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The BBC is planning to build giant outdoor television screens as permanent installations in city centres across Bri...
The BBC is planning to build giant outdoor television screens as permanent installations in city centres across Britain, reported The Sunday Times (p1).

Passers-by will be able to view 24-hour coverage of sports events as well as quiz shows, news and soap operas.

Because they will be permanent, they will require planning permission. They will be installed in prominent locations for maximum coverage. Birmingham, Cardiff and Newcastle city councils confirmed they were in talks about sites for the screens, each almost 300 sq ft and costing £250,000. This follows a six-month trial in Manchester when a giant screen was built in the city's Exchange Square.

The BBC claims the idea will rejuvenate city centres and restore a sense of community by allowing crowds to watch prime events such as football international matches and the last night of the Proms.

However, the proposals have been attacked by anti-noise campaigners who say pedestrians will be assailed by a din from programmes being blared out into public spaces. Shadow culture and media secretary Julie Kirkbride described the idea as an 'insult' to council taxpayers. 'Expecting people to stand in the middle of the street to watch EastEnders in December is completely nonsensical', she added.

Although the BBC will provide much of the content, local authorities will also offer screen time to local film-makers and community projects to show off their work. However, in Manchester this is currently little more than an hour a day.

The cost will be shared between the BBC - through the licence fee, councils and Phillips, the electronic company, which is providing the hardware.

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