Heaven and Earth anger

BBC Manchester members have been angered to learn the religious programme Heaven and Earth is to be axed.

“It is unclear what work will remain in the North West”

The long running and successful weekly Manchester produced programme is to be replaced by two new strands - but these will be made outside the BBC by independent production companies.

There are concerns that jobs could be lost in the medium term as around 20 staff work on the programme, although no details have been announced yet.

BECTU Supervisory Official Luke Crawley said: "The success of Heaven and Earth shows that BBC staff can make high quality and successful religious shows, it makes no sense to make these programmes outside.

"The financial case is also weak given that the independent companies will be creaming off profits rather than spending all of the programme budget on the programme.

"The BBC’s claimed commitment to Manchester is seriously undermined by this move.

"The two production companies are based in Oxford and Leeds so it is unclear what work will remain in the North West."

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19 April 2007