Hello Good Evening and Welcome

I’ve just been interviewed by BBC Scotland for their new digital channel.

‘So, Derek. What do you think of our plans for a dedicated nightly channel with a full bulletin of international news?’

‘Well, Jackie, I’m overwhelmed. Frankly, I didn’t think they’d have the guts to do it. But I was wrong. This will definitely settle the Nationalists’ hash.’

‘Have you seen the running order?’

‘I certainly have and I’m delighted to see that three of the five hours will be filmed in your lovely home interviewing celebrity guests like Lulu and John Barrowman under the title At Home with Jackie. I also think it’s a real media coup to get David Mundell to present the news hour so we can get his unique take on current affairs. I hear his first exclusive is how he shared an office suite with Alistair Carmichael for all those months but never heard a word about a plan to leak a memo claiming Sturgeon wanted the Tories to win the last election. Apparently Mundell used to dive into cupboards when he saw him coming and locked himself in the loo shouting la la la when Carmichael tried to tell him. Amazing story…’

‘Critics have said it will be parochial and will be used to project a British Unionist view of the country. That can’t be true, can it?’

‘Certainly not. If you can extrapolate the price of oil into an international story affecting Scotland, you can do the same with the price of mince in Auchtermuchty which I understand is £2 a kilo at the Co-op but only £1.75 at Lidl – and they’re German so the Brexit equation looms large there, Jackie.’

‘Eh…I see. But will it do enough to silence SNP critics?’

‘Absolutely, especially the interactive idea. I think fastening GA Ponsonby into an electric chair and asking viewers to press the Red Button to send 300 volts through him will be a ratings hit. And, of course, it will also engage the European Court of Human Rights and possibly the Geneva Convention so there’s an international angle right there.’

‘Are there any drawbacks?’

‘Well, I think naming the channel the Queen Elizabeth Memorial BBC North British BBC One will alienate some and not everyone will wait to hear God Save the Queen played out at midnight but then people said that late night show with Sarah Smith wouldn’t last and look at it now…’

‘I must say, it’s great to have you back in the studio, Derek.’

‘Thanks, Jackie. You don’t think the Union Jack waistcoat is too much then…?’


Now, if the BBC really did ask me I’d say what we have here is a platform to launch a whole new look at current affairs, not just Scottish-related news. The danger of the Scottish Six was that it would necessarily follow a certain low-key, hum drum path well worn over the years because it’s tea-time (families!) and the tone has to fit broadly with the UK news which proceeds it. In other words, international or not, it would, if it did its job, merely reflect the normal BBC news agenda – and repeat stories you’d already seen if you watched both.

But starting at 7pm and with news not on air until 9pm when children are abed – well, certainly mine are – there is a chance for some proper grown-up broadcasting. It could even be edgy, you know, challenging and eye-opening. There could even be adult themes which right now are regarded as taboo in BBC land unless handled by an ironic London presenter. If you have a blank page which this pretty much is apart from the news itself, you have space for the stories that lie outwith the diary-led, PR company, corporate spin machine – and you can get indy people to make them. (That’s independent producers, not freedom fighters). The BBC blurb wants to work with the creative sector. Well here is the chance to commission a whole panorama (pun, there) of ideas from budding film makers who can use today’s accessible technology to tell stories that fall outside the predictable purview of the BBC tram tracks.

They needn’t be 30 minutes but maybe seven minute injects or quarter hours. When you’ve got time to use, you don’t need to be tied down to standard durations.

I do hope they don’t rely on too many existing staff who will bring that deadly sense of familiarity. This is a chance to break with the past and uncover new talent, to take a different approach. The charter will demand balance (ahem) but that doesn’t mean that people with opinions shouldn’t be commissioned to make programmes from their standpoint – so long as someone with an alternative view also has access.

This excites me like the year of the indyref did. I wanted BBC Scotland to step up and project our broadcasters as the best there is. We should have produced the gold standard in reporting in 2014 and made the BBC the must-go place for what was an international story. It didn’t happen that way but here is another opportunity that really can’t be allowed to have the BBC’s corporate chloroform clamped over its mouth.

Let’s start firing in ideas for programmes. Demand access. Insist on new formats and proper budgets. If it’s our BBC channel, let’s claim it. And I’d like it to dovetail closely with Alba because it is through an overlap between the two that a sustained renaissance in Gaelic can grow right across the Scottish media and find its way into every home and laptop.

I know, I know. I’m going to be disappointed. Bound to be. But there can be no excuses for Donalda Mackinnon now. She has the basic kit with which to win back an audience and, with such a low budget compared to Scotland’s licence fee take, plenty of scope for claiming more resources – if she an make a success of it. Come on, Donalda. ‘S urrainn dhut a dhèanamh!

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35 thoughts on “Hello Good Evening and Welcome

  1. Well as much as a lot of people here would want it ,I doubt if you are going to get a call from Jackie , I met her once at Glasgow Airport she really is very nice to speak to not the Dragon many of us expect , anyway I caught the end of i think it must have been John Beatie this afternoon , he was discussing the proposed new programme and the extra funding with some BBC English Bod , and he said of course BBC Wales do quite well they get 110 % of the Licence Fee thats raised in Wales , and Ireland do quite well also , he then came on to Scotland and proudly says over the next five years the BBC would be spending extra here , well i thought thats not bad ,, then i checked over the next five years the BBC will collect approx One Billion seven hundred and fifty million from Scotland , I doubt very much if that will be spent here , if so i guess it will be a Whole series of how bad and corrupt the SNP are that should keep half the country happy while the other half are being ignored as usual . WELL DONE Aunty hip hip chaps .

  2. Aye, let’s all send in requests for lots of factual Scottish historical costume dramas. That should make them shite their pants!

  3. I for one was willing to give the BBC one last chance over the “Scottish Six”, but alas I can’t share your attempt at enthusiasm, Derek, for an evening-only digital backwater as ersatz alternative.

    The people that the independence movement needs to reach the most are those who get most of their information relayed by the main UK (ie. English) news and parochial Lab-BritNat Reporting Scotland. They are not going to change viewing habits. Which is precisely why the BBC, following their “UK unity” charter agenda, have refused to sanction any change there.

    The very last thing we need are two broadcasting ghettoes, an “oldie” BritNat mainstream BBC1 and a “youth” pro-indy digital channel. (Not that there’s much prospect of the latter either being pro-indy or watched by the young anyway. Or anyone else much, for that matter.)

    Nah, the BBC have been drinking in the last-chance saloon, and the taps have just run dry. We need a new SBC of our own now.

    • Fully agree !
      If the Beeb bosses are giving us something then check for booby-traps , poisoned umbrellas and other lethal projectiles .
      And £20 million for a new channel ? What happened to the £320 million collected annually ?

  4. It’s no different to Stvs digital channel. They are 6 years behind. We still get ITV news and the Stv channel has made sod all difference.

    You see if you give people a choice they choose the familiar. In other words whatever is on normal BBC. Make no mistake they want to make sure we get BBC England news at six. The new channel is pish and won’t come into force till Autumn 2018. Something else might have happened by then though!

  5. Alasdair Macdonald

    I agree with Mr Bateman. There is an opportunity here.

    Sadly, the responses of so many pro-independence commentators are pure soorfacedness!

    Is it because the sense of grievance that the BBC symbolises has been a little alleviated?

    • No , it is learning from experience . If they ( the London beeb ) are giving us something then it can only mean it is of limited value – or none !

  6. Not soor at all. I am very cynical. They don’t want us having a mainstream national news programme end of. They are there to maintain the status quo. To keep Scotland in its place!

    It’s like believing the Vow. It takes a great deal of naivity and poor judgement to do so. The BBC despise the Snp and the current Scottish government. Their job is to weaken Scotland, much like Mundell. The ship has sailed the BBC are like Slab in Scotland….out of time and out of touch.

    • Aye. Only the hard wired gullible and naive are buying this news. I’d sooner buy smelly fish than this lie from the BBC’s propaganda office at No. 10.

      • Absolutely manandboy. I read your comment on W.O.S and you sum it up completely. And Robert Graham, I too happened to be in the company of Jackie Bird a number of years ago, and she fully lived down to my expectations. I certainly wouldn’t have liked to go home to her with a broken pay-poke.

  7. They will still be London’s Stooges. Like others here I am deeply cynical. BLiS will be laughing at the cynical use of TV TAX payers coin to fund its propaganda not on just channel but a second BBC channel. The Yoons will dancing in glee that they can even more funds to pump out even more anti Scottish Propaganda and not SG SNP bad bleats. You would need to be brain deid if you think the BBC is capable or rising above being a front for poisonous Yoonery.

  8. It’s better than nothing, and could develop into something more substantial, but the relatively low budget risks enhancing perceptions of low quality..

    The digital channel… is there any mention of it even being in HD?

    • Trouble is that it will not be better than nothing. It will not even be better than what we get now. Which is wall to wall Westminster Establishment propaganda. Not only does it leave what we do get now still in place but it will probably reinforce what is already being broadcast by the network.

      As to the arts and culture – these in Scotland have mainly Englanders at the helm and reflect more the arts & culture of those heads rather than those of Scotland.

      The expression, “Ye canna teach an auld dug new tricks”, springs to mend and is interpreted as, “You will be unable to teach the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation to embrace SCOTTISH news, culture, arts, or indeed anything Scottish other that the dire claptrap and lies it spews out 24/7/365 at present.

      We are about to see just another, more intense, London Propaganda channel that is deliberately broadcasting at peak times when their faithful sheeple are otherwise engaged watching their usual pap on the main BBC Scotland channel.

      This thing has been designed by London to fail so they can tell us, “We told you so”.

      Why do you imagine they were resistant to, “A Scottish Six”, in the first place?

    • I’d rather have nothing,all we’ll get is more budding Birds, Smith’s, ponsonby’s and heaven forbid..Andrew Neil’s, spouting their lies and propaganda.they”‘ve spent more on the great British bake off than they’ll spend on this feeble attempt to curry favour with the electorate…ah wonder who will be presenting the new impartial, unbiased news hour ….that’ll be shinin’ .

  9. Needed that. 😀

    On the ‘edgy’ theme…

    … We could always ask Frankie Boyle to host a regular political dissection prog. 😉

  10. I have to say I am very dubious. If they followed the BBC Alba model, which produces quality programs, including the excellent Eorpa, I would be all for it. However, experience suggests that it is little more than a sweetie to pacify a bairn.

  11. Never forget, the B.B.C is the British Establishment’s propaganda channel to the masses. It has been ever so, and will remain subservient to its masters, doing their bidding, which in this case is to deny us our independence.
    It wouldn’t matter if they announced a 24hr Scottish channel, it would still be filled with lies and deceit, staffed by the same fellow-travellers as now, and featuring the usual assortment of unionist promoting lackeys, all eager to denigrate “their” country, and especially the S.N.P Government, who are trying to make life better for all of us, with one hand tied behind their back by a Westminster Government who, apart from our wealth, couldn’t give a toss about Scotland, or its people.
    I hope by the time this channel comes into being, that we are only short time away from becoming an independent country once again, and it becomes even more irrelevant than I expect it to be.

  12. The only way a program like this would work is if the BBC were not running it.
    They have been proven to be biased, to be liars and when it suits their agenda make up the news, most of which has been aimed at Scotland.
    To expect the people of Scotland to put their grievances about the BBC aside and welcome a new “Scottish” channel with open arms is pushing it a bit.
    The BBC should hand over broadcasting in Scotland to an independent broadcaster funded directly by the Scottish licence fee and stop trying to increase the hours of propaganda they pump out.

