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Dismay as The Scheme is nominated for top award

IT was criticised for its gritty depiction of life on a Scottish housing estate, had to be pulled from the schedules after some of its stars were arrested and turned other locals into minor celebrities.

talent: Actress/comediene Karen Dunbar, above, unveiled the nominees for the awards, including Peter Mullen and Conor McCarron, top right, and The Scheme. Main picture: Colin Mearns
talent: Actress/comediene Karen Dunbar, above, unveiled the nominees for the awards, including Peter Mullen and Conor McCarron, top right, and The Scheme. Main picture: Colin Mearns

Despite the controversy, BBC documentary The Scheme, which focused on the chaotic lives of families in Onthank in Kilmarnock, has been nominated for the Scottish version of the Bafta awards.

It is shortlisted in the British Academy Scotland Awards for Best Factual series, up against The Football Years: 1974 The Golden Generation and Neil Morrissey: Care Home Kid.

Last night, Kilmarnock SNP MSP Willie Coffey said he hoped The Scheme would fail to take the accolade on November 13 at the awards ceremony in Glasgow.

Mr Coffey, who earlier this year attacked it as “tabloid TV at its worst”, said he had not changed his mind about the “disgraceful” show, and believes it misrepresented Kilmarnock and exploited people.

The producers gained intimate access to six families living on the estate over a year, and achieved ratings of around 900,000 per episode, with a million watching when it was shown UK-wide.

Mr Coffey said: “Whoever chose this to be nominated needs their heads examined -- the programme is treated with utter contempt down here in Kilmarnock.

“It was just a third-rate piece of drama, and we are getting sick of the BBC and others patting themselves on the back about it. I would rather see it in the bin.

“That programme was not the real face of Kilmarnock and never will be. People here feel duped and disgusted by it. I hope the [judges of the prize] decide to reject it.”

Mr Coffey’s condemnation of the programme when it was first shown was backed by Ruth Davidson, MSP, now a Tory leadership contender, who said it was “poverty porn”.

However, the programme drew sightseers to the area keen to catch a glimpse of “stars” such as recovering heroin addict Marvin Baird, who was convicted at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court of carrying a knife.

He is currently serving eight months in prison for breaching a community order, drug and shoplifting charges.

The BBC had to postponed the broadcast of the final two episodes twice last year because of issues over the identification of people who were due to appear in court.

However, Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, recently described The Scheme as the “highest quality documentary making”.

And a BBC Scotland spokesman said: “This was a significant piece of work that gave rise to an unprecedented level of comment and debate around important social issues in contemporary Scotland. It is understandable that it has been shortlisted for a prestigious industry award.”

This year’s ceremony marks a return for the awards, which honour acting, director, production and writing talent across film and television.

Elsewhere, there are a number of nominations for Peter Mullan’s film Neds. The movie about a boy growing up in 1970s Scotland received four nominations.

Conor McCarron received a nomination for his debut performance in the Actor/Actress -- film category, Mullan is up for best writer and director and the movie is also in the running for the best feature film category.

The TV category represents some of Scotland’s best-known comedic talent with nominations for Rab C Nesbitt, Limmy’s Show and Burnistoun.

Field of Blood dominates the Actor/Actress in Television award with nominations for Peter Capaldi, Jayd Johnson and Ford Kiernan.

Scottish director David MacKenzie has received two nominations for Perfect Sense, which is in the running for best Director and Feature Film.

Jude MacLaverty, director of Bafta Scotland, said: “Our juries have been overwhelmed by the quality and originality of the work submitted and the shortlisted nominees demonstrate the innovative and original work Scotland is producing.”

 

The Bafta nominees...

Children’s programme: All Over the Place; Big City Park; Calum Dongle

Current affairs: BBC Scotland Investigates: Surgery’s Dirty Secret; STV’s The Lockerbie Bomber: Send Home to Die; The Walking Wounded, for BBC Scotland

Entertainment programme: Burnistoun; Limmy’s Show; Rab C Nesbitt

Single documentary: The First Movie by Mark Cousins; Jig, by Sue Bourne; Jayd Johnson -- Field of Blood; Ford Kiernan -- Field of Blood

Animation: Battenberg by Stewart Comrie; Fixing Luka by Jessica Ashman; The Tannery by Iain Gardner

Short film: I Love Luci; The Shutdown; Solstice

Writer: David Kane -- The Field of Blood; Colin McLaren -- Donkeys; Peter Mullan -- Neds

Actor/actress (film): James Cosmo -- Donkeys; Conor McCarron -- Neds; Brian Pettifer -- Donkeys

Director: David Mackenzie -- Perfect Sense; Morag McKinnon -- Donkeys; Peter Mullan -- Neds

Feature film: Donkeys; Neds; Perfect Sense

Game: Ibomber Defense; Me Monstar: Hear Me Roar; Quarrel

 

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