then. that‘s not why you watch Open to Question anyway. is it?
Not really like Open To Question. but in similar vein is Scottish Assembly. Scottish Television's new panel discussion programme. The first in the monthly series which was broadcast last Friday involved one hundred people from all over Scotland chosen by MORI. who discussed the ins and outs of nuclear disarmament and the presence of American bases in Britain. What made it different from your average Vox Pop programme was its voting system whereby the ‘assembly‘ could vote instantly on any question — given a multiple choice of answers. The conclusions were interesting and 'or bad news. Especially. it could be argued. for the Labour Party. lf under 60“} want a nuclear-free Britain in I.abour-dominated Scotland. then this does not bode well for the party electorally.
Of course. Executive Producer of Scottish ASM’NIhl)‘. David Scott says that the assembly is only a cross-section of the Scottish public and is not meant to be completely representative. He does point out. however. that the breadth and scope of the programme is such that ‘politicians should ignore it at their peril.‘
Reaction to the first programme has been mixed. but Scott thinks it ‘went very well -— in that we got one hundred Scots to speak reasonably articulater on a serious subject.‘ He
Malcolm Wilson enco
stresses that the programme is not there solely to entertain. ‘You ask if it‘s meant to be entertainment and the answer is no. it’s not entertainment — it's an informed discussion leading to a conclusion.‘ Viewers who wondered how informed the participants were about the subject are told that information packs go out about a week beforehand and before recording starts an expert gives a forty-minute session to brief the
WM?” \ i i - uragesthepanemt ‘Scottish Assembly'.
audience on facts relating to the issue ‘ at question. This. of course. means ? that the panel are not. strictly speaking. representative ofthe man on the street. Scott agrees: ‘When you briefpeople like that they do cease to be average. But we have to be fair to them. We say to them that politicians would never go on a programme like this without being briefed.‘
To Scottish Television. the : importance of the programme lies as
much in the public access aspect as the entertainmcnt/information value. Programme Controller. Gus Macdonald has gone on record as saying this is something he would like to improve. Scottish Assembly. with its l()()()-plus participants and the technical difficulties of involving a panel of 100 in a studio and transporting and accommodating people from all over the country is by no means the easiest or cheapest way of filling air time. but it is a concept
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The List 17 — 30 October 7