Memorandum submitted by Channel 4 Television
Channel 4 is a UK-wide broadcaster, transmitting
the same schedule of programming without regional variations (except
in Wales, where its analogue frequency is used by S4C). However,
we are highly conscious of the need to reflect the varied interests
and demands of the nations and regions of the UK through the diversity
of our output.
The Channel is on target to meet the Independent
Television Commission's requirement that 30 per cent of programming
by value should be commissioned from outside the London area by
2002. As a publisher/broadcaster, all our programmes are made
by outside companies. Our Nations and Regions Department, based
in Glasgow and headed by Stuart Cosgrove, is responsible for ensuring
that the best creative talent, resources and ideas outside London
are utilised by the channel.
Channel 4 currently commissions and sub-contracts
creative work from over 50 independent companies in Scotland (more
than any other UK broadcaster). We provide extensive training,
talent development and company development schemes for the production
sector in Scotland. Seventy per cent of Scottish feature films
made in the last ten years have been at least part-funded by FilmFour,
the channel's film production subsidiary. By providing an opportunity
for Scottish companies to "opt in" to a UK-wide network
we allow them to reach a wider audience, extend their experience
and raise their ambition. We believe we make a unique contribution
to the cultural and creative life of Scotland.
Channel 4 takes seriously its responsibility
to report major developments in Scotland, especially following
devolution. Our award-winning Channel 4 News reports consistently
and in depth the major developments in Scottish life and politics,
in the authoritative style for which it is renowned. Sarah Smith,
the programme's Scotland correspondent based in its Edinburgh
bureau, is a respected reporter of Scottish affairs who is highly
valued by the programme's audience.
Channel 4 News also encourages independent
production companies to make special reports for the programme
through its independents fund.
Powerhouse, the channel's midday political
programme, reports regularly on developments in Scotland as part
of its brief to cover politics in all the major assemblies of
the United Kingdom. The programme frequently includes filmed reports
and interviewees from Scotland, and has a particular interest
in investigating those decisions of the Scottish Parliament (for
example on tuition fees and personal care for the elderly) that
may have implications for the UK as a whole.
Since devolution took effect, the annual Channel
4 Political Awards has included a new award of Scottish Politician
of the Year. This is awarded to the individual judged to have
made an outstanding contribution to the Scottish Parliament in
the preceding year and is decided by secret ballot of all MSPs.
In 2000 the award was won by Wendy Alexander MSP and in 2001 by
Jack McConnell MSP. Nominations for the 2002 award have just been
Channel 4 believes it has reported Scotland
fully and vigorously in the two and a half years since the Scottish
Parliament was first elected, and has ensured developments in
Scotland that are important in themselves or have wider consequences
for the rest of the UK are explained to our audience. This approach
is consistent with the channel's broader ambition to ensure that
Scottish culture and creativity are fully reflected in our output.
26 November 2001