BBC criticised for labelling England games as ‘Scottish productions’

Joan McAlpine says programmes have "nothing to do with Scotland."
Joan McAlpine says programmes have "nothing to do with Scotland."
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England football internationals are being classed as "Scottish" TV productions by the BBC amid fresh concerns over the corporation's commitment to programming making north of the border.

The Women's FA Cup Final this year between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley was also deemed Scottish.

It has prompted claims that Beeb chiefs are "badging" shows as being made north of the border to meet "out of London" quotas, even though they may have no relevance to Scots.

Holyrood's culture committee heard today that independent producers in Scotland are "very unhappy" about the way current guidelines are being interpreted by the BBC.

The committee was taking evidence from broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. The public purpose of taking productions out of London is to "support the creative economy" in regions of the UK, convenor Joan McAlpine said, and to "reflect the nation to the rest of the UK."

But Ms McAlpine said: "You could be making a programme which is badged as a Scottish programme which has nothing at all to do with Scotland."

She added: "Looking at your own list here - the women's FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea or the England v Serbia Euro 2017 Qualifier qualifies as a Scottish production."


Ms McAlpine also said that the recent drama Rillington Place, depicting the notorious John Christie murders in London, was classed as Scottish.


"It's got nothing to do with Scotland - the casting wouldn't have been Scottish and the production wouldn't have taken place here," Ms McApline added.


"So clearly there's a question mark over that."


Kevin Bakhurst, Group Director, Content and Media Policy at Ofcom said that the portrayal and representation in Scottish programming was one of the "main concerns" of the watchdog.


But he said for Scotland to have a "truly diverse" creative industry it should be able to produce a range of shows, including sport.


"I would urge people not to dismiss programmes like the Women's FA Cup Final because it bring investment to a different part of the creative sector," he said.


"For the creative sector to have the breadth of talent, for it to create jobs and bring in the right kind of investment here, I think it's really important that those kind of programme are not just written out.


"But it's equally important that there is an emphasis put on representation and portrayal."


Ofcom chiefs are reviewing the "out of London" guidelines aimed at ensuring more programmes are made all across the UK, including Scotland.


Mr Bakhurst said Ofcom was acting because many shows classed as Scottish were meeting official guidelines, but not producing "proper investment and development of the creative industries in Scotland."