Hogmanay TV highlighted trend towards cost-cutting
YOU will be pleased to be reminded that there are just 360 days before we are subjected to the next Hogmanay TV show; tartan, accordions, frantic fiddlers, Auld Lang Syne and audiences clapping along with the music, frequently in time.
STV’s offering on New Year’s Eve came from the 19th Century frigate HMS Unicorn, berthed in Dundee, where we had to assume there were more members of the audience than the small group we’d see every couple of minutes.
There was hardly enough room to swing the ship’s cat and the production values didn’t even reach the plimsol line.
The mantra of some television outfits – “let’s not see how well we can do this; let’s see how cheaply it can be done” – has been around since Margaret Thatcher’s reign.
Less money prompted new thinking.
Who, for example, would have believed darts would have proved so popular among a certain type of viewer?
When I worked for Grampian TV, Johnny Beattie, a battalion of kilted dancers and singers churning out “Over the Sea to Skye” and “Marie’s Wedding” – God, how I hate those songs – were always predictable parts of Hogmanay.
Then there was Grampian’s innovation.
Squash on the tele. Yes, watching two blokes skiting a rubber ball no one could see around a squash court.
Shinty, too. Another outside broadcast – this time played on an area bigger than a football pitch with a ball the size of a cricket ball – was added to the list of “spot-the-ball” programmes nobody watched.
So, as we wonder how long it will be before we see the Scottish Domino Championships on our screens, can we look forward to Hogmanay extravaganza being transmitted from somebody’s house?
Probably the producer’s. Well, it would keep costs down.
Continued support from low-income households
The latest polls show the majority of Scots don’t want an independence referendum this year. So, nothing new there.
Strangely, given that the SNP Government can’t get to grips with the economy, almost half – 48% – of those from households on less than £25,000 a year are in favour of independence.
Bizarrely, they appear to believe an independent Scotland, with the same lot in charge, will improve their lives.
Perhaps Mod could come to Trump’s aid?
I may have a solution to the little difficulty facing Donald Trump in his quest to find someone to sing at his Presidential inauguration ceremony on January 20.
There seems to be a queue of artists unwilling to ruin their careers by being part of the Washington DC event.
But might An Comunn Gàidhealach – Royal National Mod to you and me – come to his rescue by recommending a chanter from the Isle of Lewis, home to the President-elect’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod?