Documentaries on Robert Burns and the independence referendum among STV’s 2013 highlights

Robert Burns will be part of STV's 2013 schedule. Picture: Getty
Robert Burns will be part of STV's 2013 schedule. Picture: Getty
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THE true face of Robert Burns is to be re-created by forensic scientists as part of a new STV documentary.

• Robert Burns documentary announced as part of STV’s 2013 highlights

• Other highlights include the documentary Road to the Referendum

• STV News at 6 has highest audience share for over ten years

The actor and film director David Hayman will present In Search of Robert Burns, which attempts to get under the skin of the 18th century Scots poet by reconstructing a life-size model of Burns with the assistance of forensic scientists from Dundee University.

The one-off documentary was announced as part of STV’s highlights for 2013 which also include a three-part documentary series, Road to the Referendum, which examines how, in a single generation, Scotland has gone from being at the heart of the union to being on the verge of breaking it up.

Other highlights include a new series of Scottish Passport, in which Alex Norton and Sarah Heaney will travel around the world, as will a number of lucky STV viewers, and the return of Animal 999 featuring injured animals and following the dedicated work of the SPCA inspectors.

There will also be a new food series with celebrity chefs Paul Rankin and Nick Nairn examining the culinary link between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The documentary In Search of Robert Burns will follow Hayman, the celebrated Scots actor who has a passion for the poet’s work, as he explores Burns’ background and what he describes as “the bawdy erotic side” of his work. A key feature of the mini-series will be an attempt by forensic scientists to construct an accurate model of what he actually looked like.

STV also highlighted the fact that STV News at 6pm is enjoying the highest audience share for over ten years while Scotland Tonight attracts 500,000 views every week, an average of 100,000 per night, which at times is double the viewing figures for the BBC’s Newsnight Scotland. When Scotland Tonight broadcast a special edition dedicated to the collapse of Rangers the viewing figures rose to 350,000.

Elizabeth Partyka, deputy director of channels at STV, said: “Over the course of a month, 94 per cent of Scots watch STV which goes to show that we are delivering programmes that are relevant and engaging for our audiences. We had seven out of the top ten entertainment shows in 2012 and the best watched TV programme across the year so far, Britain’s Got Talent. We aim to provide viewers with a great mix of entertainment, news and current affairs and drama and this will continue with our 2013 schedule, combining the very best network content with the very best of Scottish programming.”

Last night The Poison Tree, a two-part drama produced by STV, was broadcast on the ITV Network. The drama is part of the station’s strategy to expand from the period when Taggart was its only network drama. STV are also developing a mini-series based on the life of William Wallace.

Yesterday Alan Clements, director of content for STV Productions, said: “The Poison Tree is a fantastic example of a successful STV Productions’ commission that is being broadcast across the ITV network. We look forward to bringing new dramas, factual entertainment and entertainment programmes to all the major channels next year. Antiques Road Trip, which has been a ratings success, will continue with a sixth series and will be joined on BBC 2 by Country Show Cook Off, which features top chefs travelling the country to compete with locals at country fairs.

“We also have two new game shows, Catchphrase and Fake Reaction, which will be debuting on ITV1 and ITV2 respectively.”