Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Second Report

Updating Memorandum submitted by HTV Wales


  HTV Wales has doubled its politics output to cover the National Assembly for Wales. In addition, a special series is being broadcast for the election campaign. The election results will be covered in full. HTV News is carrying nightly campaign reports.

Waterfront  1225  Sundays

  The weekly political magazine Waterfront was launched in March, at the start of the Welsh party conference season that preceded the Assembly election campaign. Presented from the Cardiff Bay waterfront by HTV's Political Editor Max Perkins and Political Correspondent Jo Kiernan, the programme also includes reports from Lobby Correspondent Mike Steele at Westminster.

  After the election, the programme will continue to cover the events of the week in Welsh politics—in the Assembly, at Westminster and other political arenas.

The Sharp End  2230  Thursdays

  As its name suggests, this programme aims to look at how political decisions impact on the people at the sharp end. Presenter Mai Davies looks at how housing policy affects the homeless, how European aid impacts on our poorest communities and so forth. This peak time programme is designed to attract a wider audience than is normally reached by politics on television.

  With this in mind, Sharp End is currently explaining the Assembly in a novel way, with a "mini-drama" towards the end of each programme, featuring two fictional Assembly members discovering how the new institution works.

Wales Decides '99  1930  Tuesdays

  HTV is the only Welsh broadcaster to commission opinion polls during the Assembly election period, with research carried out by NOP and with HTV's consultant Dr Denis Balsom advising on the interpretation of the statistics.

  Three polls have been commissioned: in the Mid and West Wales electoral region, in the Monmouth constituency and in Wales as a whole. The number of voters polled is between 1,000 and 1,500, always in accordance with NOP's professional advice on sample size.

  The poll findings are presented by David Williams in a series of three special election programmes, Wales Decides '99. A panel of candidates (party leaders in the case of the all Wales poll) then debate the poll and other campaign issues.

HTV News  1800  Weekdays

  During the Assembly Election campaign, HTV News includes a comprehensive round-up of each day's political developments, presented by Max Perkins or Jo Kiernan, who join the regular news presenters in the studio. Each night viewers are also given an insight into the political background, to help them make a more informed choice on 6 May. In the first full week of the campaign, Jonathan Hill presented a series of "60 second guides" to how the Assembly will work. In the second week, HTV's correspondents and senior reporters focused on the manifesto pledges, examining the parties' policies on health, education, etc in turn.

  In future the news will benefit from the newsroom, live camera positions, studio and production facilities HTV is installing in Crickhowell House. These will be comparable to the ITN operation at Westminster, a facility HTV will also continue to use.


  Y Byd ar Bedwar is HTV's Welsh-language current affairs series for S4C. At the moment we are making a series of three programmes which are to be transmitted during the Assembly election campaign.

  Y Byd ar Bedwar also produce a one and a half hour weekly current affairs programme for S4C's digital channel called Edrych `Mlaen Edrych `Nôl which will also be covering the campaign, and the Assembly once its is up and running. To facilitate this change Y Byd ar Bedwar has appointed a journalist to concentrate purely on Assembly and political issues.


  A major outside broadcast operation will cover the Assembly results as they are declared on 7 May. This programme, also entitled Wales Decides '99, will be on the air from 0925 until at least 1520. It will be presented live from Cardiff Bay by Nicola Heywood-Thomas, with a wide range of guests from all walks of Welsh life. Live cameras will also be at all the key marginals and at the five regional declaration centres. There will be contributions from politicians both in the studio and from outside broadcast locations and expert interpretation of the results.

  HTV believes that its devolution referendum results programme proved that it offers the most accurate, accessible and authoritative coverage of Welsh politics. We intend to keep it that way through the election campaign, on results day and beyond.

23 April 1999

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Prepared 11 May 1999