Dr Who blackout scare ridiculed by Yes Scotland


  By Martin Kelly
Claims that people living in an independent Scotland would be prevented from watching programmes like Dr Who have been ridiculed by the pro-independence campaign.
Yes Scotland has today responded to comments made by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson after the MSP claimed that a Yes vote would mean people in Scotland would be denied many of the BBC’s most popular shows.

According to the Sun newspaper, the Tory MSP said: “The SNP simply cannot guarantee that we’d still get Dr Who after independence.”

But Blair Jenkins, who heads the pro-independence campaign Yes Scotland has laughed off the claim describing it as “more incredible than some of Doctor Who’s most fantastic plots”.

Jenkins, who previously held senior roles at STV and BBC Scotland, added: “Even by Project Fear’s own standards, this scare story is in the stratosphere for sheer daftness,”

Ms Davidson’s comments followed a speech by Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop in which she confirmed that a public broadcaster funded by a licence fee would remain after independence.  The minister told an audience of broadcasting professionals in Manchester that the assets of the BBC in Scotland would be used and that programmes currently enjoyed by people in Scotland would remain.

However the Scotland Office have since hit back, saying that a Yes vote would not automatically mean the BBC’s assets could be adopted by a new Scottish Broadcaster.

A spokesman for the Scotland Office said: “Contrary to what the Scottish government assert, a vote to leave the UK is a vote to leave its institutions, including the BBC.

“Any bid by an independent Scotland to make use of existing BBC services or content would have to be negotiated, and the potential impact on the services it provides to the remainder of the UK would need to be taken into account.”

Responding, the Yes Scotland head said: “Ruth Davidson and Alistair Carmichael are living in their own fantasy world with ridiculous claims like these.

“What they and other naysayers are fond of telling everybody is that nothing can be guaranteed in an independent Scotland.  Well, I can guarantee 100% that after a Yes vote, Doctor Who, Strictly and every other popular BBC show currently broadcast in Scotland will still be available to viewers here.

“The reality is that Doctor Who is currently shown in scores of countries around the world, from Angola and Australia to Uruguay and Venezuela. The notion that Scotland would somehow uniquely be excluded is more incredible than some of Doctor Who’s most fantastic plots.”

He added: “That the No campaign is using Doctor Who to try to further their campaign of fear and negativity is laughable. If they are prepared to offer this kind of nonsense, why should we believe anything else they say?”

Claims that an independent Scotland would be denied access to the BBC have been raised several times by supporters of the Union.  Independence supporters however have pointed out that the BBC is available free to view in many countries across Europe including the Republic of Ireland.

The anti-independence campaign Better Together has said that a Yes vote, “could mean fewer programmes, higher licence fees, more adverts, and losing things we value like BBC iPlayer.”

However speaking yesterday, Fiona Hyslop said a Scottish Broadcaster would not mean an increase in the licence fee or more adverts.

Ms Hyslop said: “When compared to the expenditure by nations of a comparable size on their primary public service broadcaster it is clear that Scotland’s current level of licence fee would be more than sufficient to provide a high-quality service, and as such I would not envisage the Scottish broadcaster carrying advertising.”