Scots still displaying strong appetite for history TV, says survey

THE appetite among Scots for TV programmes about Scottish history and heritage appears undimmed, despite a recent BBC Scotland series charting the history of Scotland plus a month of programmes dedicated to Scotland on BBC 4.

Says a survey – involving a sample of 1,000 Scots questioned between September 23 and October 2 last year – some 46 per cent of respondents feel there is still ‘too little’ heritage and history programming on television, despite BBC Scotland’s History of Scotland – fronted by Neil Oliver – and BBC 4’s This is Scotland.

Compared to a similar survey 12 months previously, the figure is down ten per cent. When asked if there was ‘too much’ heritage and history on their TV screens, less people, 44 per cent, said yes – again, up ten per cent on the year before.

The wide-ranging survey was commissioned by the Scottish Government, continuing research undertaken when the Scottish Broadcasting Commission was taking evidence on the future of Scottish broadcasting, and which concluded, in September 2008, that a dedicated digital TV channel be set up (backed by a significant online presence), committed to the production of ‘high-quality’ Scottish content.

However, when asked if coverage of the Scottish arts was ‘very important’, only 29 per cent of respondents in the most recent survey said yes, compared to 39 per cent when the same question was asked 12 months before. In fact, some 15 per cent of respondents said coverage of the Scottish arts was either fairly unimportant or very unimportant, up seven per cent on the year before. Indeed, to a variety of questions about Scottish content, there seemed to be less enthusiasm than previously – arguably a reflection that, since 2008, both BBC Scotland and STV had started transmitting more Scottish content.

Asked if they considered coverage in the following areas – informing and teaching about Scotland, reflecting Scotland’s character, representing the way people in Scotland live and representing local ares – as ‘very important’, the figures were all down on 12 months before: 37 per cent (as opposed to 43 per cent), 37 per cent (44 per cent), 31 per cent (37 per cent) and 28 per cent (34 per cent).

More to follow tomorrow…. including on Stat of the Day.