Scotland to get new BBC TV channel
The BBC has announced that its new BBC Scotland television channel will begin broadcasting in 2018
BBC's Scottish headquarters at Pacific Quay in Glasgow - Image credit: Bob the Lomond
Scotland is to get a new national TV channel from next year, the BBC has announced today.
BBC Scotland will broadcast from 7pm to midnight every evening from autumn 2018.
The channel will have a factual focus and a £30m budget – £19m of new money and £11m from existing BBC2 opt-outs – which is similar to the amount currently spent on BBC4.
Plans for the channel include an hour-long news programme at 9pm, which will include stories from Scotland, the UK and the world.
This follows calls for the BBC to create a ‘Scottish Six’, a 6pm news programme edited in Scotland.
When news leaked at the weekend that this was not expected to go ahead, SNP culture spokesperson and former BBC journalist John Nicolson MP called it “an extraordinary lack of ambition and commitment to Scotland.”
The new channel will create 80 new journalism posts, the BBC says, and is part of a package of nearly £40m more funding from Scottish-based TV, with £20m more also being allocated for creating programmes for the whole network.
It has also announced £1.2m more for BBC Alba, taking its budget to £20m.
BBC director-general Tony Hall said: "We know that viewers in Scotland love BBC television but we also know that they want us to better reflect their lives and better reflect modern Scotland.
"The best way of achieving this is a dedicated channel for Scotland.
"It's a channel that will be bold, creative and ambitious, with a brand-new Scotland-edited international news programme at its heart."
There have been concerns in the past that too little of the money raised from licence fees in Scotland was used for content created in Scotland.
In 2015/16, 55 per cent of the licence fee funds raised in Scotland was spent on local and Scottish network content.
BBC Scotland’s new director, Donalda MacKinnon, pledged to increase that percentage when she took over in December 2016.
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