CALLS were made today for the Wales smoking ban to be amended so actors can smoke in productions.

An Assembly committee heard that the no-smoking rule in Wales has meant that filming for BBC dramas has occasionally had to be moved to England where an exemption exists.

The organisation says the creative industry in the country is forced to use costly methods of producing scenes with smoking, including location filming outside of Wales or computer generated imagery.

Speaking to an Assembly committee looking into the issue, BBC Wales' Clare Hudson said using substitutes was not an option because increasingly all drama is made in HD.

"On HD an electronic cigarette looks exactly what it is, an electronic cigarette," she said.

Ms Hudson said such products had been used but props teams have had to dismantle and rebuild them to make them more realistic.

She said the majority of her dramas were not affected, but said in dramas such as Upstairs Downstairs they had to do a considerable amount of "working around" and there were cases where scenes had to be filmed outside of Wales.

"If it is specifically that we have to go to Bristol to film a large scene involving a lot of crew and a lot of extras and so on the cost can be as much as £25,000," she said.