A VETERAN broadcaster has accused BBC bosses in Scotland of "insulting" its listeners after his weekly gardening programme was axed.

Jim McColl is furious his show The Beechgrove Potting Shed, a feature of the Radio Scotland schedule for more than 20 years, will finish at the end of this year.

In a letter to BBC bosses, the 77-year-old branded ongoing cutbacks "draconian" and said the station was devoting obscene amounts of airtime for Scottish football matches.

Writing to Jane Fowler, editor of speech-based programmes at Pacific Quay in Glasgow, McColl said: "This decision to decommission The Potting Shed is quite propitious for me, since I am bound to retire one of these days.

"Maybe this is the start of the process.

"The real victims in this new approach to gardening are the unsuspecting punters.

"Who does the talking-up for gardening at these discussions when the big decisions are made?

"Who keeps themselves informed about this UK-wide multi-billion-pound industry and its customers?"

The BBC says it is rethinking how it covers gardening and horticulture across the Radio Scotland schedule.

In a response to McColl's letter, Ms Fowler said she wanted to retain experts such as Mr McColl who currently appeared on the programme, which goes out at lunchtime on Sundays.

She added: "We don't want to lose you and we don't want to lose your expertise. Gardening remains a part of Radio Scotland and we hope you will too."

A spokesman for BBC Scotland said: 'It is inevitable there will be some disappointment among listeners when schedule changes are made.

"However, we have to make difficult choices given the financial constraints."