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Final post


BBC Scotland - the launch

Last post on this thread before the forum closes.

Previously I mentioned about Covid having little effect on the quality of BBC Scotland programming. Where it perhaps has been more disruptive is in volume and given that the channel relies heavily on repeats, this effect has taken longer to present itself compared to other channels.

Recently there have been more repeat showings of programmes, which is fair enough if they were new commissions but sometimes they're not - for example, City Lights and The Karen Dunbar Show are shown during the week and at weekends. Also, more and more programmes that were originally shown on BBC1+2 have made it onto the schedule.

The 50/50 ratio of originals and repeats which is often quoted for BBC Scotland is misleading because there's not a chance that in, say, one given week that 50% of BBC Scotland's programming is original.

With an increasing number of repeats (whether "original" or not) and many second runs of formats proving fruitless, I genuinely think that a firm decision on the channel's future will be made this year. There just isn't enough new and returnable content to sustain a worthwhile channel.

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There is enough room on BBC1 and BBC2 to represent the whole of the UK but the BBC repeat a lot of stuff, meaning that opportunities are lost for regional programming to be shown nationwide. This would improve the BBC's reputation across the regions because viewers would feel they are being given more than just a token mention.

A factor in the dissatisfaction from viewers in Scotland which contributed to the creation of BBC Scotland was STV's failure to commission the types of shows which have ended up on BBC Scotland. If these had been tried out years ago then the apparently untapped potential that justified an entire channel wouldn't have existed and money wouldn't have been wasted.

The BBC have likely found out that the range of content that can appeal to viewers in Scotland is limited, much quicker than they would have had the majority of the programmes they hoped would be successful were exactly that. They are now scrambling to recommission anything with a hint of an audience and constantly look to Still Game to get people to tune in. The situation is all the more worse because they have to repeat programmes that flopped first time round so the channel offers very little most nights.

It's the same stagnant schedule and lack of new content that plagued BBC Three back in the day. Unless this is accounted for, there is no point having something labelled "full of repeats". Even if it was a case of deciding which channel to keep, would BBC Scotland's budget be enough to prevent BBC Three from falling back into old habits?