AN innovative collaboration designed to appeal to all age groups has been chosen to launch the new BBC Scotland channel. With the channel beginning after a long campaign for a better service for Scottish viewers, it is perhaps appropriate that the song Miracle will be the first content on the new channel when it begins broadcasting tonight.
Performed by globally renowned Scots band Chvrches in collaboration with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, it will be accompanied by a visual celebration of contemporary Scotland.
The three minute feature at 7pm highlights the new channel’s aim of providing Scottish viewers with an eclectic menu of programmes which include new dramas, documentaries, comedies and a new focus on the arts, news and sport.
It will be followed by a special, one-off entertainment show presented by Iain Stirling, the Scottish comedian best known for his Love Island voiceover. A Night At The Theatre will feature chart stars Lewis Capaldi and Nina Nesbitt, as well as comedians Elaine C Smith and Larry Dean.
Other shows include Getting Hitched Asian Style, a series that goes behind the scenes with Scotland’s biggest Asian wedding planners, and The People’s News in which Scots speak their minds on the events of the week.
At 9pm tonight, the channel will show the first episode of the final series of popular sitcom Still Game. All six episodes of Jack and Victor’s ninth series will debut on the new channel before going on to BBC One across the UK later in the year.
There is more comedy in store in a one-off return for cult sketch show Burnistoun as it takes a sideways looks at the world of television.
The TV premiere of the Bafta Scotland-winning film Nae Pasaran, which tells how Scottish workers stood against the Chilean dictator General Pinochet and his regime, will end the first night of the new channel.
In weeks to come, the new channel will feature hundreds of hours of newly-commissioned shows including Guilt, a four-part drama set in Edinburgh starring Line of Duty’s Mark Bonnar. He is joined by Game of Thrones actor Jamie Sives to play two brothers who accidentally run over and kill an old man while driving home from a wedding.
Another new programme will feature Emeli Sandé’s Street Symphony which follows the singer-songwriter as she travels across Scotland and selects five buskers to put on a concert with an entire orchestra.
In addition, the channel will show a raft of new documentaries such as the three-part series Yes/No – Inside The Indyref, which looks at the opposing campaigns during the tumultuous 2014 vote.
In Children of the Devolution Scottish journalist Allan Little meets families across Scotland spanning several generations to look at how their lives have been shaped by the creation of the Scottish Parliament.
Also in the channel’s documentary offering is Inside Central Station, a six-part series about the people behind the busiest railway station in Scotland and The Children’s Hospital, an eight-part series on the work of staff inside the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.
Other new dramas include The Grey Area, which tells the story of three young men struggling to overcome gang violence and drugs in Edinburgh. The show was largely cast through addiction recovery groups in the city.
Jess Brittain’s series Clique will have its second season screened on the new channel and episodes of established Scottish drama River City will appear in the schedule on Monday nights, before being repeated on BBC One Scotland on Tuesdays.
At the beginning of March, multi-award-winning drama Tutti Frutti, starring Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson, Maurice Roeves, Richard Wilson and Katy Murphy and written by the acclaimed artist and playwright John Byrne, will make its return to TV after 30 years.
In current affairs, the flagship programmes are The Nine, which will report regional, national and international news from a Scottish perspective, and a Question Time-style series called Debate Night, presented by Stephen Jardine.
Unlike Question Time, the new programme will not travel around the country. BBC Scotland director Donalda MacKinnon has admitted that was ruled out by budgetary constrains.
The Nine will be anchored by Martin Geissler and Rebecca Curran, with Laura Miller and John Beattie presenting the news hour each Friday.
Weekend news coverage will be a 15-minute bulletin on Saturday evenings at 7pm followed by a 45-minute review programme presented by Fiona Stalker and Nick Sheridan.
On Sundays, the 15-minute 7pm bulletin will be presented by Lucy Whyte. On Wednesdays, there will be a 15-minute entertainment news programme, called The Edit, hosted by Amy Irons and David Farrell.
Between noon and 7pm, the channel will show BBC Two programmes alongside some political coverage such as Scottish First Minister’s Questions and Politics Scotland and sporting and music events.