I WRITE in support of Professor Alan Murdoch (letters, September 17) in asking the BBC to restart the daily health broadcasts by the Scottish government.

I value having the BBC as a public service broadcaster committed to informing, educating and entertaining. This is especially important in an age when financial constraints are making it more difficult for the local and national press to have the resources to inform and to hold the powers-that-be to account.

But as a pensioner and a member of an at-risk group I am saddened by the BBC’s decision to stop the First Minister’s broadcasts on Covid-19.

I have listened to them regularly and found them informative and authentic. I am no supporter of the SNP but I consider that Nicola Sturgeon has not been making political points but rather informing us (as citizens) of the situation in Scotland – as is her duty as First Minister.

I am not persuaded that one size fits all in terms of the BBC informing the different parts of the United Kingdom. What might suit England will not necessarily be best for Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon can fulfil her responsibilities as First Minister, take questions afterwards and show that she has an adequate grasp of the situation in Scotland in a way that perhaps other national leaders in the UK would not be able to do.

I am not au fait with social media and I turn to the TV and newspapers for my information, as, I think, do many of my fellow pensioners.

I hope that the BBC will reconsider their decision. This is the more important as the pandemic is likely to get worse before it gets better and, if it is to be successfully combated, we shall need to be adequately informed and to be able to trust our public authorities.

If the BBC can change tack over Rule Britannia then surely they can do the same over Nicola Sturgeon.

David Mumford,



JIM Sillars (letters, September 17) proposes 90 minutes of daily television time for Nicola Sturgeon. No thank you!

David Miller,


SURELY it’s only a matter of time before the BBC becomes a broadcaster financed by subscriptions?

There is no way they can continue to treat the British public with the contempt that they currently show them and expect them to continue handing over their hard-earned cash to pay inflated salaries to so-called “stars”, many of whom are watched or listened to by a minority of the population.

Zoe Ball, for instance, is reported to have received a £1 million pay rise, which equates to £1 for every listener she has lost from her programme on Radio 1. Is no-one at the BBC accountable?

It is regularly reported that the BBC are out to attract the younger generation. What they are doing in broadcasting rubbish online on BBC3 and repeating on BBC1 each evening after the news, invariably with the warning that “this programme contains very strong language”, suggests that they are completely out of touch with the population.

This view is supported by surveys which regularly they are failing miserably in this effort and all that is happening is that they are alienating the people who currently pay the licence fee.

There is one thing for which the BBC can be congratulated. They appear to be pursuing a policy to reduce unemployment in the United Kingdom. There can be no other explanation for the explosion in the number of new correspondents and editors who seem to appear every evening on news and current affairs programmes.

I will be more than happy to see the licence fee being replaced by a voluntary subscription. Perhaps then the BBC executives will see what the great British public really thinks of the corporation.

Alan McGibbon,


CAN it really be coincidence that BBC Scotland’s unilateral decision to limit coverage of the First Minister’s Covid briefings follows soon after new Director General Tim Davie’s first foray to Scotland?

Serious questions follow this bewildering development; first, is it connected – explicitly or implicitly – to his reported links to the UK Conservative and Unionist Party?

Nicola Sturgeon’s briefings are what any self-respecting public service broadcaster should be prioritising in a deteriorating health emergency.

Public information – accurately, professionally and reassuringly presented during a pandemic that has claimed thousands of Scottish lives and could affect thousands more – is essential, providing clarity through linear TV watched in large part by a non-tech-savvy, vulnerable, elderly proportion of its reported 250,000 audience.

Curtailing one of its most-viewed programmes makes no logical editorial, economic, production, technical or marketing sense therefore, by elimination, political judgment must be a prime suspect for this otherwise perplexing decision.

The briefings also offer unprecedented governmental accountability, the FM fronting-up daily, fielding – and unlike her dissembling, barely-visible London counterpart, answering – unfiltered media questions on Covid-19 and other issues of the day.

One also wonders how audiences, aka ‘compulsory licence-fee payers’ will be alerted if and when BBC Scotland deigns to transmit the most important public information in years, and how thousands of sign language users can access key information on radio

This latest, self-inflicted own goal could - and in my view should - represent a ‘Thus far and no further’ line in the sand for the BBC, triggering root-and-branch independent, audience-driven reform; enough is enough.

Mike Wilson,



NOTE: BBC Scotland said today that it would continue to screen Sturgeon's coronavirus briefings live on TV in the "coming weeks". 

Donalda MacKinnon, BBC Scotland director, said there had never been any intention to stop coverage. She added that "other voices and perspectives" would now feature alongside the FM's weekday briefings.