of that. It is about quality. It has to be about quality in the world we are living in now, where we are competing in the global market. We are proud to put the hallmark of Wales on our dramas in particular.

Siân Doyle: Some of the comments we had on the football were very pleasing—well, not so much for my colleagues to my right!—because a lot of people wanted to watch it on S4C rather than elsewhere. We can compete, even on S4C, with the BBC and ITV in our commentary. That is incredibly pleasing to see, with our pundits and experts. We should be very proud of the sector and what that sector creates in Wales.

Q38            Kevin Brennan: Bore da. Diolch am ddod bore ‘ma. Thank you for coming this morning. Rhuanedd, would devolving broadcasting to Wales in any way enhance or strengthen public service broadcasting?

Rhuanedd Richards: I have been asked this question a few times over recent months because of the inquiry in Wales by the Welsh Government, with the panel that has been set up there. My answer is the same here as it was there: it is not for me to express a view on the devolution of broadcasting—

Q39            Kevin Brennan: Do you have a view of that? Doesn’t the BBC have a view of that as an organisation?

Rhuanedd Richards: No, the BBC doesn’t have a view on the devolution of broadcasting, because, quite simply, it would affect our impartiality. Unfortunately, I will be giving the same answer here: that is a matter for you as politicians.

Q40            Kevin Brennan: I think the panel has been taking evidence in private. When you spoke to them, is that is what you told them?

Rhuanedd Richards: I told them exactly that.

Q41            Kevin Brennan: And you are saying the same thing in public as you told them in private.

Rhuanedd Richards: That is exactly my view. When questioned on it, we were mainly asked factual questions.

Q42            Kevin Brennan: Is it just too hot a potato for the BBC to express a view on?

Rhuanedd Richards: It is a political opinion. The BBC is not in the business of going about trying to influence Government policy.

Q43            Kevin Brennan: Did you give any evidence of a technical nature about any of the issues that might occur to do with spectrum or Ofcom regulations?

Rhuanedd Richards: Not directly, no, we did not. It was all about the nature of our business: what we do, the competition we face, our budgets and so forth.

Q44            Kevin Brennan: Siân, what is your response to that?

Siân Doyle: It is exactly the same.

Kevin Brennan: I thought it might be.

Siân Doyle: Sorry to disappoint.

Q45            Kevin Brennan: Would it be fair to describe this whole thing about broadcasting devolution as a solution in search of a problem?

Siân Doyle: I cannot comment. We are exactly the same. We will operate within the politics and the structure that you guys want us to operate in. It is not for us to talk about the merits of yes or no in this discussion.

Q46            Kevin Brennan: Phil, from ITV’s point of view, you can probably be a bit more frank than these two organisations, can’t you?

Phil Henfrey: I wish I could. Ultimately, it is a matter for politicians. To your question, whenever there is a discussion around this, it is important to recognise the complexity of the broadcasting environment and how it has developed into what it is. It is important to ask, “What is the problem that we are trying to solve?” with whatever approach.

Q47            Kevin Brennan: And what is your answer to that? What is the problem?

Phil Henfrey: From my perspective, it is first order, second order, third order. Right now, we are facing profound change in what we do because of the globalisation of content and global platform providers. Right now, ITV’s position is that the media Bill offers some form of redress to level that playing field to enable us to compete. That is where our priority lies. I cannot really go much further than that.

Q48            Kevin Brennan: You mentioned ITVX earlier. It has automatically become ITVX on my phone. I did not have to do anything.

Phil Henfrey: I am pleased to hear that. That is a relief.

Q49            Kevin Brennan: You also mentioned Welsh content. The media Bill is all about prominence and about not locking public service broadcast content away in a cupboard where no one can find it, which is what is happening because of technological changes. Where is the prominence for Welsh content on ITVX?

Phil Henfrey: The best answer I can give you is that it will be there now. If you had asked me that question a year ago about the ITV Hub, I would have given you a very long answer about why it might not be there, whereas I can give you a very short answer: it is part of the road map and it will be there.

Q50            Kevin Brennan: When?

Phil Henfrey: The way we look at today’s launch is that this is the start of a journey. It is probably a year of launch. There are an awful lot of features that will come to ITVX over the next 12 months.

Q51            Kevin Brennan: Will it be possible to watch ITV Wales live in its totality on ITVX, or will I simply have to try to find ITV Wales and other content individually?

Phil Henfrey: Those are all good questions. Within the next year—it could be sooner—you will be able to find on ITVX ITV Wales live, as you just described. Also, there will be the opportunity to catch up on Welsh content via the ITVX platform, however you have come to ITV—whether you have come in via the website, gone direct to ITVX or been attracted there by some share on social media, you will be able to find and discover Welsh content on the Welsh rail. That will include our programming, whether that is our full “Wales at Six” or “Backstage”. Importantly, too, it gives us the opportunity to create new content in forms that would not sit well on the channel or the website. There will be new content—right now, I do not quite know the shape of it. There will also be the opportunity to go live, so if a major story is happening in Wales, you will be able to go to ITVX and watch that.

Q52            Kevin Brennan: Thank you; that answers that question. Finally, to Rhuanedd and Siân in turn, how are you responding to the rising use of on demand in subscription services, particularly in relation to young people, news and social media?

Rhuanedd Richards: First, it is important to remember that the BBC is still being accessed by around 75% of 16 to 25-year-olds every single week. That is a really important fact. That is not only through iPlayer and our digital platforms, but also through some of our other services, such as education services or Sounds, and so on. It is important that our platforms are universal. We get that there is a challenge there. However, we must remember that the BBC is still more popular than Netflix, Amazon and Disney all put together. What is important is that we maintain that and we still create the right content for the platform.

The platform offers new opportunities, I would say, to attract new audiences who will not come traditionally to linear platforms. My children watch live sport, and that is pretty much it when it comes to a schedule. They are accessing their content through subscribed video on demand, including the BBC. We are very aware of the challenge, and we have to keep thinking creatively to address it.

Q53            Kevin Brennan: Okay. Siân, do you have any comments, particularly in light of the census figures yesterday?

Siân Doyle: In November we had a million views on our TikTok service, of which news is one of them, provided by ITV. We have our own brand in Hansh as well, and I am delighted to see year on year that the number of our 16 to 44-year-olds is growing quite significantly. We are looking at the content that is going to engage them. We had this amazing programme called “Pen Petrol”, which was digital only and highly exciting for the younger viewer, and then we brought it on to our linear channel. We have been really focused in the last year on the 16 to 24-year-olds through our Hansh and making sure we are on the platforms they are on. Frankly, they don’t really want to watch TV with their mums and dads. They are watching TikTok, where we have seen some phenomenal growth—no more so than in November with all the football and everything else we were doing.

Chair: Geraint, you have a supplementary. You will have to be very brief, and I would ask the panel to be brief in their answers too.

Q54            Geraint Davies: Rhuanedd, on the issue of Netflix and other providers, it does seem to me that these are massive global providers, who could be taken over by Elon Musk or someone. We are in the midst of a cost of living crisis, where people are counting their pennies, and the new Culture Secretary is saying, “The future will be a mix of licence fee and other income”. Have you studied how public service providers in other countries have been eroded, as it were, by Netflix and other global players? What do you think the Government should be doing about this? Your duty is not just to entertain but to inform and educate, whereas Netflix just fill people with entertainment and then later on they might use the platform to influence people in other ways, possibly politically.

Rhuanedd Richards: We are talking about huge amounts of money being ploughed into premium drama. It can be eye-watering. Competing within that global market is a challenge for the BBC. There is no doubt about that, but our duty is to ensure we can deliver our mission, as you say. When it comes to discussing future funding, we are open to debate. I believe the licence fee has delivered value for all. I think it continues to do so at £159 a year, or £13.25 a month. Within that debate, we must not lose sight of some of the key things that underpin our mission and delivery. That includes safeguarding impartiality, ensuring that we contribute to the creative economy, ensuring we can still inform, educate and entertain, and delivering value to all audiences.

Despite that competition, we are still reaching 90% of the people of Wales every single week. I think that is something to be proud of. This is not a race to the bottom. We want to ensure a really strong future for public service broadcasting, both in Wales and the UK. Quite often we are the envy of the rest of the world, in that we have got such a strong public service sector. I think all of that needs to be taken into consideration when future models are considered.

Q55            Geraint Davies: Okay, so you are coming out fighting. Phil, anything to add?

Chair: Very briefly, please.

Phil Henfrey: I would say that when it comes to the funding, everything that ITV does is provided free to the audience, supported by advertising. It is no drain on the taxpayer. Look at the fact that, as well as entertainment and creating programming that travels across the UK and the world, we provide public service content that is free to viewers.

Q56            Geraint Davies: Siân, collaboration with Netflix, possibly, instead of competition—what do you think?

Siân Doyle: I am just going to say, “Watch this space.” We would want to talk to some of these guys about putting Welsh language content on there and selling it. That is something we should be proud of. We should have those discussions, as long as we maintain our uniqueness of creating Welsh content that is driven by Welsh culture. But the budgets Netflix has are eye-watering compared with the settlement fee that we get.

Q57            Rob Roberts: Bore da—good morning, everybody. I have a few different things to cover. I will try to be brief, and I hope we get some brief answers. Rhuanedd, specifically, you mentioned impartiality. Secretary of State Donelan at the DCMS Committee said that the BBC has “a great way to go” on impartiality—she cited Gary Lineker and Emily Maitliss—and: “They have a plan to deal with it”. What is the plan?

