The BBC’s move is symbolic – and that’s what counts

Ewan McGregor  as Renton in Trainspotting - the gender neutral toilets Zella has visited are almost as grubby

ZELLA COMPTON: Men – just aim it in the right direction and we’ll all be happy!

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Maybe it’s because I’m an exiled northerner myself, but what’s the big deal about moving large swathes of the BBC to Manchester?

It’s about time the Beeb understood that life can exist and flourish outside of London. News occurs in the north just as much as it does in the south.

Admittedly, shifting the 10 O’Clock News up north probably wouldn’t work as well. On-the-spot access to the country’s decision-makers and politicians is a good idea when you’re talking about the main news broadcast of the day.

But there’s no reason why other shows can’t be filmed outside of the capital city. Satellites allow us to connect with each other around the globe and I doubt reaching the north west should cause too many headaches.

Match of the Day, Breakfast, Newsround, Blue Peter and Football Focus now come to you from the gloriously-titled MediaCity – clearly a name influenced by more than just a splash of London slick.

Of course there will be those who say the move is smoke and mirrors. As we’ve already established, you can broadcast from anywhere these days, so is it really necessary to shift an entire organisation a couple of hundred miles up the motorway?

In practical terms, probably not. But this move is symbolic – and that’s what counts. More people need to know that London isn’t even the centre of England, let alone the rest of the UK.

That’s not stopped some ludicrous stories escaping from the BBC’s new Salford home. Cue pictures of Breakfast hosts Bill Turnbull and Susanna Reid wearing coats – shock horror, it must be cold in the frozen wastelands above Watford. And tales of personnel being offered bodyguards to fend off the locals. Err, don’t they remember what happened in London last summer? It’s hardly a tranquil haven.

So clearly, the move itself isn’t a problem then. But the Breakfast team have used it as an opportunity to overdose on colour with their new set.

Rainbow bright oranges and yellows are never a good idea first thing in the morning. Unless you are Bono, whose ever-present wraparound shades must make such issues irrelevant.