‘London-Centric’ Commissioners Huge Obstacle for Scotland’s Film and TV Industry

Productions of cultural value to Scotland are being overlooked by London-based commissioners, an MSP has said.

Speaking in a debate on culture in the Scottish Parliament, south of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine said that because commissioning is commercially driven, productions of cultural value are being ignored by commissioners who are unfamiliar with Scottish work.

She also criticised the BBC’s “lift and shift” tactic – whereby the production of pre-existing shows is moved to Scotland in order to meet quotas for Scotland-based output. This provides short-term production employment in Scotland, but not sustainability for the industry. 

Commenting, the SNP MSP said:

“The Economy Energy and Tourism Committee recently published its report into the Economic Impact of the Creative Industries in Scotland – independent producers who gave evidence to the Committee were unequivocal that London-centric commissioners presented a huge obstacle for Scotland’s film and TV industry.

 

“Some witnesses also pointed to confusion in the current devolved settlement and the failure of the Smith Commission to devolve broadcasting.”

She added:

“It is clear that we need a new mechanism in which we promote material that is culturally important to Scotland, even if a commissioner in London does not think so.

“At the very least, we need a commitment from broadcasters to scrap the ‘lift-and-shift’ tactic in favour of proper investment in independent production companies with a permanent base in Scotland.

“The Committee has called on the BBC and Channel 4 to adopt that new approach to commissioning by the end of 2016.”

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