There are already some signs that the BBC is taking this commitment to regional production seriously. however. Recently a target was set for Scotland. Ireland and Wales to produce around 20 per cent of the network's drama output and BBC Scotland is already looking at ways of developing talent to compete for a share of these production budgets. BBC Scotland expects to be contributing around twenty hours of drama to the network within three years. compared to fourteen hours in the forthcoming season.
Two new strands were announced by head of drama Andrea Calderwood this week: ‘Lambrusco Nights'. a series of three half-hour plays intended to give new women writers a chance and ‘Mind the Gap', six ‘enteitainment-led‘ dramas to help new writers bridge the gap between their first film and major network dramas. ‘We have to earn our share with the quality of ideas but this opens tip an opportunity for the “Celtic fringe".' says Calderwood. ‘The reason behind having BBC drama produced in Scotland is to get representations of Scotland on the network.‘ (Eddie Gibb)
The BBC finds itself pulled in two directions at once alter the publication of the long-awaited White Paper last week.
The corporation has been told bluntly that more programmes must be made outside London. a move which was given a cautious welcome by Scottish broadcasters who had campaigned for more devolution of production budgets.
However those who regard the BBC as essentially a centralist organisation by instinct were concerned at the exhortations by Government that it should also focus more on its international, incoiiie-generating activities. If it is commercially successful abroad. how much more difficult will it be to argue for the regional. licence fee-funded service function at borne. they ask.
Making Waves: Ken Stott as a hospital radio DJ in BBC Scotland's new six-parter scheduled for later this year
'l‘he Broadcasting for Scotland Campaign. set up last year to try to iniluence the content of the White Paper. is optimistic that the proposals set out mean a better deal for Scottish radio and television production. The main concern. according to chairman Neil Fraser. is the way they are
:- Second billing
An early day motion signed by 100 MPs calling on the Government to include the Children’s Bill in the Queen’s Speech was due to be presented to Parliament this week. The motion includes a checklist of reasons why the signatories believe new legislation is vital for Scottish children’s well-being. Scottish MPs and children’s charities l . were alarmed at the recent leak that i
% National - identity
Since thoughts have turned to architecture recently with the l‘)‘)‘) bids. senior politicians in (ilasgow and lidinburgh have been dropping broad hints that they would like their respective cities to be considered as the home of the proposed Scottish national theatre. i After council leader Pat Lally indicated that Glasgow would try to secure the theatre. Edinburgh responded by saying the Royal Lyceum had already been identified as ‘obviously having an important role'. In a move which enhanced this claim the council wrote off the Lyceuni‘s £1 million deficit run tip during the refurbishment three years ago. However the Scottish Arts Council _ working party looking at proposals for a Scottish national theatre resource says this talk of location is premature — no decision has been taken on whether
‘I do think that in terms of the retention of the licence fee it has fought a good campaign.’ Fraser says. ‘()ur job now is to ensure that sufficiently strong safeguards are added to the Royal Charter to make sure the BBC‘s centralising tendency is curbed.‘
the bill was to be dropped to allow more time to pass the Scottish Criminal Justice Bill instead. The publication of a White Paper last year, following the Orkney inquiry into child abuse allegations, had been seen as a sign that the Government was convinced a new bill was needed to consolidate and update existing child- related laws.
The proposed bill would have had a similar effect to the 1989 Children Act for England and Wales which significantly strengthens children’s rights and puts their needs first. The last children’s bill in Scotland was in
:— Fresh starts
K. D. BliAN
.a 7i. .2"
Multi-media outfit Rankus Mir at the first Artist Upstarts
The idea of the cheap sampler is well established in the record industry (doesn‘t everyone own a copy of Cherry Red’s 99p album Pillows and Prayer?) and Edinburgh’s Artistic Upstarts is trying to bring that ethic to its performance events. flow boiling up for its third show, the organisers are lining up a seventeen-group, five- hour marathon covering dance, theatre, music and mixed media.
The idea is to give professional, but not-yet-established performers a chance to showcase new work in front of promoters, funders and the public. ‘We started during the Fringe which is quite expensive and people were not wanting to take a risk on something new,’ says co-ordinator Kresanna Aigner.
For the first time there were more performers than Angelic Upstarts could accommodate, so some kind of selection process was required. ‘It’s not for us to pass iudgement,’ says Aigner. ‘Obviously we had to pick and choose a bit more but what we’re really looking for is people who take
Jock Tamson's Baims: communicado's acclaimed production for 1990 Year of Culture
favours a national touring company as the best option. ‘Edinburgh and Glasgow may both make expressions of interest but neither can create a national theatre,‘ says campaign spokesman Donald Smith of the Netherbow. ‘There is a strong conviction that the only way to create a national entity is through a touring company. Location is secondary and we don't want to be derailed by an Edinburgh/Glasgow
‘A building may not be preferred.‘ says SAC drama director Anna Stapleton. ‘There‘s a strong feeling that the creative side needs to be looked at and there are already a lot of buildings.‘ Responses to a public consultation I suggested that there was a strong ; preference for something which actually produced new work. The working party is beginning to consider the options: further public debate is
their work seriously.’ (Eddie Gibb) Artistic Upstarts is on Thursday 21 July at 7pm in Stepping Stones Theatre. See Music and Theatre listings for details.
there will even be a building. Other options. none of which have been ruled out. include a touring company. a theatre archive. a library of Scottish
plays or a production fund.
possible in the autumn with a SAC decision expected by December. The National Theatre for Scotland Campaign will next month publish a book of essays setting out why it
thing.‘ (Eddie Gibb)
The National T/lt’utrcﬁn' Scot/mid Carri/miin can be contacch (/0 the Né’f/lé’fbnlf' ml 03/ 556 9579.
4 The List 15—28 July I994