ALOT of television people are running scared about the changes

sweeping through the industry. Not so John Adams. He is in the new wave

of independent producers and looking forward to the challenges of the

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last decade of the century, particularly as they are occurring just as

he is about to enter his fifties, which he regards as the most important

decade of a person's life.

''Leaving aside the prospect of financial gain, I am looking forward

to making best use of the experience I have gained over the years.

Knowing that you are working to one of nature's deadlines and that there

will be a lot of exciting things happening during those 10 years fairly

gets the adrenalin flowing. So far as I'm concerned, there is no time to

sit around worrying,'' he says.

Already he has got off to a flier with his recently-formed,

Glasgow-based Starcatch company. Together with two other independents,

Field Illeray of Glasgow, and DBF of Edinburgh, he has been commissioned

to produce a mammoth 24 hours of programming for STV's late night

Thursday discussion series, Night Flyte, which will run intermittently

until November, with the possibility of more to follow. He will be doing

12 of the hour-long programmes, the other two, six each.

Starcatch has already proved an appropriate title. He has two of

Scotland's leading lights working for him as programme hosts -- William

McIlvanney and one of the Herald's award-winning columnists, Brian Meek.

Gus Macaulay of Field Illeray, hasn't done too badly either, with Shadow

Chancellor John Smith, a man who could be Prime Minister before the the

Hogmanay show that will see in the year 2000. Hugh Lockhart of DBF has

got Peter Clark, right-wing freelance journalist whose hobby is

restoring castles. The four, though established in other fields, are

breaking new ground as presenters.

McIlvanney and Meek have already had their baptism and are about to

appear again. Next Thursday McIlvanney and some guests will be sitting

around the coffee table talking about the theatre from the artists'

point of view, asking, in effect: who is out there? With him will be

Morag Fullarton, director/writer with Borderline; actress Morag Hood,

actor Stevie Hannan, plus two drama students, Shan Khan and Melanie

MacHugh. Meek, also a politician and a sports writer, will be host the

following week, looking at ''The Dark Side of Sport'' --the pressures,

the politics, the money -- with Allan Wells, Sam Torrance, Linsey

MacDonald, John Beattie, Ally McLeod, and Ian Archer.

The Chambers Dictionary definition of the word flyte is ''scolding

match,'' implying that the series could consist of a lot of angry

exchanges. While agreeing that spontaneous outbursts are always likely,

Adams says that the word was chosen mainly because it provided a good

title that tripped easily off the tongue. Basically, the idea is to

capture the atmosphere of late night conversation. The sub-titles of the

programmes might be provocative, such as the Peter-Clark-hosted one on

Thursday past about ''the awfulness of Scottish cooking'' which saw

Clement Freud simmering gently, but the idea is to air points, seek

solutions, rather than score debating points.

I don't know if it is to be on the menu, but a topic that could always

do with another airing is the one about English people holding key jobs

in Scotland because it should be pointed out that Adams is an Englishman

in Scotland. I would argue that there should be no objection in his case

in view of the fact that: (a) A lot of Scots have taken top TV jobs in

the south; and, (b) He has not so much taken a job as created one that

will, in turn, create more jobs. Apart from which, he has been here for

nearly 20 years.

Indeed, there is a case for having people like Adams -- no matter what

nationality -- because creativity is one of his strong points. When he

first came from London, it was as a development officer with the

Scottish Film Council. In this capacity he showed a definite flexibility

by setting up Cinema Sgire which reached into the Gaelic communities of

the Western Isles. It was designed to encourage people to make movies

themselves and it succeeded in creating a lot of material of interest

today and which will be valuable for future archives. A lot of elderly

people were filmed recalling what life was like towards the end of the

last century, first-hand memories that might have been lost for ever.

''I would have liked to learn the Gaelic, but, unfortunately, there

was not the time. Quite a lot of the filming that was done had English

sound tracks,'' says Adams.

Next, he was seconded by the Film Council to set up the new Film House

in Lothian Road, Edinburgh. During the transitional period, he worked

there with Lynda Myles, before her going off to America, then returning

to London where she worked with David Puttnam. She was one of a group of

successful women discussing feminist issues on the first Night Flyte

chaired by McIlvanney.

Adams then returned south briefly as manager of a cable television

station in the days when cable was highly unfashionable. Next, it was

back to Glasgow, working for the BBC, where he started by doing a

research project into community radio before a spell of administrative

work. He got into television by working for Gordon Menzies, producer of

Scotch & Wry, on the networked Afternoon Show which was presented by

Barbara Dickson and Penny Junor.

He directed for three years -- which he found to be ''a very good way

of learning the nitty gritty of the trade.'' He made a series of

countryside programmes for Menzies, whose other capacity was head of

education TV, before helping in the making of a memorable five-part

series, Only A Game, charting the history of Scottish football.

It was written by William McIlvanney and voiced by him in those

quasi-religious tones that were to prove a godsend to the BBC's Comedy

Unit when it was discovered that Jonathan Watson (Brian in City Lights)

could do a remarkably accurate impersonation. The result was a take-off

spin-off for the Naked Radio team, including two best-selling cassettes,

starting with Only an Excuse?

Adams followed this up in a sense the year before last with a

half-hour television programme about Celtic's centenary. McIlvanney was

again the voice and this time did quite a few of the interviews. They

had enough material to release a 90-minute video cassette called Celtic


Adams had been involved as a freelance with the BBC throughout this

long-running association. He showed an increasing ability to tackle a

diversity of tasks. Although he worked on two major television

documentaries about football, he says he is not a football fanatic. And

in the year that he did the Celtic programme and video he also went to

Java to do some filming for a research company on water engineering.

Last year, for BBC Scotland, he directed Northern Lights, the

autobiographical documentary, written and presented by another Herald

columnist, Jack Webster. It has been nominated for one of the

forthcoming Royal Television Society awards. Talks are currently taking

place for him to do a new BBC TV series, and he hopes to get a major

drama off the ground next year -- a 90-minute film based on Billy Kay's

play, They Fairly Mak Ye Work, to be done on location in Dundee.

Adams runs Starcatch from ''the Scottish Home Office,'' in other words

a room in his Partick home where there is a phone, and answering and fax

machines. He says: ''In order to survive as an independent, it is

essential to run a lean operation that can be expanded at short notice

by hiring people and renting facilities. Sensible collaboration with

other independent companies is also advisable. We do this on a

complementary basis with Night Flyte, hiring the shell of the Blackcat

Studio in Glasgow for two days, then moving in with our four presenters

and guests for half a day each.''