BBC Scotland and the case of the missing bawsack – Part Two


Disclaimer One: This piece of ranty polemic contains swear words. Lots of swear words. If you don’t like swear words – fuck off.

Disclaimer Two: This piece of ranty polemic takes aim at the structure and attitudes of the BBC and BBC Scotland in general. It does not seek to insult ordinary individuals working within either organisation who no doubt work hard and are proud of what they make. If you cannot comprehend this difference then you’re a fucking idiot.

(Click for Part One)

The Scottish programming budget is about 1.8% of the overall budget of the BBC – the latter standing at around £2,368 billion. That’s about 500% less than our population share should be. But I forget, all that ‘pooling and sharing’ across this United Kingdom only actually goes one fucking way.

What other developed country on the planet would settle for this level of shite? Our ‘national’ broadcaster that’s treated with contempt by its parent. What’s that? Scots enjoy Sherlock even though it’s filmed in Wales? Hold the fucking presses and stop all the bastarding buses. Apparently this makes the abysmal state of broadcasting in Scotland okay.

Are you fucking serious? People on hefty six-figure salaries express these views as if there’s nothing wrong with it. As if it should be the normal state of affairs. How dare we Scots ask (because demanding is ‘grievance hunting’, mind) for a national broadcaster to fucking act like one instead of a regional bloody outpost. How dare we desire to view ourselves and the world beyond, through a Scottish lens first and foremost without having to go through the British one (which is, more often than not, restricted to inside the M25 ‘civilised zone’).

We don’t have a broadcaster that reflects who we are, our mongrel nation, or delves into the complexities and nuances of our history and culture. We don’t have programmes which adequately show the complex tapestry of our society, its make-up, its complications and the dreams of its people. Our stories are not told, or if they are they’re cut down to reflect the London view of Scotland: the parochial, the tartan, the whiskey. This is exemplified by the cringe-inducing ‘comedy’ Mountain Goats. How, in the name of fuck, that excuse for ‘Scottish comedy’ got commissioned by BBC Scotland is fucking beyond me.

Where were Scotland’s satirical sketch shows during the referendum? So much fucking material and Pacific Quay had not the balls to touch it. Most of the comedy came from ordinary people and the best piece of political satire to come out of Scotland’s political awakening was done by amateurs and took the form of Jim Murphy: Saviour of the Union.

With a decent budget and some god-damned fucking backbone Pacific Quay could have showcased a series of similar shows, or a weekly sketch show, taking the piss out of everything and creating something that the rest of the world could have seen. Something with a little more meat on it, giving a better understanding of what was happening, beyond reading Better Together press releases every fucking night on Reporting Scotland.

Scotland still doesn’t have a dedicated film studio and has lost out on so many productions (Game of Thrones being amongst them) because of it, which could have energised Scotland’s television, film and creative industries. The Scottish Government isn’t off the fucking hook for that.

Our broadcaster is letting everyone down. Regardless of how you vote, regardless of which political party you support, it’s letting you fucking down. But of course we’re now at a stage in our national debate where anything that is beneficial to Scotland first (without going through the British lens) is scoffed at by unionists and our beloved right-wing commentariat. It is the cringe laid bare. Scotland shouldn’t bother with stuff. Let’s enjoy ‘British culture’ and stop trying to be all ‘nationalistic’ about it.

Fuck that. Utterly. A country having a broadcaster reflective of its populous is not an abnormality. Does Germany let France dictate its programming? Does France listen to Spanish news and just nod the fuck along and act grateful for the fucking privilege? Language barriers aside, it’s a fucking ridiculous notion yet Scotland is expect to meekly accept a majority of British [English] programming, news and current affairs, and then act like a grateful dog getting scraps from the bloody dinner table when we get ‘the news where we are’ and Jackie Bird’s mug plastered across our screens at Hogmanay. Or we get shows like Shetland once in a blue moon, and that makes up for everything. Or something.

Put simply – we deserve more than this. But the BBC has proven, time and again, that it isn’t answerable to the people, or even to Holyrood. There is scant little that we can do to change the ideology of those in charge of the Pacific Quay bastion.

The Scottish Six (a dedicated ‘national’ news programme) has been kicked into the fucking long grass so many times that the ball’s deflated. And politics is most assuredly behind it. Ex-Director General John Birt revealed in his autobiography that devolving the BBC in Scotland, or giving it more autonomy, could put the fucking union in jeopardy, and colluded with the PM at the time, Tony Blair, to can such notions. All this back in 2002, well before the ‘rise of the separatists’.

A BBC Director General.

If such high-positioned figures are aware of the influence that the BBC wields, are you genuinely going to sit there and say, with a straight face, that there isn’t even the remotest possibility that those who stalk the corridors of power of the Beeb that us proles never see, would have utilised said power for the purpose of the British state over Scottish independence? That’s not just naivety, that’s fucking stupidity.

It also reveals that people in positions of influence in the British establishment know that a populous which is confident in itself might not be so keen on taking shite from ‘another country’s’ government. The British establishment forever trying to stem the tide of progress in Scotland for nothing more thanthe sake of its own prestige.

But back to the matter at hand.

Where are Scotland’s period dramas? Our fantasy series? Our science-fiction? It’s not like we’re short on ideas or the talent to pull them off. Wouldn’t it be nice for that talent to stay instead of being forced to London to look for fucking work? Do we need another fucking Jane Austen adaptation or would an epic dramatisation of the events surrounding the Darien Scheme not go down well?

We have a deep, varied, and colourful bloody history to choose from and with the success of Outlander (in America) and Game of Thrones, there is an appetite for grand, historical series. For fuck sake, even a well-made Scottish superhero series could have a massive audience not only in the UK but in the States as well. And if in doubt, make it a comedy. Scottish Superhero Apprenticeships, a series about those who can’t even make it as joiners being forced to train as superheroes at an academy in…Dundee.

I don’t get paid £3.65 an hour just so you can fling fucking cars at ma heid!”

Our stories deserve to be told. Your story deserves to be told. We deserve to have a balanced broadcaster, with a decent fucking budget, offering a range of views about this bloody beautiful, if at times infuriating, country of ours. We can speak to, discuss, and view the world on our terms, even within the UK.

But if Pacific Quay, and the Beeb at large, doesn’t grown some fucking baws soon, then by the time that next independence referendum comes around, the question of BBC Scotland’s impartiality in the affair won’t even need to be asked.

It’ll be forgone fucking conclusion.

Tick tock, tick tock.

One thought on “BBC Scotland and the case of the missing bawsack – Part Two

  1. Pingback: BBC Scotland and the case of the missing bawsack – Part One | Light In the North

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