Saturday, February 25, 2017

And relax

Those who choreographed Lord Hall's pacification of the Nations & Regions can break open a bottle of the good stuff this weekend. If, at the end of all this, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland remain quiet after a shift of around 0.1% of the BBC's income, it will be a triumph.

So far, no-one has pinned the BBC DG down about the cuts that are the obverse of this money-moving-when-funding-is-largely-flat. Scotland was transfixed by the unicorn out of the sporran -  a whole new tv channel, with an hour-long news bulletin at its centre. Scotland 2016 (30 minutes of news and current affairs at 10pm) returned average audiences of 30 to 35,000 at its demise. Weekly show Timeline started with 75,000, but no further figures have been released.  The new show won't claim all of the 80 additional journalists - that represents Donalda Mackinnon's fun money, and will probably support the splitting of Radio Scotland into "Talk" and "Music" for at least part of the day (whether Scotland wants it or not).

And then there's a £2m portrayal fund, managed by new Director of Nations and Regions Ken Macquarrie. Some of this may have already been spent on Eastenders, where a Polish deli owner has turned up - only the second spotting of the nationality in the soap's history. More will surely follow - the bars and refreshment venues of Walford must eventually acknowledge the existence of foreign workers.

  • Ofcom now has 25 staff members in Edinburgh, up from 5 before it had to look after the BBC.

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