Rhuanedd Richards: It is a really strong priority for the BBC, as you know, since Tim Davie become director-general. Over the past 12 months, I believe 93% of our staff have gone through impartiality training, looking at how we review our own impartiality and thematic impartiality. We have scrutiny of how we operate internally. We now have a clear set of guidelines, with which our presenters, reporters, journalists and senior leaders all have to conform. That framework is in place, and I think that Ofcom said that we are making good progress against that action plan. I am really confident that we can improve in future and that, in fact, we are still well trusted by the people of Wales and the UK to deliver impartial services.

Q58            Rob Roberts: That brings me on nicely to a “beige, soggy consensus”—you all knew this was coming—between politicians and the media in Wales, or so we are told. A “robust press” should apply to Cardiff a little bit more of that feistiness that they bring to Westminster politics, and that “would do everyone a world of good”, said Mr Harri. Bang on the money there, wasn’t he, Phil?

Phil Henfrey: No, I don’t think he is. If you were to ask me whether holding to account matters in my newsroom, I would say absolutely, it is part of the daily conversation. When we are covering a story, one of the questions we are asking is: who are we holding to account and how are we holding them to account? It is part of our dialogue and one of the reasons why people get out of bed in the morning to work on our team. I do not really subscribe to that description.

In terms of scrutiny, the wider news market in which we operate—this probably underlines our importance—is a weaker news market. When a press conference is being held in Wales, we as ITV will be there, the BBC will be there and S4C will be there, but there are few other players in that market. That is an issue of concern, but again it just underlines the importance of what we do.

Rhuanedd Richards: May I answer that? I would like to put up a robust defence of journalism in Wales. I do that in response to Guto Harri—a former colleague of mine, I should say—because on the day he said that to the Committee, I reviewed our news coverage and what was making headlines on our BBC News webpages. We were covering the criticism of the First Minister’s decision to go to Qatar; we were covering the fact that Members of the Senedd were criticising the Welsh Government for avoiding scrutiny; we were running stories scrutinising the new sex education policy in Wales; there was scrutiny of the decision to move asylum seekers to a hotel in Aberconwy; and we had a political story related to nurses’ pay, where we were holding the Welsh Government to account. So, while Mr Harri was giving evidence to the Committee, there were five stories that absolutely held the feet of the institution—the Welsh Government, the Senedd—to the fire. Far from “soggy” journalism, I would say that we are doing quite a good job, in a phrase we have used before, of punching above our weight.

Siân Doyle: I agree. We represent Wales—all of it—with the BBC providing some of our news service, and ITV doing a lot of our current affairs. We also have our own news service on our app. We absolutely cover Wales and represent it in the right way. We have a real passion for doing so, and no more so than through covid in terms of creating a local service for the community.

Q59            Rob Roberts: I have one brief question before I hand back. All those things that you just mentioned, Rhuanedd, are wonderful things. How difficult is it to get cut-through on things? Everyone watches Sky News, or 24-hour news, and everyone watches the main BBC and main ITV news—the main news coverage. We saw it a lot during covid, when there were different rules here and different rules there. How difficult is it to get the Wales messages across? “ITV News” is half an hour after the main news, or before the main news in that case. It is really difficult to get that message through, isn’t it?

Rhuanedd Richards: I think that having a strong online news presence with BBC Wales online helps. Over 4 million people are now visiting our BBC Wales online news coverage every single week. That helps, because we can provide explainers and in-depth journalism to explain the divergence in policy sometimes, or the nuances that you perhaps can’t get through in a two-minute item on “BBC Wales Today”. You talked about covid in particular. What we saw throughout the pandemic was a growing appetite. For example, audiences for the First Minister’s press conferences in Cardiff and the Prime Minister’s press conferences in London grew and grew as people realised that there was a divergence in policy, and that they needed to understand the difference between the rules and regulations set by the Westminster Government and by the Welsh Government. In some ways, covid did more to highlight that there are sometimes differences in policy than pretty much any other issue since the beginning of devolution.

Of course, it can be hard. It can be hard when there is not a rich written press in Wales. That doesn’t exist. A lot of the responsibility for covering our national institutions falls on S4C, ITV and the BBC, but that is not to say that we do not do a good job of it. “BBC Wales Today”—which is 60 this year, by the way—is one of the most-watched 6.30 pm news programmes throughout the whole UK. Like I said, we are providing comprehensive coverage of our news online and on the radio as well.

Phil Henfrey: Just to add to that, the ITV evening news programme was extended to an hour in February. Part of its mission is to be one of the least metropolitan news services in the UK, to recognise what is happening in the nations and regions. If you watch that programme, which comes after half an hour of dedicated news about Wales, then you see the UK being better reflected back to viewers in the UK than you might have seen within a half-hour programme.

Q60            Chair: Before I bring in Beth Winter, may I follow up by asking a quick question about the relationship between impartiality and trust? Is that not the big issue of the day? As we have talked about already, young people are increasingly using all kinds of other platforms to get their news and information. Isn’t that just within society? It doesn’t come from the fact that there is poor-quality journalism; it can be very good-quality journalism. But there is just this breaking away from trust in the so-called mainstream media, is there not?

Rhuanedd Richards: There is so much of it, isn’t there? Perhaps young people in particular struggle to know where to go to seek facts, which is why we are pursuing that a lot more. Far more of our online journalism goes into explaining complex stories in a very clear and detailed way. You will see the work of Ros Atkins across our services. There is a duty on the BBC to ensure that we are in that space—that we are fact-checking and challenging things. The perception of the BBC as an impartial, trusted service is more critical than ever before. I was reading over the past few days that even in the United States, the BBC is the most trusted news provider. Maintaining that for the future is critical to our mission. It is also very important to the way we serve audiences.

Phil Henfrey: Just to pick up on that theme, we take the values of impartiality and accuracy that we have in broadcasting into the online space. That is really important. We do not change our approach to journalism because it is for an online audience. The things that are really important to us in the television sphere, which have been important to us for 50-plus years, are as important for our online audiences.

I think that is being recognised. When you see the surveys that our regulator does, that trust figure is much higher than most news providers in the rest of the UK. I think there is a direct correlation between our values of accuracy and impartiality that lead to that trust.

Q61            Beth Winter: Ga i bigo ar rywbeth wnaethoch chi sôn amdano, Rhuanedd, ynglŷn â’r gwahaniaeth rhwng Cymru a Phrydain, neu Loegr? Ydych chi’n becso neu ydych chi’n cael sgyrsiau gyda’r BBC ar draws Prydain am y ffordd nad yw’r BBC, yn fy marn i, yn adlewyrchu neu’n cynnwys digon o beth sy’n digwydd o fewn Cymru a bod lleisiau Cymru neu ardaloedd eraill dros Brydain ddim yn cael eu hadlewyrchu digon? Mae’r mwyafrif o bobl yn dal i wylio’r BBC am 6 o’r gloch hefyd.

(Translation) I would just like to pick up on something you mentioned, Rhuanedd, about the difference between Wales and Britain, or England. Are you worried about, or do you have conversations with the BBC across Britain regarding the way that the BBC doesn’t, in my opinion, reflect or include enough of what is going on within Wales—that the voices of the people of Wales or other areas of Britain are not reflected enough? Also, the majority of people still watch the BBC at 6 o’clock.

Rhuanedd Richards: Wrth gwrs. Ac mae hon yn drafodaeth barhaus, yn sicr. Byddwn i’n dadlau bod y sefyllfa wedi gwella’n sylweddol dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf yma, yn rhannol oherwydd covid, fel rwy’n dweud, a’r ddealltwriaeth sydd yna bellach, nid yn unig ymhlith ein cynulleidfaoedd ni ond hefyd ymhlith darlledwyr, ynglŷn â’r pwysleisiau gwahanol sy’n bodoli o fewn y cenhedloedd gwahanol o fewn y Deyrnas Unedig. Os gymera’ i’r bore yma, er enghraifft, roedd yna adroddiad ar ynni gwynt yn dod o Gwm Rhymni ar “BBC Breakfast”. Rydyn ni’n gweld llawer mwy o hynny.

Wrth i fwy o swyddi newyddion y rhwydwaith gael eu symud allan o Lundain i’r cenhedloedd, fel sydd wedi digwydd yng Nghymru, nawr, mae’r timau sy’n gohebu ar wyddoniaeth ac ar newid hinsawdd wedi’u lleoli yng Nghymru ar ran y rhwydwaith, ac rydyn ni’n gweld bod straeon yn dod o bersbectif gwahanol ac mae hynny’n beth cadarnhaol. Rydyn ni hefyd yn gweld llawer mwy o Hywel Griffith yn gohebu ar newyddion 6 a 10 wrth gwrs yn rheolaidd.

Y datblygiad mawr arall dwi’n meddwl sy’n gadarnhaol, sydd wedi bod yn ddiweddar, yw’r ffaith bod newyddion 6 a 10, y “Today” programme ar Radio 4 a “Newsnight” bellach yn darlledu o Gaerdydd yn rheolaidd iawn. Mae hynny’n sicr i’w groesawu. Maen nhw’n chwilio am straeon gwreiddiol ac yn chwilio am leisiau newydd, ac maen nhw’n siarad gyda sefydliadau ac yn chwilota straeon newydd, ac mae hynny ddim ond yn gallu cyfoethogi, dwi’n meddwl, y ddarpariaeth ar lefel Brydeinig yn ogystal ag ar lefel Gymreig. Ond ydw i’n aml yn gwthio agenda Cymru? Wrth gwrs fy mod i. Yn yr un modd, rydyn ni’n rhannu straeon bellach rhwng y cenhedloedd, llawer iawn mwy nag oedd yn digwydd yn y gorffennol.