  13. Derek, you said it yourself in an article not so long ago. The BBC in Scotland is institutionally biased. They are, according to your view, not even aware they are being biased. (I have a different view). So my question is – how exactly will the birth of a new BBC channel in Scotland be any less at risk of this unconscious institutionalised BBC bias? Answer is, Derek – it simply won’t and it won’t be free from it because the BBC in Scotland can’t even admit to it.

    This proposed new ‘channel’ is doomed before it even gets on the drawing board let alone off it.

  14. The BBC , I believe the only one here who is Competent to objectivity view the workings of this organisation and also the aims and objectives of the Independence movement as a whole, is Derek Bateman I know this has given a few to question his motives, well having followed this Blog for some time , I trust Derek Bateman to tell us the Truth about the BBC after all he has experience of them from the other side of the fence we don’t,
    Also I stand by my comments on Jackie Bird I can only comment on as I found speaking to her, she wasn’t the dragon she is perceived by many now.

  15. They will not allow broadcasting to be devolved to Holyrood. It was refused time and time again. That should answer anyone who doubts the theory that London wants to culturally contain and subvert Scotland. We are not raving frothing Nats. We are people who have opened our eyes to cultural imperialism. Much like Rosie and McaDiarmid have previously warned of in the past.

    Deny a country it’s culture and you deny it’s existence. Fill the cultural bodies with Angles and and you Anglify the culture.

    We exist despite them but not in the way that we should exist as independent thinkers.

  16. Can a leopard change it’s spots? Can the state broadcaster, the BBC be apolitical whilst Brexit is being negotiated, and Scotland determining her future, on whether to retain EU membership?

    A more substantial budget share, and a news programme set at 7 not 9 pm when the daft costume dramas start would be more convincing intent at meeting demand.

    Anyway, I’m done with the BBC, even if they offered me a free license, oh I forgot I qualify as an oldie. I haven’t bothered to apply, just not interested.

  17. Don’t pay the bbc tax. Let britnats pay for britnat propaganda.

  18. Look at the timing Derek. Autumn next year. Just AFTER the now expected New IndyRef (mustn’t call it IndyRef2, sorry Nicola) it will be hostage to the vote. Expect it to be used as an argument by BT2, sorry BT Not Bloody Again! along the lines of ‘if you vote Yes you will lose this fantastic, much awaited new BBC channel’. No, me neither.

    It will also be too late for the IndyRef and possibly forced to cravenly gush over iScotland’s prospect in hope that the dastardly, bridge closing, SNP don’t wipe the slate clean and start over again in forging the SBC.

  19. Broadcasting is a nice activity, like golf, but less popular, stamp-collecting or an interest in Mongolian throat-singing. It’s all very well for them that enjoys that sort of thing

  20. I wonder how much they spent flying London TV presenters up to Scotland in 2014 to cover our games. Not one Scot was the anchor on any of the broadcasts. Our Scottish games were hijacked and presented through the eyes of the English commentators. What other nation on earth allows that.

    I mentioned that to a Brit Nat and they said:” I don’t care where the presenters are from as long as they are the best”. In other words the English presenters are the best and only them. This typifies the meek , too poor , too dim too stupid mentality of the average Brit/Scot. How in hell’s name do we manage to present our football games if we are too stupid. Remember when our football was commentated on by English RP accented buffoons. We have moved on from that surely.

    Why were our games not presented by Beattie, Donnelly, Rob Maclean, Hazel Irvine etc. These are talented presenters. This idea that we need big brother to take over the big things is what’s held us back. The BBC stand guilty of cultural imperialism.

    • I have just watched two series made by the BBC one on the SAS and another called british history’s biggest fibs if i wasnt looking for it i would have missed the omission of anything remotely bordering on anything to do with Scotland or scottish people , we are being airbrushed out of history by the BBC its as if they have a built in program that removes any reference to us as a country , just as you mention the absence of our presenters in the Games we hosted and Paid for , it’s like someone having a party in your house and you having to look in the window , very subtle but in the end effective this subliminal propaganda . it goes deeper and has been going on longer than we think . This along with the deliberate removal of Scottish history from the curriculum in the fifties its no wonder a lot of scots dont have a clue about their own history myself included , although i am trying to catch up and one of the best sources is Tom Devine of Irish descent who has a good knowledge of our history .

