New BBC Scotland channel will have a 'People's News' programme

BBC Scotland is due to launch its new 32 million channel in February.
BBC Scotland is due to launch its new 32 million channel in February.
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It is the channel which will finally meet demands for television viewers north of the border to get their own “Scottish news hour.”

But BBC Scotland’s new flagship news programme is set to get an unlikely rival when it goes on air early next year.

Bosses have confirmed plans for a “People’s News” broadcast, which will allow ordinary members of the public the chance to give their take on topical events.

Around 20 contributors, including Hebridean fisherman, students in the Highlands, Paisley boxers and Aberdeenshire publicans, could become the nation’s new TV stars if the show takes off.

The “fast-moving and funny” People’s News will offer people from across country the chance to give their take on topical news and events. They will be sent clips of “alternative and mainstream” news to deliver their verdicts on while they are out and about.

The half-hour show has been commissioned for the “outward-looking “channel, which will have talking and laughing as its “two main pillars.”

It has already been announced that the hour-long “Scottish Nine” programme, will offer a mix of Scottish, UK and world news at 9pm from Monday-Friday, with shorter bulletins at the weekend.

BBC Scotland chiefs have pledged that the Scottish Nine programme “will be able to compete with the strongest TV news programmes in Scotland and anywhere across the UK.”

Other shows will include a fly-on-the-wall documentary with fashion vlogger Jamie Genevieve, who has notched up 40 million views on YouTube and has more than a million Instagram followers.

Rapper, commentator and Poverty Safari author Darren “Loki” McGarvey will have his own show, taking viewers on an “alternative” tour of lesser-known communities around Scotland. A motoring-themed game show, Test Drive, will be fronted by wrestling star and actor Graeme “Grado” Stevely.

BBC Scotland will also be launching episodes of its long-running drama series River City and its hit comedy Scot Squad on the new channel. Bosses also refused to ruled out unveiling the final series of Still Game in the same way.

Steve Carson, BBC Scotland’s head of multi-platform commissioning at, said: “First and foremost, the channel is about modern Scotland. When I was applying for this job I came across a piece of audience research among viewers in Scotland. They felt television in Scotland did not fully represent contemporary Scotland.

“They didn’t see themselves and their lives on screen the way they’d want to. It felt like there was a gap, but also an opportunity and a challenge.

“We want shows that are packed full of people, their stories and their views. We’ve set out an ambition with producers for innovative programming. The channel is a space to play and try out new things.

"Diversity is very important - in terms of ethnicity, gender, age, social background and geography - there will be a real push to go outside Glasgow.
“The channel is about bringing in new voices and perspectives that might otherwise not be heard, and creating something that might not otherwise be created. We’re about offering alternatives to what other channels are doing. It is a point of difference and distinction.”

Mr Carson said around 270 hours of programming had been commissioned from 74 different “suppliers” - either independent production companies or in-house producers .

He added: “Ultimately, the new channel is about is creating hundreds of hours of additional programming for audiences in Scotland.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW BBC SCOTLAND CHANNEL

BBC Scotland’s new channel will be on-air 365 days a day from 12 noon till midnight.

Only around half of its content will be original programmes, which will be screened during its core hours between 7pm and midnight.

A mix of new drama, documentaries, factual entertainment programmes, comedy and sport is promised on the new channel, which will have an initial annual budget of £32 million.

BBC Scotland has revealed that new episodes of existing shows like River City and Scot Squad will be aired for the first time there, instead of on BBC One.

However, it has unveiled several brand new shows which have been specially commissioned for the new venture.

The first major documentary to be announced for the new channel is Last Breath, which will recount the drama which unfolded after a diver was left stranded on the seabed of the North Sea.

Billed as a cross between the blockbuster films Gravity and Touching the Voice, it will recall how Chris Lemons, 32, was working 262ft under water when his supply line was accidentally cut and how he managed to survive for 40 minutes before being rescued.

BBC Scotland has spent three months filming with Jamie Genevieve to chart her remarkable journey from a beauty counter to becoming a YouTube sensation thanks to her online beauty tutorials.

Test Drive will see Scottish wrestling star Grado become the unlikely host of a car-based game-show in which participants will set off on road trips through some of the nation’s favourite landscapes – while they are challenged to ask questions posed via satnav.

BBC Scotland has revealed that Darren “Loki” McGarvey will be fronting his own series months after the rapper and award-winning commentator won the Orwell Prize for his debut book, Poverty Safari, which McGarvey has also turned .

Billed as “an alternative tour of Scotland,” BBC Scotland says the yet-to-be named programme will shine the spotlight on communities that are “seldom seen or heard."