(Translation) Yes, and that is definitely an ongoing discussion. I would argue that the situation has improved drastically over the past few years, partly because of covid, as I said, with that understanding we have now, not only among our audiences, but among broadcasters, about the different emphases within the different nations in the UK. If I take this morning, for example, there was a report on wind power from Cwm Rhymni on “BBC Breakfast”. We are seeing much more of this.

When we are looking at network news jobs, more of those are moving out of London into the nations, as has happened in Wales, so now we have the teams reporting on science and climate change located in Wales on behalf of the network, and we are seeing stories from a different perspective, and that is positive. We are also seeing a lot more of Hywel Griffith regularly reporting on the BBC News at 6 and at 10.

The other huge and important development recently is that the news at 6 and 10 and the “Today” programme on Radio 4 and “Newsnight” now regularly broadcast from Cardiff. That is certainly to be welcomed. They are looking for original stories, new voices and are speaking with organisations and looking for new stories, and I believe that can only enrich the provision on a UK level and a Welsh level. Do I very often push the Welsh agenda forward? Of course I do. In the same way, we share stories between the nations much more than used to happen.

Q62            Beth Winter: Ond mae mwy o waith i’w wneud?

(Translation) But there is more to be done?

Rhuanedd Richards: Oes.

(Translation) Yes, there is.

Phil Henfrey: We mentioned ITVX earlier. It is the first UK streaming service to have news on it. We did a programme for S4C on Monday about the health service—an extraordinary story about a gentleman who had fallen in his garden and had to wait a long time, unfortunately, for an ambulance, such that he was covered in a tarpaulin because it was raining outside. They were extraordinary pictures. That story worked for the S4C half-hour programme, “Y Byd ar Bedwar”, but the story has then found its way to the ITVX news rail, which can be accessed right across the UK. So I think there is opportunity in these new platforms, too. Television has limits, in terms of time and the amount of time there is to tell stories, whereas online there are fewer limits on that. As time goes on, I think we will see more coverage of Wales in the UK than maybe you have done in the past.

Q63            Beth Winter: Diolch yn fawr. I symud ymlaen, mae llawer o raglenni nawr yn cael eu cynhyrchu yng Nghymru, fel “Doctor Who” a “Casualty”. I ba raddaurwy’n mynd i ofyn i Siân yn gyntafydych chi’n credu eu bod nhw wir yn adlewyrchu’r bobl a’r gwahanol lefydd yng Nghymru? Ydyn nhw wir yn gwneud hynny ac yn darlunio “Cymreig”? 

(Translation) Thank you. Moving on, there are several programmes now being produced in Wales, such as “Doctor Who” and “Casualty”. To what extent—I will ask Siân first—do you think that they really reflect the people and the different areas in Wales? Do they really do that? Do they really depict “Welsh”?

Siân Doyle: Dwi’n credu eu bod nhw’n dod â rhywbeth i Gymru yn bendant, o ran yr economi, achos maen nhw hefyd yn helpu gyda sgiliau a chadw pobl i fewn sy’n rhan fawr o’r sector greadigol. O ran ein rhan ni fel S4C, rydyn ni nawr yn comisiynu saith drama y flwyddyn nesaf—ac mae’r rheiny i gyd yn mynd i fod ynglŷn â storïau Cymreig sydd â’u hanfod yng Nghymru. Mae hwnna’n hynod o bwysig i S4C. Rydyn ni’n gwneud un gyda’r BBC fel co-pro, “Pen-Y-Bryn”, ac mae hwnna i gyd yn Ystradgynlais. Dwi’n credu ein bod ni’n gallu herio rhai o’r dramâu mawr a gwneud yn siŵr ein bod ni, fel S4C, yn creu’r gwasanaeth a’r dramâu sydd â’u hunaniaeth yng Nghymru a’r stori yng Nghymru beth bynnag.

(Translation) I think they bring something to Wales, definitely, as regards the economy, because they also help skills, and retain people, and that is a huge part of the creative sector. For our part, in S4C, we are now commissioning seven dramas next year and they will all involve Welsh stories based in Wales. That is very important to S4C. We are working on one with the BBC as a co-pro, “Pen-Y-Bryn”, and that will all be in Ystradgynlais. I do think we can challenge some of the major dramas and ensure that we, as S4C, create a service and produce dramas with a Welsh identity, and with the stories set in Wales.

Q64            Beth Winter: Ydyn nhw’n dangos portread cywir o’r bobl a’r wlad?

(Translation.) Do they depict people and the country correctly?

Siân Doyle: Ein dramâu ni? Dwi’n credu ei bod hi’n bwysig iawn bod S4C—mae’n un o’n blaenoriaethau ni—yn adlewyrchu Cymru yn ei holl gyfanrwydd. Ydyn ni yno’n barod? Na, ddim o gwbl. Mae gennym ni waith i’w wneud. Ond mae’n flaenoriaeth fawr i ni fel sianel ein bod ni’n adlewyrchu Cymru. Mae’n ddiddorol, wedi rhoi “Gogglebocs Cymru” drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg arno, sut mae hwnna wedi dod a lot o sŵn ynglŷn â sut ydyn ni’n adlewyrchu teuluoedd yng Nghymru yn gywir—teuluoedd o’r gogledd, o’r de, o’r dwyrain. Mae hwnna wedi bod yn llwyddiant ysgubol i S4C. Mae’r rhaglen yn adlewyrchu Cymru yn ei chyfanrwydd, sydd yn ffantastig.

(Translation.) In our dramas? I think it is very important that S4C does this. One of our priorities is reflecting Wales in its entirety. Are we there already? No, not at all—we have work to do—but it is a huge priority for us, as a channel, that we reflect Wales. It is interesting how “Gogglebocs Cymru”, through the medium of Welsh, has created a lot of noise about how we have correctly reflected families from across Wales—families from the north, the south, the east. That has been a huge success for S4C. The programme reflects the whole of Wales, which is fantastic.

Rhuanedd Richards: Fydden i’n dweud bod yna ddau beth sy’n mynd ymlaen gyda ni. Mae yna ddramâu sy’n cael eu comisiynu sydd ddim yn portreadu Cymru. Dwi ddim eto wedi gofyn bod un o’r Daleks yn siarad Cymraeg ond pwy a ŵyr, efallai digwyddith e rywbryd. Ond mae gennym ni “Doctor Who”, “His Dark Materials”, “Industry” ac yn y blaen, sydd ddim o reidrwydd wedi ffocysu ar bortreadu Cymru ond sy’n dod â buddsoddiad sylweddol i’n heconomi ni.

Ond mae trwch ein rhaglenni ni yn portreadu Cymru. Ac mae trwch ohonyn nhw, ryw 75% erbyn hyn, yn cyrraedd y rhwydwaith hefyd, os meddyliwn ni am “Hidden” yn y gogledd, “Snowdonia: A Year on the Farm”, “Wonders of the Celtic Deep”, sy’n edrych ar ein hardaloedd arfordirol ni a’r cymunedau o’u hamgylch nhw, ac “In My Skin”, sy’n bortread real iawn, ro’n i’n teimlo, o gymuned yng Nghaerdydd. Felly, dwi’n eithaf balch ein bod ni’n llwyddo i wneud hynny fwyfwy. Fe fydd y dramâu dwi eisoes wedi cyfeirio atyn nhw sy’n cael eu comisiynu dros y flwyddyn nesaf, i gyd wedi’u lleoli yng Nghymru ac yn portreadu Cymru yn ei chyfanrwydd.

(Translation.) I would say that there are two things going on with us. There are dramas commissioned that do not portray us; I have not asked that the Daleks speak Welsh—perhaps that will happen one day—but we have Doctor Who”, His Dark Materials, “Industry” and so on, which do not necessarily depict Wales but have brought a huge investment to our economy.

However, the majority of our programmes do depict Wales, and around 75% of them now reach the network, if we think of “Hidden”, in the north, Snowdonia: A Year on the Farm, “Wonders of the Celtic Deep”, which looks at our coastal areas and the surrounding communities, and “In My Skin”, which is a very real depiction of a community in Cardiff. I am quite proud that we are managing to do more and more of that, and the dramas that I have already mentioned, which are being commissioned over the next year, will all be set in Wales and will depict Wales in its entirety.

Q65            Beth Winter: Phil, unrhyw beth i ychwanegu? Phil, do you have anything to add on accurately portraying Wales, in terms of the content output of ITV?

Phil Henfrey: Yes, I think it is. As both Rhuanedd and Siân have said, I think there is always more to do and further to go, but it is one of those things that, I think, is recognised by commissioners, in terms of, “How do we represent the whole of the UK?” So, I think that signifies a sort of change in the past 10 years or so, and I think you do start to see that, not just through drama. I think, when you are casting for factual programmes or looking for your locations, people are thinking wider than perhaps the inside of the M25. That is always good to see.

Beth Winter: Diolch yn fawr.

