IN theory a viewer did not need three televisions, two laptops and a smart phone to watch coverage of the 2019 General Election. The average Nasa techie landed men on the moon with fewer screens, after all.

Yet such is the position Scotland now finds itself in, being at once part of the UK yet distinctly apart, that one viewing portal is no longer enough. We are a split screen nation in a multichannel world.

BBC1 Scotland had its usual standalone show. The difference this time was that the network programme, head office to coin a phrase, had been moved from BBC2 to the BBC news channel. If viewers in Scotland wanted to see Huw Edwards make broadcast history by nestling into David Dimbleby’s vacated seat they had to zip over to channel 231. Pressing three buttons on a remote control was hardly an insurmountable barrier, but placing a distance between the two channels was a symbolic move.

STV and Channel 4 were where they always are on the electronic programme guide. ITV’s coverage, with Ed Balls and George Osborne, Smug and Smugger, plus a fully-clothed, non skinny-dipping Ruth Davidson, was accessible via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. If that was still not enough, there was Sky News on 233 with former speaker John Bercow playing wingman to anchor Dermot Murnaghan.

Making a welcome return to the BBC was Rick Wakeman’s “King Arthur” intro music. First used the year Mrs Thatcher came to power, it was a fitting curtain raiser to a night that was heading back to the 1980s with a vengeance, thumping Tory majority, Labour wipeout and all.

Coverage on all outlets began with the mother and father of all spoilers: the exit poll. So massive was the predicted Conservative majority that people could have been forgiven for going to bed. It was like a Christmas morning in childhood. Huge build up to the big day, followed by the frantic tearing open of the main present. An hour later, enthusiasm was giving way to exhaustion.

But there was still plenty to see and hear, which is where the broadcasters came into their own – or not. On the BBC network programme Scots featured prominently in political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Andrew Neil, introduced as “inquisitor-in-chief”, and the god of all polling, Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde. Neil’s first interviewee was John McDonnell, who looked as though he had been punched in the gut. Unless Mr Neil’s tactics had broadened somewhat, the Shadow Chancellor was simply taking the exit poll hard.

Kuenssberg, clad in a red leopard skin jacket that made her look like Bet Lynch wearing Dolce & Gabbana, attracted the ire of sour folk on social media who accused her of looking pleased at the Tory victory. She did not look pleased or otherwise, but there were a lot of sore losers out there in social media land.

Over on Election 2019: Scotland, it was business as usual with political editor Brian Taylor, a psephologist, and various guests. Up in the balcony was The Nine’s Martin Geissler, who had been wrestled into a suit and tie for the occasion. He had a panel of talking heads which he “rotated and refreshed” throughout the night, rather in the manner of a deli manager rearranging the cheese and meats.

Not to be outdone, Bernard Ponsonby on STV had a panel, switching between them and any politician who could be persuaded to come before the camera. For much of the night this job fell to the Lib Dems’ Christine Jardine in Edinburgh West. She seemed to be on every channel, sometimes two at the same time, putting a cheery face on her party’s showing. If the exit poll was accurate, Ponsonby informed her, “you’ll be queuing up at the buroo tomorrow”. Nice. A politician is not just for a Christmas election, Bernard. Though in Jo Swinson’s case this proved true.

The BBC’s Naga Munchetty had been given the job of reporting from the seat which announced the first result. She proceeded to do this in a breathless, game show fashion, which was presumably meant to inject some fun into the proceedings.

At least it kept her occupied, no mean feat given the corporation had wheeled out its usual cast of thousands for a 20 person gig. Sophie Raworth was reduced to standing outside in the cold rearranging a giant map of the UK.

Edwards made a seamless replacement for Dimbleby, all professionalism without that faint whiff of being to the broadcasting manor born. In Scotland, Campbell also played a blinder, throwing back and forth from studio to count to talking head like a basketball player having his best game of the season.

The Scottish programmes were the quickest to pick up on the San Andreas-sized fault developing between an SNP-dominated Scotland and Boris Johnson’s Tory blue rinsed England. It was a reminder, if one was required, of the need for home grown journalism.

The biggest disappointments of the night were Bercow on Sky News, who brought little to the party other than his ego, and the bucket of fish guts that was Channel 4’s Alternative Election Night. If you were looking for an alternative to a light, funny, fascinating take on a general election, Channel 4 had the very thing.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy was co-hosting with the comedian Katherine Ryan, while playing roving reporter among the audience was Rylan Clark-Neal, X-Factor contestant turned television presenter. Clark-Neal wasn’t half bad, even if he did eff and jeff his way through the night. He was not alone. Ryan started off at a sprint, throwing out opinions and one-liners she had clearly prepared earlier. She failed to pace herself, so that by the time I checked back at 5.30am she was pale and mute with exhaustion. If only the other comedian among the cast had been similarly rendered speechless. As it was, she slogged her way through some routine about three way marginals being like sex. The audience might have thrown bread rolls had they still been awake.Where the other channels tried their best to provide grown up, national coverage, Channel 4 was the spoiled metropolitan brat that had failed to get its own way and was not going to hide its displeasure.

Dawn was still an hour away as we waited for Boris Johnson to make his victor’s address. To fill the time, BBC political correspondent Vicki Young told Edwards there was going to be a delay with the St Ives count, a couple of days maybe.

“I’ve got news for you,” declared Huw, “we’re not sitting here till Monday.”

So said all of us. Things to do, people to see, shows to watch as the next episode of Split Screen Scotland nears. Stay tuned.