BBC Scotland's new director Donalda Mackinnon to decide on Scottish Six

Donalda MacKinnon has been appointed BBC Scotland's first female figurehead.
Donalda MacKinnon has been appointed BBC Scotland's first female figurehead.
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BBC Scotland has appointed the first female figurehead in its history, with one of her first jobs set to be deciding on the so-called Scottish Six bulletin.

Former teacher Donalda Mackinnon has taken charge at Pacific Quay in Glasgow after being promoted to the post of director.

A former head of Gaelic and children’s services for the BBC in Scotland, she has most recently head of programmes.

Ms Mackinnon, 55, from the Isle of Harris, will take charge of all commissioning and production north of the border after being appointed to succeed Ken MacQuarrie. He was promoted to a new post of director of nations and regions in September, after seven years at the helm.

Ms MacKinnon, who regularly deputised for Mr MacQuarrie and has been acting director since his appointment, has been placed in charge in Scotland at a time of mounting political pressure for the BBC to allocate more resources north of the border.

BBC Scotland has also been exploring options for a so-called “Scottish Six” bulletin, which would see an-hour long show replacing the separate BBC News at Six and Reporting Scotland programmes.

Speaking at a BBC Scotland event in September, Ms MacKinnon admitted the portrayal of the country in network comedy and drama was “not where I would want it to be”.

She added: “That bedrock of activity that BBC Scotland should be supporting is hugely important. We can’t do it on our own, we need to work with others, but we shouldn’t under-estimate it.

“The holy grail is a consistent, constant, wide range of production and commissioning here in Scotland. Portrayal of Scotland to Scotland and the rest of the UK is hugely important. We probably don’t do enough of it, in fact, I know we don’t do enough of it.”

The Scottish Government was unhappy at the new BBC Charter plans, published in September, claiming they failed to deliver a fairer share of the licence fee money which is raised in Scotland and the creation of a separate Scottish board to ensure more “autonomous decision-making” north of the border

In the BBC announcement of her appointment, Ms MacKinnon said: “Being part of the huge team effort that brings so many different programmes to all our audiences is a real privilege and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to help shape that even more in the future.

“The new BBC Charter offers great opportunities – and a few challenges – as we aim to make great content that reflects Scotland’s diversity and distinctiveness for audiences here, across the UK and the world.

“I know there’s a wealth of talent and creativity in BBC Scotland, in the wider sector and in partner organisations. I’m confident we can make compelling and enthralling programmes that entertain and inform all of our audiences.”

Tony Hall, the BBC’s director general, said: “I’m delighted that Donalda is going to take up this role. I’m confident BBC Scotland will continue its creative success under her leadership and will get even better at representing life in Scotland.”

Mr MacQuarrie added: “Donalda has an excellent track record in bringing a wide range of engaging programmes to our audiences and I know she’ll continue to work with BBC Scotland staff and the independent production community to build on that. She’s hugely respected throughout the creative sector and I know BBC Scotland will be in very good hands.”