So far, I have managed to keep abreast of my favourite programme of the moment, Downton Abbey, by watching it on the internet. Scotland’s equivalent of Independent Television, decided, it was said, that people who live in Scotland were not interested in costume drama (aren’t we? ….what about all those hairy legs taking flight from under Scottish kilts) and that we should be fed a diet of all things culturally Scottish.

We are being treated to Taggart, a police detective character. This says a great deal about how Scots are supposed to learn about and view Scottish culture, that is, Lowland and Central Belt culture, I hasten to add. Is not the Scottish TV (STV) studio based in Glasgow? Prior to Grampian TV, which was based in Aberdeen, being merged with STV, the North East of Scotland was better served with a range of quality programming to suit many tastes.

My view is, that if, as we are told, the Scots want to be fed a dramatic diet of drug-fuelled violence, murder, and mayhem, dressed up as Scottish culture, it is sad and reflects badly on Scotland, its people and its culture.

If the current TV service cannot afford to buy a programme in from its sister company, which is more like the truth of the matter, it should come clean, not spuriously waffle on about what we want to see in Scotland under the thin veil of ‘culture’. It’s definitely the other way round, it is what STV want to churn out to us to watch. Customer interest does not figure a jot!

Meantime, I continue to watch, via the internet, the gloriously clever costume drama series of Downton Abbey, with its sharp wit and well presented historical context, a context which affected the whole of the UK, (war memorials of the 1914-18 war attest to it) a day or two after the scheduled TV screening, and tune into anything but what is advertised for Scottish viewers in the Sunday time slot, on Scottish Television.



  1. Maggie Smith is glorious! She has real skill in the delivery of humour. I can’t remember the name of her adversary, however, the two of them are well matched in the ‘Gerry and Tom’ department, and again, do very well in the delivery of their repartee. Downton is a cleverly written series.

  2. What a terrible idea that those in charge of your media have decided what is culturally Scottish and then imposed it upon you.
    Surely, one of the functions of television is to provide us with experiences and viewpoints that we would never be able to experience at first hand?

  3. I am in full agreement with your first para. If we are all truthful, we would accept that our media in all its forms impose its beliefs and that of its financiers upon the whole of the UK in one way or another. In this instance, I believe it is the ‘restraint’ of the financiers that is having some bearing on the matter. I do think it intolerable that the excuse given to dump upon us a regional detective fiction, is one of cultural heritage.

    And yes, I also think that media including TV has a brief to provide us the public audience, with auditory and visual experiences -albeit re-created insofar as they can be – that we would not be able to have at first hand. Done well, it can be a marvellous educational tool. Some might, alternatively, read a great ‘propaganda’ tool. Notwithstanding all of that, Sundays are not going to hinge around the pseudo apology for culture in the form of a programme called Taggart, for me.

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