We're Not Biased, It's Just That Scots TV Is No Good, Says Grade; Evidence: Michael Grade

Daily Mail (London), January 29, 2008 | Go to article overview
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We're Not Biased, It's Just That Scots TV Is No Good, Says Grade; Evidence: Michael Grade


Byline: Simon Johnson

A DISMAL lack of ideas and talent is to blame for the poor standard ofScotland's home-grown TV programmes, ITV's chief claimed yesterday.

Michael Grade rejected claims of an anti-Scots bias as 'complete nonsense',stating he would commission shows from Iceland if they were good enough.

But he said the 'brutal truth' was that ideas coming from Scots TV firms weretoo poor to be broadcast.

Mr Grade was giving evidence to the Scottish Broadcasting Commission, set up byAlex Salmond to examine the future of television north of the Border.

His attack is a humiliating rebuff for the First Minister, who has blamed thedearth of quality Scots shows on a lack of funding from London.

The commission yesterday published its first report into its findings.

BBC chiefs came under fire for wrongly labelling some TV programmes as Scottishto make its regional programming figures look good.

The corporation has agreed to new quotas for Scots-made programmes, but MrGrade said he would not follow suit.

The ITV executive chairman argued his job was to find programmes that exciteaudiences, not subsidise Scots TV.

Asked by actress and comedian Elaine C Smith why more Scots shows were not onITV, he said: 'The brutal truth is that the ideas aren't here.' He added thatScotland had a 'talent exit problem', with successful writers and directorsleaving to work in the rest of the UK, particularly London.

Mr Grade rejected a claim that production companies elsewhere werediscriminated against by London-based decision makers, saying: 'If the idea'sgood enough, we'll make it in Iceland.

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