News that the BBC is to shed up to 150 jobs in Scotland has raised fears of a possible drop in quality of output and a drop in programme making.
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has voiced her own concerns that the potential jobs cuts will affect those programmes not networked on the UK wide BBC and has identified popular drama series River City as an example.
Ms McAlpine, who is the MSP for south Scotland and sits on the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee, said: “I am concerned at suggestions River City is under threat just because it does not make network BBC.
“River City’s penetration of the population is extremely high. If you took a UK comparison per head of population it would rank beside a very popular shows such as Torchwood.
She went on to say that cuts need to be made in tough financial times but programmes must not suffer.
The news comes as a further blow to a Scottish population already feeling alienated by the lack of variety in the BBC’s London-centric news and current affairs output.
It also adds to the sense of unease among many that Scottish output is being overlooked when it comes to networking programmes. River City is the BBC’s only Scottish soap.
Several licence-fee payers today said they they felt it was a shame that instead of nurturing Scottish talent and creativity through shows like River City, it was instead being lost to budget cuts. “Makes you wonder,” said one elderly lady wryly, “why we bother paying for it [BBC] in Scotland if we’re not going to be getting the benefit of it”.
If the BBC goes ahead with its plans, the loss of 150 jobs in Scotland will also be a worry at an already uncertain time for the economy.