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Victoria Wood: exceptional

Victoria Wood: exceptional

She was probably Britain’s finest observer and writer of character comedy across the last 40 years. Some have said the finest since Dickens. She had an ear for the ridiculous and unwittingly funny dialogue which trips daily from ordinary souls, and an eye for visual comedy that often touched genius. I have surprised myself by how sad I […]

Vanishing Shetlanders

Vanishing Shetlanders

There is a mystery about the BBC’s highly popular Shetland detective series. I grant you, this noir drama is every bit as good as anything coming out of Scandinavia or London. The writing is sharp. The plots are twisty, yet believable, edge-of-your-seat tales. The cinematography is stunning. The Northern Isles are visual perfection for this sort of stuff. Here’s […]

Cabrach remembers its war dead

Cabrach remembers its war dead

Back in February, 2014, I helped in a BBC programme which documented the sacrifices made by rural Scotland in wartime. My segment consisted of a tribute to the many hundreds of men and boys from the Cabrach, roughly that triangle bounded by Dufftown, Rhynie and Lumsden, who gave their lives in World War I. You […]

Bake Off beats them all

Bake Off beats them all

Why would a homely BBC TV series about baking be thrashing ITV’s big-budget entertainment spectaculars such as X-Factor? That’s the question that has ITV executives worried. Its one-time blockbuster weekend show is looking peely-wally compared to the record ratings being achieved by the Great British Bake Off. I think I have a clue: warmth. There is […]

If you're not for us ...

If you’re not for us …

The recent protest outside BBC Scotland by the Yes Scotland campaign will have been wearily familiar to anyone who has worked in the media in Scotland in the last half-century. Barely a week has gone by in the last 50 years without a political organisation alleging bias of some sort when a story hasn’t suited its agenda. […]

Filming on The Cabrach

Filming on The Cabrach

I’m just back from a morning’s filming with the BBC up on The Cabrach, that most remote community that spans the high moors of West Aberdeenshire and Upper Banffshire. The BBC’s magazine series on rural Scotland, Landward, will broadcast a special on April 11, 2014, to explore the effects of World War I on rural […]

Welcome back, Strictly

Welcome back, Strictly

Had you told me 10 years ago that I would be hooked on a TV show about ballroom dancing, I would have laughed and told you to behave yourself. Now, however, I am as bitten as 10million other Britons by the bug that is Strictly Come Dancing. The BBC’s most successful format export returns for […]

What's in store for Doric?

What’s in store for Doric?

You find me just back from recording part of the opening episode of a new series for BBC Radio Scotland with my old pal and fellow-Doricist, Robbie Shepherd. In the programme, Robbie and I have a chat with presenter Mark Stephen about Doric, its past and its future. Robbie and I also have a good-natured […]

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