Q66            Chair: Thank you, Beth. I will bring in Virginia in a moment, but, just on this subject, I wanted to say to Mr Henfrey that I thought that one of the really outstanding bits of output from Welsh television in recent years, which bridges that gap between creative fiction and real life was “The Pembrokeshire Murders”. Obviously, I have an interest, from coming from then—growing up during the time of those real-life events—but I thought that about both the actual drama that was produced and the follow-up documentary. A number of people from overseas with Welsh connections have told me that they have watched it. Is there more of that to come? Obviously, there is a limit to how many true crimes you can—

Phil Henfrey: I hope so. I would say that that probably started because ITV Wales is based in Wales. It has journalists and programming based in Wales, year in, year out. That sort of story started as a news story; it was a live exclusive some 20 years ago. The journalist stayed in touch with that story, made a BAFTA-winning documentary on it, and then wrote a book on it, which then became a drama. That sort of imbues it with authenticity, and I think that is why it really connected in the way that it did, and why it became such a hit in the UK, and, as you say, then also became a global hit. I think that any sort of story that is inspired by those sorts of means is always going to be really powerful for audiences.

The answer to that question is that there are always things in the pipeline. It is a very competitive business getting things commissioned, but once you get one win, it is easier to get the second.

Rhuanedd Richards: And it shows how we share talent, because I know that the same team behind “The Pembrokeshire Murders” are doing a drama for us based in Llandarcy, on the Llandarcy murders, called “Steeltown Murders”. It is a similar sort of story—a really impactful story that affected that community immensely at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s. And it is just bringing those stories alive, which are still very real today.

Q67            Virginia Crosbie: Bore da. Sut ydych chi’n cefnogi pobl ifanc?

(Translation.) Good morning. How are you supporting young people?

What I am asking is this: in terms of the young people, what are you doing to support them and their skills? How are you stopping them going to Manchester and exporting those skills? How are you ensuring that they actually have a career in the sector?

I have been very fortunate in that I visited S4C’s “Rownd a Rownd” in Porthaethwy and we have obviously got the Aria Studios in Llangefni, so I have seen first hand the impact that this investment can have on the community and on the economy on Ynys Môn. But what are you doing specifically for young people?

Siân Doyle: S4C is so proud that we are not just Cardiff—exactly what you have just said about our investment in Anglesey. Some 28% of our production is up in north Wales, with things like “Rownd a Rownd”. But we do loads for the Welsh young people in terms of skills, things like “It’s My Shout”, our partnership with the Urdd and Screen Alliance Wales. There is so much.

We had 90 trainees and apprentices across our productions between September and November, which is really making sure that we are investing in young people in new skills, staying in Wales through the medium of Welsh, across the whole of the country. So, we are very proud of that.

We also know that it is hard to attract young audiences watching normal TV. So, things like “Gogglebocs Cymru are seeing some amazing attraction of newer audiences. The work that ITV does for us—it’s a great partnership with young journalists, who are a service called “Dim Sbin”, which goes on Instagram and TikTok, where our people want to watch it. And we are incredibly proud, of course, of what we do for Cyw.

Then we have Stwnsh and we also have Hansh, all brands that are Welsh and growing. We had Gemma Collins singing “Yma o Hyd” the other day and had 330,000 people enjoying that pleasure. But we have to be innovative to really bring young people—our audiences, but also to keep the skills through the partnerships we have. Of course, Aria up in Anglesey—we are really proud of that and it is just about to take off with more and more production.

Q68            Virginia Crosbie: Thank you. And the same question to you, Rhuanedd? And I must say that we had a fantastic trip last week, so thank you very much—

Rhuanedd Richards: Thank you for visiting; we really appreciate it. Thank you.

Similarly, we are investing in apprenticeships. We currently have apprentices across news, across Radio Cymru/Radio Wales, marketing and audiences, sport, education, technology, operations and the orchestra, which is fantastic, because they all require different skills.

We are also looking at ensuring that we are attracting apprentices, as well, from under-represented groups, that we are reaching out to communities in order to ensure that, with those apprenticeships, we get greater diversity within our workforce as well. That is really important to me, that our workforce in BBC Wales represents the audiences we serve. So that has been a game-changer for me. You know, when you are sat in a room discussing programme ideas with some of these young apprentices and you hear things from their perspective and what they have to offer, you can see how much it enriches our business.

Then, beyond that, obviously we are doing the same with working with Creative Wales to look at how we can identify the skills gap that exists. We have got the National Film and Television School now, based in Central Square, running courses not just for the BBC but for the wider industry, more importantly, and we are supporting the industry in that way.

We have also been working with “It’s My Shout”, in order—again—to reach out to younger people who otherwise perhaps would not have thought of pursuing a career in our industry. And all of that is proving a success.

So, it is good news for us as a broadcaster, like I say, because of how it changes the diversity of our workforce, but hopefully it is good for young people across Wales as well.

Q69            Virginia Crosbie: Phil, my first interview as an MP was ITV with Adrian Masters. It was about having three female Welsh Conservative MPs for the first time ever, so I have very fond memories of ITV. The same question to you.

Phil Henfrey: Thank you. I hope you enjoyed the experience.

We started the apprentices back in 2015. To echo what Rhuanedd was saying, the power of that programme to change you as a business is really quite profound, and it is something the whole team has got behind. We pretty much retain all our apprentices. We do not take them on the same sort of scale as my two colleagues, but we take on two or three a year, and we have done that for eight years. We are a team of 100, so almost a quarter of our population has potentially come through that new pathway. As Rhuanedd says, that opens up new diversity within the team.

One of the things I often say is that we learn from our apprentices as much as we teach them. The power to look at our content and what we do and understand how it could work on new platforms is quite extraordinary. There have been several occasions when we have known that the platform exists and that there is an audience there, but we are not quite sure how to reach them. A young person comes in and says, “You need to do this,” and you say, “Okay, that sounds like a really good idea.”

On the other side of things, we were recently commissioned by BBC Wales to make a programme called—

Rhuanedd Richards: “Rookie Cops”?

Phil Henfrey: “Rookie Cops” is one, but we also made a programme about under-17 rugby teams. There have been many programmes made about Welsh rugby, but we deliberately went to younger people in our team to look for ideas for younger audiences. They came up with this idea, which was ultimately commissioned by BBC Three and BBC Wales. Their power, in terms of their creativity and ideas, to bring something to us that we would not ordinarily have is really quite profound. 

Chair: Thank you very much. I call Beth Winter. We are going to have to be a bit speedier in our questions and answers.

Q70            Beth Winter: Ydy’r gweithlu’n adlewyrchu poblogaeth Cymru? Wnest ti sôn am diversity. I ba raddau mae’r bobl sy’n gweithio i’r BBC neu ITV yn adlewyrchu’r boblogaeth?

(Translation) Does the workforce reflect the population of Wales? You mentioned diversity, but to what extent does the workforce of the BBC or ITV reflect the population?

Rhuanedd Richards: Dim digon, fydden i’n dweud. Rydyn ni’n anelu at hynny, yn sicr. Rydyn ni wedi gwneud cynnydd enfawr dros y ddwy flynedd diwethaf. Er enghraifft, erbyn hyn, mae bron â bod 50% yn fenywod. Erbyn hyn mae bron â bod, dwi’n credu, 4% neu 5% yn dod o gefndiroedd du a lleiafrifoedd ethnig. Mae’n rhaid i ni weithio ar hyn er mwyn sicrhau ein bod ni’n gwella.

Ar lefel bersonol, dwi eisiau sicrhau bod mwy o bobl ifanc o gefndiroedd dosbarth gweithiol yn dod i weithio i’r BBC. Mae hynny’n allweddol, dwi’n credu. O ran y penderfyniadau cynhyrchu, y penderfyniadau cynnwys, os ydych chi’n dod o gefndir penodol, yn aml iawn rydych chi’n dod â phersbectif newydd i’r bwrdd. Mae’n flaenoriaeth glir i’r BBC yn ehangach ac i BBC Cymru i sicrhau ein bod ni’n dod yn fwy cynrychiadol.

(Translation) Not enough, I would say. We are certainly aiming toward that, and we have increased it substantially over the past two years. For instance, now, nearly 50% of our workforce is women, and we have nearly 4% or 5% from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, but we have to work on that to ensure improvement.

On a personal level, I want to ensure that more young people from working-class backgrounds come to work at the BBC. This is key, I think, because on our production and content decisions, if you come from a specific background, you very often bring a new perspective to the table. It is a clear priority for the BBC more widely and BBC Wales to ensure we are more representative.

Q71            Beth Winter: Oes unrhyw un arall moyn adio unrhyw beth?

(Translation) Does anyone else want to add anything?

Siân Doyle: Yr un peth. Rydyn ni ar siwrnai i gyrraedd hynny. Mae eisiau gwneud yn siŵr ein bod ni’n ei wneud e, nid dim ond o ran ethnigrwydd ond o ran iaith a gender. Mae e hefyd yn golygu gwneud yn siŵr ein bod ni’n cynrychioli pob rhan o Gymru a lot o’r under-represented. Mae hwnna’n flaenoriaeth fawr i ni. A hefyd, mae anabledd yng Nghymru yn tua chwarter y boblogaeth. Mae’n rhaid i ni hefyd wneud yn siŵr ein bod ni’n creu’r hinsawdd iawn o ran ein cynyrchiadau ni fel ein bod ni’n gallu dod â phobl sydd eisiau gweithio yn y sector i adlewyrchu rhywbeth fel anabledd hefyd. Dwi’n credu bod gwaith mawr gyda ni i’w wneud. Rydyn ni nawr wedi ymuno gyda Diamond fel ein bod ni’n gallu mesur beth sy’n digwydd yng Nghymru. Ond mae’n siwrnai.

(Translation) I would say the same thing. We are on a journey, and we have to ensure that we do it, and not just for ethnicity but for language and gender. It is also about ensuring that we represent every part of Wales and a lot of the under-represented. It is a huge priority for us. Disability in Wales is about a quarter of the population, so we need to ensure we create the right climate in our productions to bring in people who want to work in the sector to reflect disability. We have a lot of work to do. We have now joined Diamond, so we can measure what is happening in Wales, but it is a journey.

