Massive increase in ‘British’ themed TV shows on BBC since SNP came to power


  By a Newsnet reporter
The number of programmes broadcast by the BBC which contain the word ‘British’ or ‘Britain’ in the title has increased twentyfold since the SNP came to power at Holyrood.
Research carried out by Newsnet Scotland has revealed that in that last year of the Labour/Lib Dem administration at Holyrood there were just 25 separate TV broadcasts of shows which had the words Britain or British in the title.

However for the period between Jan 2013 and Jan 2014, that number had risen to a whopping 516.

A breakdown showed that the number of broadcasts containing the word British totalled 15 in 2006, however this number rose to 308 in 2013.

Those programmes with the word Britain in their title totalled a mere 10 when Jack McConnell was First Minister but rose to 208 under Alex Salmond.

The figures also showed that the variety of programmes to contain either Britain or British in their title also tripled from 9 in 2006 to 28 in 2013.

Although some programmes refer to sporting events such as the British Masters and comedy shows such as Little Britain, the huge rise in the number of programmes and broadcasts that appear to be pushing the idea of Britain or Great British will cause concern amongst supporters of independence.

The research looked at programmes broadcast on either BBC1 or BBC2, but did not include repeats which may have appeared again on other BBC Channels such as Iplayer and BBC digital channels.

The emergence of the figures will fuel speculation that the broadcaster has been trying to subliminally promote the idea of ‘Britishness’ in the run-up to the independence referendum.

One show, the Great British Bake Off, makes prominent use of the Union Flag along with red white and blue imagery.

Scotland and Scottish

The number of programmes containing the words Scotland in the title in 2013 totalled 54, however on inspection almost all were either sport related (Scottish Bowls, Scottish Rally) or were party political broadcasts by Scottish Labour/Lib Dems etc.

Similarly, of the over 1300 broadcasts in 2013 containing the word ‘Scotland’, almost all were made up of Reporting Scotland, Newsnight Scotland and the Politics Scotland programmes.

There were nine broadcasts of Artworks Scotland, one BBC Proms in Scotland, seventeen BBC Scotland investigates, Twelve Grand Tours of Scotland, one Storm Force Scotland, one The L.A.B Scotland and sixteen of Watching Ourselves: 60 Years of TV in Scotland.

[The data used official BBC figures from the period 01 Jan 2006 to 01 Jan 2007 and compared them with figures from the same dates using years 2013 and 2014. The stations included were BBC Scotland and BBC2 Scotland.]