Scottish Indies get investment boost

Creative Scotland, in conjunction with BBC Scotland, Channel 4, STV and MG Alba has agreed a programme of work which focuses on increasing investment in Scotland’s independent television production companies. It also aims to invest in and promote Scottish talent and bring home-grown culture into every home in Scotland.

Announcing the partnerships, Caroline Parkinson, Director of Creative Development, Creative Scotland, said she was delighted by the wholehearted support from the broadcasters to developing partnerships with Creative Scotland. “Not only will this bring more coverage of Scotland’s cultural offering to every home in Scotland, but will stimulate independent production and further cross-collaboration between Scottish talent, producers, writers and crews. Projects we collaborate on will promote Scottish creative content to broadcasters in the UK and internationally – these partnerships are a milestone toward accelerating growth in Scotland’s production sector.”

Each partnership is detailed below:

BBC Scotland:

A three-year-partnership will see close collaboration between BBC Scotland and Creative Scotland, where both organisations will seek to maximise opportunities to develop Scotland’s broadcasting and digital media industries.

Both will use their combined strengths to enhance Scotland’s creative industry and work towards achieving the recommendations of the Television Broadcast and Production Working Group.

The partnership will aim to build on BBC Scotland’s increasing volume of locally-created output and enhance cultural content by working hand in hand with the independent production sector.

Both will work to identify and reflect major landmark events – such as the Edinburgh International Festival and Cultural Olympiad projects in Scotland. They will also work together to develop the creativity of the media sector and improve the media skills of the creative sector in Scotland.

“‘BBC Scotland already works very closely with a number of external organisations including the Independent production sector, who we see as absolutely key in helping us achieve our success in Network growth,” said Donalda Mackinnon Head of Programmes & Services, BBC Scotland. “In the last two years,  those collaborations have helped our level of network business grow so that we now attract more than 7% of the BBC’s overall spend on network productions. We look forward to working in partnership with Creative Scotland over the next three years to realise even more ambitious projects across Scotland.”


Channel 4:

Creative Scotland will invest as a partner in the channel’s £2m Alpha Fund, which is designed to support ideas, talent and emergent companies and to enrich Channel 4’s reputation for creativity by kick-starting ideas that can grow in scale and ambition. The Alpha Fund will invest in emergent companies, projects with diverse talent already attached and grassroots innovation. Uniquely, the fund will provide outstanding talent with a route of entry into an increasingly competitive commercial media environment, Creative Scotland will invest £100,000 and will subsequently invest up to 50% in any Scottish-based talent, company or project that receives support from the Alpha Fund.

“Channel 4 are delighted that Creative Scotland have chosen to strategically partner with the Alpha Fund,” said Stuart Cosgrove, Director of Creative Diversity, Channel 4. ” The Fund is part of our commitment to ensuring we maintain our commitment to commissioning output in Scotland and broadening our creative supply base as a broadcaster. Creative Scotland has led the way in establishing such a funding partnership with the Alpha Fund, their support will provide many more creative opportunities for companies and talent pitching ideas to Channel 4 here in Scotland.”


This £340,000k partnership over three years with an initial investment of £125,000 each in 2011/12, will invest in development projects in factual, drama and entertainment. Each project will be expected to spend 70% of the development budget in Scotland with a view to the resulting commissions being produced in Scotland. STV and Creative Scotland will jointly agree proposals to green-light and projects will be pitched to third party UK and international broadcasters.  Recoupment of development costs would operate following the commissioning of any project.

“I’m delighted that STV and Creative Scotland have created this innovative new partnership,” said Alan Clements, Director of Content at STV. “It presents a fantastic opportunity for us to invest more in writing talent and development in Scotland. The focus of the partnership will centre around drama, entertainment and factual programme development and will allow STV Productions, as a trusted supplier to all the major UK channels, to deliver more pitches involving Scottish talent to UK and international broadcasters.”

MG Alba:

MG Alba is focused on developing a Continuing Gaelic Drama series based in the Highlands and Islands region, which will use local talent and crews, facilities and work with the local community on cultural activity during filming break. Given the impact this could have on the region and the cultural offering to the community as well as promotion of the Gaelic language, Creative Scotland will invest £50k to partner additional funding from the Scottish Government plus MG ALBA’s own investment, and help to lever other funding to raise the necessary budget.

Creative Scotland has also supported a project Dannsa Beò at Tramway. This is a series being made for BBC Alba by MNE TV company and follows six different dance groups from across Scotland as they rehears and then come together for their final performance.   The diversity of the groups and performers, aged from 5-70+, profoundly illustrates that dance is for everyone. The series follows groups from Aberdeen, West Lothian, Oban, Glasgow’s Maryhill and Edinburgh’s Dance Base and will screen in June, as part of BBC Alba’s first season on Freeview. A great opportunity to profile dance and particularly ‘Get Scotland Dancing’.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Creative Scotland to help develop creative talent and programming in the Scottish broadcasting sector,” said Neil Graham, MG ALBA Head of Operations and Finance. “We have been fully committed to the development of home-grown productions for broadcast on BBC ALBA with the majority of programme content supplied through MG ALBA commissions for BBC ALBA through independent production companies. BBC ALBA is a unique broadcasting partnership supplied by MG ALBA and the BBC, providing a successful public service and we look forward to working with Creative Scotland on new projects as well as bringing high quality Scottish productions to a wider audience as BBC ALBA becomes available on Freeview and Cable later in the year.”

See more about Creative Scotland and the Scottish media scene at Cross Media Scotland

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