The Stage says the BBC has announced that it will axe its popular World Service radio serial Westway in October as part of its plans to focus on more factual and news-based programmes.
Actors trade union EquityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s outgoing national organiser for BBC television and radio, Glen Barnham, told The Stage that the news was unexpected and has left production staff devastated, adding “Since it first aired in 1997 Westway has been a successful soap that has won awards and attracts a huge amount of listeners all over the world - something in the region of 15 million. It has a great deal of respect and offers people in many countries an insight into life here. I am shocked by these plans at a time the BBC are saying more money will be put into drama but the World Service is being squeezed and drama is expensive. This is a very cynical move to shift resources.”
A spokesman for the BBC responded: “We are changing our English programme schedule. Weekdays will feature greater factual content, whereas arts will play more heavily at the weekend. We are not turning our back on drama.”