Scots aren’t British! SNP MP complains over plans to make ‘distinctly British’ TV

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John Nicolson, the SNPs media spokesman made the remarks in a letter to Culture Minister Nadine Dorries after her predecessor John Whittingdale said the BBC should make more  “distinctively British” programmes.  Speaking last week, Mr Whittingdale asked Ofcom will be asked to draw up a definition of “distinctively British” in order for public service broadcasters to meet their obligations.

But Mr Nicolson, the MP for South Perthshire, however, said some people in Scotland “may not feel British”

In the letter, Mr Nicolson added: “It is surely not the job of programme producers to impart Britishness in a forced and artificial way? 

“They may feel themselves to be British, but trumpeting national identity whether relevant or not seems clunky and awkward.”

The Nat MP, added: “The now-former UK Culture Minister John Whittingdale’s tone was entirely inappropriate with its flag-waving and jingoism.”


But a Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “It is hardly surprising to see an SNP MP take issue with a plan to promote the United Kingdom.

“Nationalist representatives previously tried to force an arts body to drop UK from their name as well as wanting the word Britain banned from a festival.

“Surely John Nicolson has more pressing matters to be dealing with as we recover from the pandemic, rather than engaging in this sort of typically petty politics.”

Lib Dem Scottish Affairs spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain MP said: “There’s a certain irony to an SNP spokesperson telling someone else to tone down the flag-waving.

“Rather than spend their time trying to drive people apart, the SNP should focus on the issues that affect everybody where they are failing to deliver on their election promises such as health and education.”

It comes after a row erupted over the future of Scotland’s film industry over a move by the BBC to send control of key production space for films down to London.

Concerns were raised that space at BBC Pacific Quay, home to BBC Scotland, was being transferred to another part of the broadcaster not based north of the border which could result in job losses.

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Holyrood’s Culture Committee said Scotland’s screen industry had long lacked a dedicated, purpose-built screen studio and MSPs had recommended as a matter of urgency that additional studio capacity be introduced. 

In a letter, SNP MSP Clare Adamson said: “The Committee also noted recent media reports on the possible transfer of Studio A and Studio B at the BBC Scotland Pacific Quay site to the control of BBC Studioworks, a commercial subsidiary of the BBC.

“The Committee is concerned about the possible transfer of the two studios at BBC Scotland Pacific Quay to the control of BBC Studioworks within the context of the issues raised in the legacy paper on the screen sector in Scotland.

“In particular, the role of the BBC in occupying a central role in supporting the Scottish screen industry.

“Any loss of jobs, training and skills in the sector would also be of concern to the Committee.”

Steve Carson, director of BBC Scotland later said no such move was being made.

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