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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day

Culture and Leisure

Radio and Television

By Adrienne Scullion

BBC Scotland, 1955 Broadcasting in Scotland is dominated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) – which makes both television and radio as well as maintaining a national orchestra – and by Scottish Television. Nevertheless, Scottish-based independent producers such as The Comedy Unit, Wark-Clements and Ideal World now contribute a wide range of television productions for the national networks. Independent local radio is represented both by large hugely-commercial operations and small-scale community-based services.

Mark McManus Institutional diversity has gradually challenged the accusations of tartan-hued parochialism that have dogged broadcasters. Despite the fabled influence of The White Heather Club (BBC, 1958-1968), Dr Finlay's Casebook (BBC, 1962-1971) and Take the High Road (Scottish, from 1980), Scottish broadcasters have made programmes that challenged these views of Scots and Scotland. Tutti Frutti (BBC, 1987) was the subject of both popular and critical interest because it was, in the late 1980s, and with the notable exception of Taggart (Scottish, from 1983), one of the very few Scottish-produced drama series to secure a high-profile network screening. Since then there has developed a healthy diversity in production.

Vital Spark Attempts at populist networked programming, including The Justice Game (BBC, 1989-1990), The Advocates (Scottish, 1992-1993), Strathblair (BBC, 1992-1993), and Monarch of the Glen (BBC, from 2000), have won varied degrees of success. These genre pieces – detective shows, legal dramas, nostalgic or quirky rural escapes – have been complemented by a more distinctive raft of writer-led projects including Just a Boy's Game (BBC, 1979), Takin' Over the Asylum (BBC, 1994), Cardiac Arrest (BBC, 1994-1996), A Mug's Game (BBC, 1996), Hamish Macbeth (BBC, 1995-1997), The Crow Road (BBC, 1996), and Looking after JoJo (BBC, 1997), along with some high-profile comedies including The Vital Spark (BBC, 1965-1974), Rab C Nesbitt (BBC, 1989-1999) and Chewin' the Fat (BBC, from 1999), which have continued to expand representations, test identity and challenge convention.

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