Phil Henfrey: Again, a similar answer. My predecessor’s management team had one woman on it, but my executive team is made up of 70% women. In terms of disability, some 20% of my team identify as having a disability. In terms of ethnicity, some 8% of my team identify as coming from an ethnic background. We have made progress, but there is always more progress to be made.

Q72            Beth Winter: Y cwestiwn olaf gen i. Os bydd y Llywodraeth yn parhau i breifateiddio Channel 4, ydy hynny’n mynd i effeithio ar ddarlledu yng Nghymru? Oes barn gyda chi ar hynny?

(Translation) This is my final question. If the Government privatise Channel 4, will that impact broadcasting in Wales? What are your views on that, if any?

Siân Doyle: Mae Channel 4 yn bwysig iawn i S4C achos rydyn ni’n gwneud gymaint gyda nhw. Mae gennym bartneriaethau. Ar hyn o bryd, rydyn ni’n gwneud cynhyrchiad drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg rhyngon ni a Channel 4, “Un Nos Ola Leuad”, sy’n mynd i fod yn opera. Rydyn ni wedi gwneud rhaglenni Tŷ am Ddim”, sy’n adlewyrchu cynyrchiadau o’r sector yng Nghymru. Mae’n rhoi lot o gyfle i bobl weithio gyda Channel 4 a S4C. Mae Channel 4 yn bwysig iawn i ni fel partner, felly gobeithio y byddwn ni’n dal i weithio gyda nhw.

(Translation) Channel 4 is very important to S4C because we work so much with them. We have partnerships. At the moment, we are working on a Welsh language production, “Un Nos Ola Leuad”, which is going to be an opera, and we have worked on “Tŷ am Ddim”, which reflects productions from the sector in Wales and gives people an opportunity to work with Channel 4 and S4C. Channel 4 is very important to us as a partner, so hopefully we will continue to work with them.

Rhuanedd Richards: Yr hyn ddyweda i yw bod perchnogaeth Channel 4 yn fater i’r gwleidyddion, ond mae sicrhau plwraliaeth o fewn y sector yng Nghymru yn bwysig. Rydyn ni fel BBC yn elwa o hynny. Rydyn ni wedi gweithio gyda Channel 4, er enghraifft, ar gynllun hyfforddi pobl yn y sector ffeithiol gyda chynnwys ffeithiol yng Nghymru. Rydyn ni wedi elwa o hynny. Po gryfed yw’r sector, po gryfed yw’r BBC.

(Translation) I will say that the ownership of Channel 4 is an issue for the politicians, but ensuring pluralism within the sector in Wales is important. We as the BBC benefit from that. We have worked with Channel 4, for example, on the scheme to train people for factual content in Wales, and we have benefited from that. The stronger the sector is, the stronger the BBC is.

Phil Henfrey: My answer is similar. We do not have a view on the ownership of Channel 4, but we do believe strongly that it continues to have a public service remit. Its remit is vitally important in terms of the ecology of public service broadcasting in both Wales and the UK.

Q73            Ben Lake: Bore da a diolch yn fawr am ddod aton ni’r bore ma. Ga i droi nawr at chwaraeon a darlledu chwaraeon? Yn benodol, beth rydych chi’n ei wneud o’r ddadl rydyn ni’n ei chael o dro i dro bod caniatáu i ddarlledwyr masnachol neu danysgrifol ddarlledu ar rai o’r digwyddiadau chwaraeon mwyaf yng Nghymru mewn rhyw ffordd neu’i gilydd yn helpu i hybu’r chwaraeon ac i sicrhau mwy o fuddsoddiad ariannol ynddyn nhw?

(Translation) Good morning and thank you very much for attending. I would like to look at the broadcasting of sport. How do you feel about the debate we have from time to time that allowing commercial broadcasters or subscription services to broadcast major events, in some way or other, helps promote those sports and secure more financial investment in them?

Q74            Rhuanedd Richards: Mae’n rhaid i fi roi cyd-destun i hyn i chi. Pan chwaraeodd Cymru Lloegr wythnos diwethaf yng nghwpan y Byd, o’r holl bobl oedd yn gwylio teledu neu fideo yng Nghymru, roedd 60% ohonyn nhw’n gwylio’r gêm ar BBC 1 Wales. Yng nghystadleuaeth ddiwethaf y Chwe Gwlad, y gêm rhwng Cymru a Ffrainc oedd y rhaglen gafodd y gynulleidfa fwyaf yng Nghymru yn 2021 gyda 890,000 o bobl yn gwylio’r gêm. Gyda phêl-droed merched, rydyn ni wedi treblu’r gynulleidfa ar gyfer y gemau hynny. Rydyn ni’n caru chwaraeon yng Nghymru. Rydyn ni’n caru gwylio ein timau cenedlaethol yn chwarae, boed yn fenywod neu’n ddynion.

Wnes i sylwi bod fy nghyn-gydweithiwr, Guto Harri, wedi awgrymu wrthych chiac fe wnaeth e ddadl gref iawnei bod hi’n beth braf gweld cwmni fel Amazon yn cynnig ffrydio gêm o Gymru, yn enwedig yn y Gymraeg, ar y we a bod hynny ar gael i bawb a bod bach o gystadleuaeth yn dda. Yr hyn efallai fydden i’n ei ddweud wrthych chi am hynny yw pan ddaeth hi at y darllediad rhwng Cymru a Seland Newydd yn ddiweddar yn y gemau hydrefol yn y stadiwm, roedd y gynulleidfa i’r sianel ffrydio yna yn sylweddol llai nag oedd hi i’r gemau llinol a ddarlledwyd gennym ni a dwi’n siŵr gan y darlledwyr eraill—yn sylweddol llai. Felly mae’n rhaid gofyn beth yw sgil-effaith rhoi gemau fel hyn y tu ôl i ryw fath o paywall. Mae yna bris i’w dalu am hynny i gynulleidfaoedd yng Nghymru. Ydyn nhw wedyn yn cael y gwerth maen nhw’n ei ddisgwyl? Dwi’n deallmae’n gydbwysedd anodd o ran arian i’r cyrff llywodraethu yn y byd chwaraeon hefyd, ac mae eu hystyriaethau nhw yn bwysig. Ond fy mlaenoriaeth i yw cynulleidfaoedd yng Nghymru. Mae’n amlwg o’r ffeithiau i mi fod yna golli allan o beidio cael y gemau yma yn rhad ac am ddim i’r awyr.

(Translation) I have to give you some context for this. When Wales played England last week in the World cup, of all the people who were watching on video or TV in Wales, 60% watched it on BBC 1 Wales. In the last Six Nations, the match between Wales and France was the programme that won the greatest audience in Wales in 2021 with 890,000 people watching the match. We have trebled the audience for women’s football games. We love sports in Wales. We love watching our national teams playing, be they women or men.

I noticed that Guto Harri, my former colleague, suggested—and he made a very strong argument—that it was good to see a company like Amazon offering to stream a Wales game, especially through the medium of Welsh, and that that was available to all and that a bit of competition is a good thing. What I might say to you about that is that when it came to the game between Wales and New Zealand during the autumn nations series, the audience for that streaming service was substantially lower than for the linear programmes that we broadcast and I am sure from other broadcasters. It was a much smaller audience. We have to ask, what are the implications of putting these kinds of games behind a paywall? There is a price to pay for audiences in Wales, and do they then have the value that they expect? I know that it is a difficult balance in terms of money for the governing bodies of these sports, and their considerations are important. However, my priority is audiences in Wales, and it is obvious to me from the facts that people have missed out because they have not had these games available free to air.

Siân Doyle: Mae’r pêl-droed, dwi’n credu, yn dangos pa mor bwysig ydy e fod pobl yn teimlo eu bod nhw’n rhan o’r diwylliant ac yn rhan o ddigwyddiad mawr byw fel Cymru yn chwarae yn Qatar a pha mor bwysig ydy hynny. Mae yna survey YouGov newydd gael ei wneud o 1,000 o bobl. Mae 71% o’r rheiny yn meddwl y dylen nhw gael opsiwn i wylio eu gemau drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Rydyn ni’n gwybod, gyda gêm Gwlad Pwyl, oedd tu ôl y paywall yn Saesneg ond o flaen y paywall yn Gymraeg, fe gawson ni gynulleidfa sylweddol ar YouTube ac ar ein llinol. Rwyt ti’n gallu gweld yr awch gan y gynulleidfa i deimlo eu bod nhw’n gallu ymrwymo i gêm fyw a digwyddiad pwysig diwylliannol yng Nghymru. Felly mae e yn gydbwysedd, fel mae Rhuanedd yn ei ddweud, ond dwi’n credu gyda hwn, fel popeth rydyn ni’n sôn amdano gyda’r media Bill, mae’n rhaid i ni feddwl ble mae’r gynulleidfa a beth mae’r gynulleidfa moyn.

(Translation) The football shows how important it is that people feel they are part of a culture and they can participate in such a large live event like Wales playing in Qatar and how important that is. There is a new YouGov survey of 1,000 people, and 71% think that we should have an option to watch games through the medium of Welsh. We know from the Poland game, which was behind a paywall in English but in front of the paywall in Welsh, we had a substantial audience—linear and on YouTube. You can see the wish of the audience to participate in a culturally important live game in Wales, so it is a balance, as Rhuanedd said. With this, as with everything we are talking about with the media Bill, we need to think about where the audience is and what the audience wants.

