STV Again Criticised by ITV

The Scottish television broadcaster, STV, has again found itself on the receiving end of ire from ITV, this time at the Edinburgh International TV Festival.

In the middle of a lively debate on public service broadcasting – which comprised a panel including Channel 4's chief executive, Andy Duncan, and his Five counterpart, Dawn Airey – ITV's chief operating officer, John Cresswell, accused STV of “not serving its viewers”.

He particularly criticised STV for declining to broadcast tomorrow and Monday a dramatisation of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Instead, it is screening Sirens – a psychological thriller starring Scots actress, Daniela Nardini.

Recently, particularly the 9pm slot on a Thursday, STV has been opting out of the ITV1 schedule, showing, instead, locally-made programmes. ITV is saying that STV owes it £22 million as its share towards the making of network programmes and earlier this month, Michael Grade, ITV's executive chair, said he was “mystified” by STV's opting-out policy.

Cresswell added that Wuthering Heights was the Pick of the Week in most newspapers and that STV viewers were being denied the opportunity to see it and other high-quality original drama which the ITV network is investing in. 

From among the audience, STV's director of programming and marketing, defended the opting-out policy, saying that Scotland was a devolved nation and Scottish viewers wanted different content.