Felicity Goodey - on why it's right to bring the BBC to Salford

PUBLISHED: 10:18 06 June 2011 | UPDATED: 19:07 20 February 2013

Felicity Goodey - on why it's right to bring the BBC to Salford

Felicity Goodey - on why it's right to bring the BBC to Salford

The woman who brokered the deal to bring the BBC to Salford responds to the scheme's critics

The woman who brokered the deal to bring the BBC to Salford responds to the schemes critics

We have become well acquainted in recent months with headlines bemoaning the transfer of several BBC departments from stylish cosmopolitan London, to a northern outpost in the back of beyond.

A number of famous faces have expressed their dislike at the proposals which will inevitably mean theyll have to leave their comfortable lives in the south east to live in a back-to-back terrace with no mod cons in Salford.

But Felicity Goodey, the woman who brokered the deal which saw the creation of Media City by the banks of the Irwell, laughs off the scare-mongering headlines.

Felicity, who made the move north from London herself more than 30 years ago said: I came north as the BBCs industrial correspondent. My editor at the time said Id be back in London within 30 days - but Im still here.

The criticism and sniping about such a person not coming is water of a ducks back to me. When you uproot a major part of a work force theres always going to be people who cant make the move - they will all have families, roots and reasons not to want to move.

A few high profile presenters have got on their high horses and said they wont come to the north but Ive always believed that you shouldnt believe your own publicity. No-one is bigger than the BBC or the programme and the BBC will always find new people - well be very sorry if certain people dont make the move but it wont be the end of the world.

In most cases industry works on about 20 per cent of people making the move, the BBC worked on 30 per cent coming north but the number is actually nearer 50 per cent. Theres now a clamour of other departments knocking on the door asking to move.

It is a bit irritating when it gets publicity but people who have worked at the BBC know the papers dont love the BBC and the stories weve seen are, to a certain extent, to be expected.

Felicity, who presented North West Tonight for many years, left broadcasting to be a founder member of the North West Development Agency. She has since become one of the leading lights in urban regeneration across Lancashire, particularly in Salford where she has been a key figure the citys re-birth.

She was instrumental in the Lowry scheme and, after securing the Media City deal, has been involved in projects transform the citys centre and to improve water quality in the Irwell.

I have been adopted by Salford - I love Salford and Salford people, she said. Theyre pretty tough and they dont suffer fools gladly. And they are rightly proud of their city and dont want it to go back to the bad old days.

But the mother-of-two has interests further afield too. She is chair of tourism in the North West, and of Wythenshawe Hospital, and has been appointed to the advisory panel of the new Regional Growth Fund which is chaired by Lord Heseltine and aims to stimulate job creation.

And most recently she became president of the wildlife trust in Cheshire, where she lives with husband John Marsh. Its a tremendous honour, she said. I practically grew up outdoors and I love the countryside across the North West. I spend a lot of time near the River Wyre where my husband fishes a lot.

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