Scottish productions grabbing increasing share of BBC network output

THE proportion of Scotland-made TV programmes appearing across the UK on the BBC is expected to be between five and six per cent by the end of the year – almost double that of just two years ago.

The prediction was made yesterday by BBC director general, Mark Thompson, at a meeting of the All Party Scottish Broadcasting Group in Westminster.

He also yesterday announced ‘a Scottish season’ is to run on BBC Four and that three Scotland-made comedies – Life of Riley, The Old Guys and Rab C Nesbitt – have each been re-commissioned for future network transmission.

Network production growth in Scotland was 3.3 per cent two years ago and 3.7 per cent last year. The BBC has said it wants Scotland’s network production to be equivalent to its share of the UK population (around nine per cent), by 2016.

Said Thompson: “The BBC is making good progress in delivering irreversible changes that will increase the production and commissioning of network programmes in Scotland.

“Whilst this will not happen overnight, it will bring about a fundamental change in the make-up of the BBC and move an increasing volume of network production closer to the audiences we serve in Scotland.”

Last year, a commission into the future of Scottish broadcasting – set up by First Minister, Alex Salmond – recommended the creation of a Scottish content-based digital TV channel (with supporting online presence).

The commission had been set up amid concerns about the low percentage of Scotland-made TV programmes making it to the BBC Network.

Added Thompson: “The Scottish season will explore and celebrate the enormous cultural contribution Scotland has made and also bang the drum for Scottish creativity.”

Continued the BBC: “Alan Cumming, Peter Capaldi, Rory Bremner, Andrew Marr, Kirsty Wark, A.L. Kennedy, and Charles Kennedy are all set to take part in a special Scottish season on BBC Four.

“The month long season, due to transmit in the autumn, will include a broad sweep of programming celebrating and dissecting aspects of Scottish culture, art, film-making, heritage, landscape and psyche.”