It’s official, the BBC will not proceed with plans for a Scottish Six – an hour-long news programme of national and international stories presented from Glasgow at 6pm Monday to Friday.
I say: “Phew! That’s a relief!”
We already have an hour of such news, but it’s broken into two half hours – one from London, the other from Glasgow. In my view it works perfectly well.
Why change a winning formula and one that’s the envy of news broadcasters worldwide?
But while Lord Hall, the Beeb’s director general, wisely rebuffed political pressure to ditch Huw Edwards and Sophie Raworth in favour of Jackie Bird and Sally Magnusson – excellent broadcasters though they are – at 6pm Monday to Friday, he conjured-up something unexpected.
“Let’s give them their own channel,” he said, “and call it, er BBC Scotland, and show all the Scottish programmes on it. Oh, and we’ll make it a digital channel”.
That may not satisfy everybody, of course, given that when the flagship news programme is being transmitted – at 9pm – most of us will be watching a high-budget drama elsewhere.
So, who’ll be watching?
Not many, I fear.
Shunted into the shadows will be Jackie, Sally, Brian Taylor, the political editor, and a Scottish reporting team whose profile is about to slip off the radar.
Lord Hall’s compromise is clever.
But it means drama, documentaries and comedy produced in Scotland, which sometimes made the national network, will be consigned only to the digital channel.
It will certainly suit the BBC in London, many of whose top executives simply do not rate TV north of the border.
Scottish programme-makers, on the other hand, may not be so satisfied.
So, Lord Hall wasn’t listening after all
As the BBC is a subject of discussion, this column remembers when Lord Hall, pictured, promised the days of actors mumbling their way through a drama were at an end.
He said this following an outcry over the Jamaica Inn series in 2014 when it shed 1.4 million viewers because of “sound problems”.
Have we seen – or rather heard – improvements?
SS-GB, shown on Sunday, indicates Lord Hall hasn’t been listening.