Phil Henfrey: Again, I echo what my colleagues have said. It does underline the power of the public service broadcasters to bring a nation together around a specific event. It is one of the things that the public service broadcasters do well. Sport is an example of that. As Siân has just said—the point about the livestreaming rights—currently there is the list, as it were, of events such as the Olympics and the World cup, which we are all enjoying now. Even that protection currently does not apply to the new streaming platforms, so you can imagine a world in the current legislative framework where the next World cup could potentially be behind a paywall. There is nothing really to prevent that from happening.

Again, it is seeing the speed of change and those new players in the market and their ability to, in effect, pick and choose, because that is what will happen. What we do in Wales is we are there all the time—from the highs of having millions upon millions of people watching our output, to some of the lows where we are giving day-to-day coverage of proceedings in this House or elsewhere. But that is what we are here to do. Again, it is all about the force of the media Bill to be able to level that market, enable the value of what we do for audiences to be fully recognised and enable us to compete in that environment.

Q75            Ben Lake: Fe wnaeth Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol gyhoeddi’r mis diwethaf adolygiad o’r digwyddiadau rhestredig—y rheolau sydd yn penderfynu pa ddigwyddiadau sy’n cael eu cynnwys yn band A neu band B ac ati. Yn eich barn chi, ydy’r adolygiad yn mynd yn ddigon pell ar gyfer rhai o’r newidiadau y byddech chi am eu gweld i’r gyfundrefn honno? 

(Translation) Last month, the UK Government announced a review of the listed events rules—the rules that decide which events go into band A, band B and so on. Does the review go far enough in making the changes you would like to see?

Rhuanedd Richards: Beth fydden i’n ei ddweud yw bod dwy ffordd o sicrhau bod y gemau mawr yma’n rhad ac am ddim i’r awyr. Naill ai rydyn ni’n sicrhau bod yna ffi drwydded a bod darlledu cyhoeddus yn gryf ac wedi’i ariannu’n iawn a bod modd cystadlu, neu mae digwyddiadau’n cael eu rhestru. Felly dyna’r opsiynau. Dwi’n deall, fel dwi’n dweud, bod yna bob math o ystyriaethau fan hyn o ran y cyrff llywodraethu ac yn y blaen. Dwi’n credu mai cyfarwyddwr cyffredinol blaenorol y BBC, Lord Tony Hall, wnaeth ddweud bod e’n bwysig, yn enwedig i gynulleidfaoedd yng Nghymru, ble mae’r digwyddiadau yma’n cael eu gwerthfawrogi gymaint, bod yna gydnabyddiaeth arbennig i hynny yn cael ei wneud gan Lywodraethau.

(Translation) I would say there are two ways of ensuring that these games are free to air. Either we ensure that there is a licence fee and that PSB is strong and funded well and that we can compete, or events are listed. Those are the options. I understand, as I said, that there all sorts of considerations here for the governing bodies and so on. I think the previous BBC director-general, Lord Tony Hall, said that it was important, especially for audiences in Wales, where these events are appreciated so much, that there is special recognition for that by Governments.

Siân Doyle: Fydden i’n wirioneddol meddwl am y gynulleidfa ac ynglŷn â pha mor bwysig ydy e i ddiwylliant Cymru a chwaraeon i helpu i ddeall beth yw’r rhestr. Rydyn ni’n gwybod beth mae’r angerdd rydyn ni wedi’i weld yn ddiweddar yn golygu. Mae chwarae pêl-droed Cymru—mae e mor bwysig bod e’n cael ei wneud a bod pobl yn gallu bod yn rhan ohono fe. Mae’r rhestr, dwi’n meddwl, yn mynd i orfod delio gyda’r gynulleidfa a wirioneddol meddwl am y diwylliant hefyd.

(Translation) I would really think about the audience and how important it is to Welsh culture and to sport to help to understand what the list is. We know what the passion have seen recently means. Welsh football—it is so important that it is done and that people can participate in that. The list is going to have to deal with the audience and truly think about the culture as well.

Phil Henfrey: I will add just two things. It is a dynamic environment. Think of women’s football. If we were having this conversation a few years ago, would we have thought that that should be a protected event? Perhaps not, but perhaps now we probably should. If you think about the Six Nations and the autumn internationals, what might that evolve to in the years to come and where does that sit on the list? More to the point, how does that become captured by a future list? I think it is about the power of the broadcasters to work together. That is why I think the Six Nations is a really good example of where the BBC and ITV came together to keep that free to air and to combine budgets.

We work very closely with S4C as well to ensure there are secondary rights in the Welsh language on sporting events. It is really important that we work together because, ultimately, it is about the audiences. Yes, from our perspective, there is a commercial consideration—of course there is—but we know that, as a public service broadcaster, our universal appeal and our universal availability means that you are not trying to find a pub that has some streaming service to watch it. That was one of the big problems, I think, during the autumn internationals: if you did not have that in your own home, you actually could not find it in your own village either.

In all seriousness, on that element of discovery, you know the content is there and that the event exists. But as a consumer, getting access to that—I know I keep coming back to this—is at the heart of the media Bill. It enables audiences to find and surface the content that really matters to them and is really important to them. News, current affairs, sport and the representation of Wales is really important to people in Wales. Again, the media Bill looks to ensure that continues into the future.

Q76            Rob Roberts: Dwi’n mynd i barhau yn Gymraeg os ydy hynny’n iawn. Cyn i mi fod yn dew a cholli’r ffitrwydd yn gyfan gwbl, ro’n i’n arfer chwarae hoci dros glwb Northop Hall yn y gogledd. Dros y 15 mlynedd diwethaf, mae’r clwb wedi mynd i lawr o saith tîm ar ddydd Sadwrn i ddau, yn anffodus. Beth ydy’r opsiynau ac oes gennych chi unrhyw gyfrifoldeb neu ddyletswydd i hybu chwaraeon ar wahân i bêl-droed a rygbi, sydd yn dioddef dipyn bach ar hyn o bryd? 

(Translation) I will continue in Welsh, if that is okay. Before I put on weight and I lost my fitness, I used to play hockey for Northop Hall in the north. Over the past 15 years, the club has gone down from seven teams on a Saturday to two, unfortunately. What are the options and do you have any responsibility or duty to promote sports other than football and rugby, which are suffering a little right now?

Rhuanedd Richards: Dwi’n teimlo’n eithaf angerddol am hynny—ein bod ni yn cynnig amrywiaeth o safbwynt ein darpariaeth chwaraeon ni. Beth wnaethon ni yn ystod yr haf, ar ôl mentro gyda phêl-droed merched a gweld beth ddigwyddodd pan wnaethon ni roi llwyfan o’r diwedd yn gyson i bêl-droed menywod, oedd penderfynu ceisio mentro i feysydd eraill a gweld beth oedd yn digwydd. Fe benderfynon ni ffrydio gemau hoci Cymru drwy iPlayer a gemau pêl-rwyd. Roedd y gynulleidfa’n fach ond roedd e’n ddechrau ar drafodaeth ynglŷn â beth allith ddigwydd yn y dyfodol, er enghraifft, pe byddai cystadleuaeth cwpan y byd hoci yn dod i Gymru a Lloegr. Mae yna sôn am hynny. Beth allen ni wneud yn y gofod yna er mwyn sicrhau ein bod ni’n cyrraedd nifer o bobl? Mae gymnasteg yn un arall. Rydyn ni’n gwybod faint o ddiddordeb sydd yn y byd gymnasteg yng Nghymru, bod clybiau gymnasteg yn ffynnu ar hyd a lled y wlad, a beth mae’n olygu i bobl ifanc i weld eu hunain ar y sgrin, i weld eu camp nhw’n cael ei ddarlledu. Yn amlwg, mae’n rhaid i ni dorri’r got yn ôl y brethyn. Dim ond hyn a hyn o arian sydd gyda ni. Ond yn bendant dwi’n agored iawn o ran BBC Cymru ein bod ni yn arbrofi yn y maes yma i weld ble allwn ni ymestyn allan i gymunedau eraill yn y byd chwaraeon. 

(Translation) I feel quite passionate about this—that we provide variety in terms of our sporting provision. What we did over the summer, after looking at what happened with the women’s football after finally giving it a regular stage, we thought about looking at other areas and seeing what happened. We decided to stream the Welsh hockey team’s games through iPlayer and the netball games. The audience was small but it was the beginning of a debate. We were looking at what would happen in the future, say, if a hockey world cup came to England and Wales. There is talk of that. What could we provide in that space to ensure we reach a lot of people? Gymnastics in another one. We know the level of interest in gymnastics in Wales, that gymnastics clubs are doing really well across the country and what it means for the young people to see themselves and their sport on the screen. Obviously, we have to cut our coat according to the cloth. We only have so much money, but definitely, I am very open as regards to BBC Wales that we experiment in this area to see where we can reach out to other sporting communities.

Q77            Rob Roberts: Rhaid i ni hysbysebu hyn yng nghanol y rhaglenni.

(Translation) That needs to be advertised in the middle of programmes.

Rhuanedd Richards: Do, mi wnaethon ni.

(Translation) Yes, we did that.

Siân Doyle: Mae yna gyfle hefyd, on’d oes, o ran pwynt Rhuanedd. Rydyn ni fel S4C yn gwneud pethau fel y treiathlon, rydyn ni’n gwneud seiclo. Mae gyda ni ystod eang iawn o chwaraeon. Hefyd rydyn ni’n gweithio gyda’r Urdd i ffrydio eu chwaraeon nhw reit ar y dechrau. Fel mae Rhuanedd yn dweud, mae’n rhaid i ni adlewyrchu beth sy’n mynd ymlaen yn niwylliant Cymru. Mae’r platfformau newydd yma’n rhoi gymaint o gyfle mwy i ni nawr i allu gwneud pethau fel ffrydio chwaraeon fel bod pobl yn gallu eu gweld nhw’n fyw. Rydyn ni’n gwybod bod yna awch i weld hwnna. Rydyn ni’n edrych ar ein chwaraeon yn aml iawn, ac nid dim ond ein bod ni’n creu arlwy i bobl yng Nghymru. Rydyn ni hefyd yn gweld lot o bobl tu fas i Gymru yn dod i S4C oherwydd eu bod nhw eisiau gweld chwaraeon. Mae e yn rhywbeth sy’n denu’r gynulleidfa ac fe fyddwn ni’n edrych arno’n aml iawn bob blwyddyn ynglŷn â beth rydyn ni’n ei wneud gyda chwaraeon. 

(Translation) We also have an opportunity, in terms of Rhuanedd’s point. At S4C we do the triathlon and we have cycling programmes. We have a wide variety of sport and we also work with the Urdd to stream their sports right at the beginning. As Rhuanedd says, we have to reflect what is going on in Welsh culture. The new platforms give us such a greater opportunity to do things such as streaming sports, so people can watch them live. We know there is a demand for that kind of thing. So we look at sports very often and it is not just that we create programmes for people in Wales, but we see people from outside Wales watching S4C because they want to watch our sport. So it does attract audiences and we will look at this very often every year in terms of what we are doing with sport.

Phil Henfrey: To add to that briefly, we have to earn it before we can spend it, so the volume of audience that is drawn is important. However, again, if you had had a conversation about snooker 30 years ago and said, “Is that going to be popular?”, look how it turned out. We cover the Tour de France, which is possibly one of the big sporting moments in our sporting calendar. So yes, we are very open to looking at sports that sit outside the traditional areas, in terms of bringing those to audiences.

Q78            Virginia Crosbie: I look forward to welcoming you all to Anglesey when we host the Island games in 2025. My question is to Rhuanedd and is about community radio. I have MônFM with Tony Jones and some fantastic volunteers who support that. However, in terms of the radio stations and the cuts we have seen in England, how is that going to affect you? Critically, the split seems to be very focused on the south of Wales. As you would expect, I am very focused on the north. How can you redress that balance?

Rhuanedd Richards: There are a couple of questions there. First, what has happened in England does not apply to Wales. It is a different ecology; we make decisions for Wales. We have two and a half national radio stations, because we have Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, and we also have Radio Cymru 2. We have recently extended the hours of Radio Cymru 2; we are offering a more music-based service where we can reach out to less fluent speakers of the language. In that sense, those radio stations continue with their fine work. We have also worked in partnership with a number of community radio stations over the years, to help with skills and content. We would be more than happy to continue to do that.

In terms of it being south Wales-centric, if I take Radio Cymru, by March nine hours of its daily programming will come from Bangor. That is a significant investment in the north, and in north-west Wales. That is very clearly heard in the station’s programming.

In terms of Radio Wales, until the summer started, we had Janice Long broadcasting for us—sadly, we lost Janice. We are looking now at what further options there are for daily and weekly programmes from the north on Radio Wales. What we have done in the meantime is ensure that we have a greater presence in north Wales. So when the football festival was on in Wrexham, we were there. We took “Wynne Evans Townhall Showdown” recently to the north and we have taken the orchestra to the north, so that there is a regular presence in the north. I want to expand on that. I totally agree that as the BBC decentralises from London, the last thing we want to do is centralise in Cardiff. That will not happen on my watch.

Q79            Wayne David: Rhuanedd, you began your statement this morning by referring to the BBC support for the National Orchestra of Wales—you have referred to it a couple of times since. Obviously, you attach a great deal of importance to that. Could you say a little bit about how much money is actually given to the orchestra, and whether you can confidently say that is a full, ongoing, continuous commitment? More generally, could you say a few words about the role you see for yourself as a cultural ambassador for Wales? The same question applies to the other two panellists as well.

Rhuanedd Richards: That is a rather large responsibility, but I will take it on. I really do value the work of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales. We fund them to the tune of £5 million, and we also get money from the Arts Council of Wales. Without BBC NOW, we would not have a full-time, full symphony orchestra operating in Wales. Their work is important in terms not only of feeding our services—providing content for Radio 3, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru—but in touring Wales, which they do on a regular basis, as well as their work internationally, promoting excellence. I think they do promote excellence, by working with the best conductors and composers from across the world, as well as our home-grown talent.

One of the proudest things for me is to see the orchestra’s work within our communities and schools. For example, we have recently been working in partnership with the Tredegar Band—a band that has a really long history in Wales. Through that work, we have been working with schools in the Tredegar area; we have gone there, and we have brought them to Cardiff. Do you know what? So many of those children had never been to Cardiff, and certainly had never had contact with an orchestra before. We then worked with that band and had a performance in the summer in the Albert Hall during the Proms. I was there to witness that, and it was a really special moment. We all felt tremendously proud. It is about accessibility; it is not just about high art. It is about giving our communities—people from all backgrounds—access to live classical music and an incredible orchestra. Long may that continue, because I certainly feel very committed to it.

Phil Henfrey: We have just recently launched a new arts programme. I think at the moment it is the only programme reflecting the arts in Wales. It is called “Backstage”, and it has been really well received. The audience has come to it on the main channel to the extent that we are going to move it to peak time in 2023.

It is not just specific programmes about the arts and culture in Wales. Some of our coverage of the National Eisteddfod, of course, is among the most watched in Wales on ITV. But it is also in our news content. We talked earlier about holding people to account and holding people’s feet to the fire, and that is absolutely the role of a news programme. But it is also that people are really proud to live in Wales; they are really proud of the country in which they live. So the programmes need to reflect, and at times celebrate, some of the great things that are happening—in all aspects. I think our programme does that. We call it “light and shade”, and I think we get that balance right pretty much every night.

Siân Doyle: I think S4C is a very important medium as a platform for Wales—not only what we create for the audiences in Wales, but what we do outside that. I am particularly proud of some of our ambitious recent projects. We honoured Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in New York. They spoke Welsh, which created an amazing buzz around the Welsh language, Wales, and the work that Wrexham has done. We are really proud of that. It is one example of how in Wales, working with the Welsh Government, we can create those partnerships. We are planning so much for 2023, when, to Phil’s point, we can celebrate talent and be ambitious. We can make sure that the audience in Wales get what they want, but we also have a duty to be a platform for the country and to be proud of what we do. I do not know who our A-lister will be next year, but we are very excited to teach them Welsh.

Q80            Wayne David: May I ask Rhuanedd specifically about radio? The BBC has announced cuts in England. Can you commit to safeguarding the service in Wales in its entirety into the future?

Rhuanedd Richards: Of course, with a flat licence fee for two years, there is no part of the BBC that is entirely safe in that respect. Beyond that, I can say that our national radio stations have a strong future. They are an important part of our DNA. They are important in reaching audiences that we would not reach elsewhere, and they will continue to offer breadth in their programming. They will continue to have a strong news offer and to reach out to all parts of Wales. Over the summer, it was a real pleasure to have our BBC Wales Summer of Music. We took the radios back out into our communities for the first time since covid. You really appreciate the impact that radio has on people and on communities, particularly at a time of crisis—during a pandemic. They are value services, and I can commit to their future. They will continue to be a very important part of what we do.

Q81            Wayne David: But is any formal evaluation taking place that looks to the future?

Rhuanedd Richards: I would say that that happens with all our services all the time. We have a new Radio Wales editor in Carolyn Hitt. She has been in role for a couple of months now, and she is looking at what she wants to do with the radio station. Our services will continue to change and evolve, but obviously I want a strong Radio Wales. I grew up listening to Radio Wales in a non-Welsh-speaking household. My parents were learning Welsh, and when Radio Cymru came in as well, both radio stations were important reference points. I know that that is true of so many people in Wales. Having two strong national radio stations will always be an important part of our mission.

Q82            Chair: May I follow up on Wayne’s question? Does the BBC in London give you an indication centrally of how much it expects you to fund radio in Wales? Or do you have a big lumpy pot of money that you can decide how to spread across your different forms of output?

Rhuanedd Richards: It is a diminishing lumpy pot of money. I would not say that it is a big lumpy pot of money, just because of the nature of having a flat licence fee and inflation at the moment.

Q83            Chair: But you made a very good point earlier: what is spent by BBC Wales is significantly larger than the licence fee that is raised in Wales. That is why I describe it as a lumpy pot. In terms of how you divide up that spending, are you given a central instruction or guidance from the corporation here of what it expects you to spend on radio in Wales?

Rhuanedd Richards: There are two things at play there. There is what the BBC spends in Wales centrally, and then there is what BBC Wales spends in Wales, so the overall pot is more because of the central spend. Yes, I am given a budget for the year, and I get to decide how I spend that budget. Obviously, I will always do so in discussion with my colleagues in the nations. We work as a nations division. We share best practice; we learn from each other, in terms of audience value. We celebrate what is different between us but also what unites us. Such conversations can help in benchmarking services, but ultimately the decision is for the BBC Wales executive team, yes.

Q84            Chair: So it could be that there is a decision to reduce the funding available for radio in Wales, as an outcome of that consideration.