  21. Robert I only learnt who William Wallace was when I was 17. I got a job in Stirling and asked who the statue was. The locals were amazed. That’s how good our education system was. I didn’t know one of the most important Scots in our entire history.

    Yet I knew about the Tudors and Saxons. This was an 80s education!

  22. Alasdair Macdonald.

    I am disappointed in the degree of feartness being shown by many commenters whom I have seen as pretty strongly and articulately pro independence.

    I saw it my days as a trade unionist when deals were reached in negotiations. They only wanted what they had wanted and did not want what had to be conceded. Negotiation always involves compromise. They would shout loudly of ‘sell out’!

    This is not a huge step, but it can be perceived as a crack in the wall, and as the late and lamented bard of Montreal said, “There is a crack in everything and that is how the light gets in.” It is an opportunity. Carpe diem! Like the Smith Agreement, it is not all that good, but it is a shift in the right direction, admittedly a small one, but a shift. We have to take the chance and have the courage to make something of it. Otherwise it is being defeatist and letting the unionists sneer that we are fears to take the chance.

    This is the same disdain many YESSERS have shown for people, like pensioners, who are hesitant about voting YES. My wife and I are pensioners and we voted YES and will do on any future occasion when we get the chance.

    There is a sad echo of the crafters on Harris, who when offered the land by Lord Leverhulme, were fears to take the responsibility. Fortunately their descendants are made of bolder stuff.

    If all some of you can do is bad mouth Jackie Bird, one has to question your preparedness to act as if you were in the early days of a better nation.

    • Alasdair Macdonald.

      Apologies for not noticing a few places where the autocorrect changed Scots terms like ‘feart’ and ‘crofters’. However, I am sure you will have guessed from the context

  23. Derek, is there no appetite in Scotland’s broadcasting and journalism community to set up operations independently of what is after all, independence’s biggest opponent?

    With the strength and breadth of the Independence movement and the widespread estrangement from the BBC, there’s a huge opening in the market. Why follow a London lead when Scots could take their own?

    20 or 30 million quid would be a lot of money in my current account, but in the world of business investment is middling at most. Enough to set up a chain of 30 or 40 fast food joints?

    Broadcasting is not devolved, but “available on iPlayer” is unregulated, like everything else on the net. How much of BBC viewership is online v on-air? What price first entry into a broadcasting market that looks likely to open right up in the next 5-10 years?

  24. Who – apart from the extremely low information demographic – could possibly believe for one single moment that the BRITISH broadcasting corporation could ever be “fair, impartial and unbiased” when it comes to Scotland and Scottish affairs? They’d be putting themselves out of a job and a whole lot more if they actually started broadcasting anything resembling truth and facts in relation to Scotland’s plight in the union.

    Doesn’t matter what drivel they wheel out, they’re finished. They just don’t know it yet.

  25. BBC Scotland will only become Scotland’s broadcaster after independence, when we divvy up the assets. To pretend or delude yourself that the State Broadcaster for the UK , can become impartial is ludicrous.

    The current talking head presenters are part of the problem ,with a few limited exceptions. They are machine journalists much like Dugdale is a machine politician.

    BBC is like Terminator” It cannot and will not stop” until the lights are turned out. Jackie Burd is just like Mundell, on the wrong side, and on the wrong side of history. These people are of limited talent but have carved a cosy niche in the British establishment. They are lapdogs to the state. Salivating at the prospect of pleasing their masters.

  26. Well I hope you lot know yer all Racist bigots, who said so Mr Kahn you know him Lord Mayor of London, so mend your ways and stop this damaging Independence trip your on .

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