Major TV shake up is welcomed

The last Border Television Lookaround was put on air from the Carlisle studios at 6.00pm on tuesday.'29.2.09
The last Border Television Lookaround was put on air from the Carlisle studios at 6.00pm on tuesday.'29.2.09

Top business and political figures across the South of Scotland have warmly welcomed a major TV shake up which is set to give viewers in the region much better coverage of Scottish affairs.

Under new plans announced by the ITV regulator Ofcom, Border TV will have to provide an additional 90 minutes of distinctively Scottish programming every week.

This finally opens the door for viewers in the South of Scotland, which is served by Gateshead-based Border, to receive the much-acclaimed Scotland Tonight current affairs programme which is produced by STV.

At present, viewers in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway receive ITV programmes slanted towards the north of England, with virtually no coverage of Scottish issues outside local news programmes. The rest of Scotland receives programmes from STV, which is heavily committed to reflecting the current Scottish political debate.

Ofcom, which has been conducting a consultation on the future of ITV programmes, have announced that from next January, Border TV will have to show at least 90 minutes a week of distinctively Scottish programming. They also say that this may be shared with STV, paving the way for Scotland Tonight - the station’s flagship current affairs programme - be be seen in the Borders region for the first time.

Scottish Borders Council, which used its consultation response to back plans for Border TV to include more Scottish programming, said today it was “delighted” at the announcement.

Councillor David Parker, said: “We warmly applaud this imaginative and open thinking at ITV. It looks as if viewers in the South of Scotland may now finally receive the coverage of Scottish affairs which they deserve.

James Aitken of the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is fantastic news and we would encourage Border TV to seize the initiative as quickly as possible.”