Eggheads help to increase Scotland’s share of BBC UK output

SCOTLAND’S share of UK-wide TV programmes on the BBC has increased to just over six per cent, thanks to the making of well-known programmes such as The Review Show, Eggheads and The Weakest Link.

According to production figures released by the BBC, network production spend has grown from 3.7 per cent two years ago to 6.1 per cent last year.

Across the UK, some 37.7 per cent of network programmes were made outside London last year, compared to 34.9 per cent the year before.

It is part of a deliberate strategy by the Corporation to spread production throughout the ‘nations and regions’, with the target for Scotland set at nine per cent for six years’ time.

This year, a number of popular strands moved to BBC Scotland’s HQ at Pacific Quay, Glasgow, including The Weakest Link, Eggheads, The Review Show and some of the Saturday Night Lottery shows such as In It To Win It and Tonight’s the Night.

New or returning commissions for network included Old Guys, Life of Riley, children’s series Mission 2110, History of Scotland’ and a new drama with David Tennant, Single Father.

The targets were set two years ago by Jana Bennett, Director BBC Vision to ensure that 50 per cent of total network production spend was in the ‘nations and regions’ by 2016.

In a statement, Bennett is quoted, saying: “Eighteen months ago the BBC set itself ambitious targets to spend more of the Licence Fee across the whole nation and I am incredibly pleased that we have made such good progress. It underlines our commitment to work with in-house teams and independent companies across the UK, especially when so many of them are feeling under pressure in the current economic climate.

“While there is some way to go, I am confident that we will reach our target of delivering 50 per cent of our network production from the Nations and English Regions by 2016 and more clearly reflect the whole of the UK in our content on every platform.”

Three years ago, a broadcasting commission was set up by First Minister, Alex Salmond, in response to concerns that Scotland’s share of UK output on the BBC was far too low. The Scottish Broadcasting Commission two years ago recommended the setting up of a Scottish Digital Network – a digital TV channel, backed by a big online presence, dedicated to ‘high quality’ Scottish content.