Rhuanedd Richards: That could be a consideration. If funding is reduced overall, we have to decide how we split that funding while protecting our 520 hours for S4C, protecting Radio Cymru, protecting the orchestra and protecting investment in TV—

Q85            Wayne David: But it’s essentially a decision to be made in Wales.

Rhuanedd Richards: It is absolutely a made in Wales decision, but what I am saying is that, in doing this, we are very informed and very supported by our audiences team, who can give us insight into changing patterns of behaviour, changing consumption and so forth, which sometimes makes it an easier decision to make.

Q86            Chair: Of course, it isn’t a like-for-like comparison, because when colleagues of mine in England talk about cuts to local radio, they are talking about almost county-level radio stations as output from the BBC, whereas you are a national radio station for Wales.

Rhuanedd Richards: That’s correct: we provide national services. We have not gone along the path of local services; neither has Scotland. That is not how the BBC services have evolved in the nations traditionally.

Q87            Virginia Crosbie: Sorry, my radio station is messaging in with lots of comments, which is a bit distracting.

My question relates to the Welsh language. I was really shocked to hear the ONS news regarding the number of Welsh speakers falling in the last decade; I think the number is 538,000, down from 562,000. That was principally because we saw a big drop in the number of young people, those aged three to 15, speaking Welsh. I am certainly doing my part. Dwi dal angen ymarfer siarad—I still need to practise speaking—much more. We have the Welsh Government target of 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050, but something is not working. We had Sean Taylor here. He said that we need to do much more to promote the fact that Wales is more than rugby, the rain and, I think he said, sheep. One of the things he mentioned was tourism and the Welsh language.

Let’s start with S4C. What are you doing to help us to achieve this target by 2050, particularly with three to 15-year-olds?

Siân Doyle: We are doing so much. Our provision from Cyw, as our brand, which starts pre-three even, is fundamental. Just on young people, I have just talked about the brands that we have. On Thursday, I happened to be in Llandudno, where 3,000 young kids from primary school came to watch “Cyw A’r Gerddorfa” It is just fantastic to see that engagement with the Welsh language. In the morning, quite a few of the schools were non-Welsh-speaking and still engaged. That piece around what we do and our brands is still important, and we are going to continue to do that. We have just appointed somebody who will specialise in creating our content, packaging it and making sure that it gets to the schools, in terms of resources. Our commitment to that is paramount.

For me, the other part is that wherever you are on the journey, you should be welcomed to S4C. We have appointed another person, who is a Welsh speaker as well. Her role will be to package our content to make it very accessible and easy for people to see where our content is, and that it suits people wherever they are in their journey of learning Welsh. Our brands, like “Iaith ar Daith”, are so important in bringing that to the fore. Everything we do is about making sure that the Welsh language is accessible and available for everybody.

From a young people perspective, our investment—we have a direct commissioner who looks at our 16 to 44s and we also have a commissioner who only looks at programming from age three to 16. We have a lot of resource now to make sure that we get those people in and that we don’t lose them. The challenge is not losing those children when they reach their teens and that they engage with the Welsh language through whatever platforms they want to watch our content on.

Q88            Virginia Crosbie: Thank you. This all sounds absolutely fantastic, but the reality is that there is a sharp decline in the number of young people who speak Welsh. Rhuanedd, I know that you are doing quite a lot in terms of people on their Welsh learning journey and young people. Perhaps you would like to talk about that.

Rhuanedd Richards: First, let’s talk about Bitesize: 75% of all secondary school pupils access Bitesize regularly. That is quite a significant figure. When you’ve got a separate curriculum in Wales, it is critical that we are providing that service in the Welsh language. Supporting learners—whether they are first-language Welsh speakers attending Welsh-medium schools, or whether they are in English-medium schools and learning Welsh as a second language—is pretty critical and fundamental to that service.

Then, Radio Cymru accounts for 70% of all the viewing and listening in the Welsh language, so again, that is a really important service. That is why we have tried to think outside the box—to think, “Okay, clearly we are doing really well in serving Welsh speakers. We are the No. 1 choice when it comes to radio listening for Welsh speakers, but what can we do to reach out for those families where perhaps there’s a bilingual setting, or you have Welsh learners?” That is where we see extending Radio Cymru 2 as coming into its own in offering a music service, which is perhaps an easier listen for Welsh language learners.

In my previous role as head of Radio Cymru, we started Wythnos Dathlu Dysgu Cymraeg, a week of celebrating Welsh learners, so that they felt that our Welsh-language services were for them as well and they had a prominent voice in editing programmes and featuring in programmes. We know from the centre for Welsh language learning for adults that very many of their learners come to Radio Cymru to hear the language and listen to it every day, because that is what this is all about: it is about creating a living language within our communities. That is where S4C, ITV and Radio Cymru come into our own in supporting that to happen.

Q89            Virginia Crosbie: I think Wynne does a phenomenal job bringing that into the communities. Phil, how is your Welsh doing, and what are ITV doing?

Phil Henfrey: There are two points I would make on this. First, obviously, we are very proud of the programming we make for S4C in the Welsh language: we have a substantial team that creates its current affairs and political programming and other programming. We talked about younger audiences, and Siân mentioned “Dim Sbin” earlier—again, that is about taking news and current affairs about Wales and putting it on the platforms where younger people are through the medium of Welsh, which I think is really interesting.

That is why I say it is about the lived experience. Living in Wales, even if you do not speak Welsh—such as myself—you will encounter Welsh as part of daily life. What is probably different about the channel ITV now, compared with, say, 10 years ago, is that that is a part of the experience. If you are watching “Wales at Six”, a programme that is done predominantly through the English language, you will still hear the Welsh language, because one of our sponsors has a bilingual sponsorship around the weather. You will hear Welsh-language adverts on ITV; our presenters will naturally sign off in the Welsh language.

I think that reflects the lived experience in Wales, and I think that is what ITV is doing: as well as creating specific content in the Welsh language for S4C, it also reflects and represents how the language is being used in Wales and, in a sense, normalising that for a community that perhaps does not speak the language and maybe feels it does not belong to them. As Siân was saying, the language belongs to everyone.

Virginia Crosbie: Diolch yn fawr.

Q90            Chair: I think we are drawing to the end, certainly of the time we have been allotted in this room—we will be asked to vacate shortly. Can I return very briefly to sport, and the discussion we were having earlier? Obviously, the relationship between broadcasting and the health of our national sports and our teams is a very close one. Do you ever feel like getting in a room—or do you have the opportunity to get in a room—with the people who run the WRU and saying, “Can you please just sort it out and put Welsh rugby on a sustainable pathway to future success?” Are you feeling the frustrations of fans, players, and everybody else involved in rugby at the moment?

Rhuanedd Richards: I probably haven’t taken that approach, although I am in regular dialogue with governing bodies in sport. We now have regional rugby back on BBC and S4C as well, and that is free to air, so we are doing what we can. All I know is how important it is to our audiences; I regularly tell our sporting governing bodies that, and I share figures with them so that we can have that conversation—so that we can ensure that they are coming at it from an informed basis on the difference it makes when things are free to air. It is not my role, of course, to tell the WRU what to do, but what I can do is enter dialogue to ensure that we have that debate.

Q91            Chair: I would suggest that it is part of your role, and I think you have just hit the nail on the head. You have talked about regional rugby returning to live television; you have said that you are doing your bit. Isn’t it the case that the broadcasting community between yourselves, ITV and others are doing your bit to support Welsh rugby? There is a bit that the Welsh Rugby Union needs to do now, isn’t there?

Siân Doyle: I must admit—I am sure you are going to say this—that the FAW have done an amazing job with all three broadcasters in our relationship.

Rhuanedd Richards: It has been fantastic.

Siân Doyle: It has been amazing. We are already starting to plan and starting to talk to the WRU about the world cup in September, because we want that excitement, and we will create that as our broadcasting and reflect that through the medium of Welsh and the commentary. I am incredibly excited about the world cup and Wales, and obviously ITV will be our partners in that, but that is a really exciting time for us. We know how much it matters, so France, here we come, I think.

Phil Henfrey: There was nobody more excited than me when we did the partnership with the BBC for Six Nations rugby to be on ITV. That was a fantastic moment, and every four years, we have the rugby world cup. It has been on ITV since the tournaments began. We have been there since the beginning; it has grown; we will show every game live, right across the tournament; and as Siân says, as one world cup draws to a close for Wales, another is about to begin. That is very exciting, and there is no doubt in my mind that the sporting body understands the power of free to air and the power of bringing their sport to a mass audience.

Rhuanedd Richards: I think Siân touched on a really important point: although we are sometimes in competition with each other, we often work together, particularly when it comes to sport, to ensure that Welsh audiences are served really well. Throughout the World cup period and the process building up to it, we met, I think, once a fortnight together with the FAW to ensure that we could provide that depth and breadth of content across all our services. I think this is a new chapter in broadcasting in Wales, where we have to collaborate for the sake of our audiences, and I think that can only be a good thing.

Q92            Chair: It is the case though, isn’t it, that the experience of the football team in recent weeks has set quite a high bar for Welsh rugby, in terms of creating that same sense of excitement and that compelling sporting story for the nation to follow?

Siân Doyle: I think we are all quite pleased that there are a few months of planning available, because it has been an amazingly busy time, but the excitement has been fantastic. Yes, we look forward to it as we head towards September.

Chair: Great. Thank you very much; we appreciate the amount of time you have given us. Thank you for being so frank and open in your answers. There might be a few points that we write to you about as follow-up from the discussion this morning, but thank you very much for your time. We will bring the meeting to a close now.