Back in July, BBC business director Mark Taylor announced that BBC Scotland’s Studio A would not be transferred into the control of the London-based BBC subsidiary, BBC Studioworks.
In an e-mail to staff, Mr Taylor said that it “made the best financial and operational sense” to keep the Pacific Quay facility under the control of BBC Scotland.
The Scottish Culture Committee had previously warned about the impact on jobs, training and skills in the sector, if the studio changed hands.
Mr Taylor’s comments were welcomed at the time by Scottish culture secretary Angus Robertson and the Bectu trade union.
This review work is now complete and I wanted to let you know it has been agreed that Studio A at Pacific Quay will continue to be run as part of BBC Scotland.Mark Taylor, business director, BBC (from July 2021)
The detailed analysis we undertook showed this made the best financial and operational sense
A second stage of work is now underway to look at how we could work with the proposed new facility at Kelvin Hall to help our overall ambitions of increasing production activity in Scotland.
The return of The Weakest Link to Studio A later this year, alongside new titles like Bridge of Lies and The Tournament, show the breadth and quality of the work that we, as a key part of the creative sector in Scotland, can deliver.
This is excellent news for screen production and decision-making in Scotland.Angus Robertson, Scottish culture secretary (from July 2021)
I am pleased for everyone at BBC Scotland Pacific Quay and very glad that the constructive dialogue with staff and BBC director general, Tim Davie, led to the best decision.
We expect the BBC to genuinely invest in the creative economy of Scotland and in discussions I held with the director general last week he said he is keen to support the expansion of screen and broadcasting capacity in Scotland.
The future for TV and film production in Scotland looks bright and we must all support its growth.
We are delighted that following pressure from Bectu, the Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Government, BBC bosses have seen sense and decided to retain production capabilities at Pacific Quay.Paul McManus, Bectu (from July 2021)
As we warned, the proposed transfer of control to BBC Studioworks would have had a detrimental impact, not just on Pacific Quay, but jobs and skills in the wider Scottish production sector.
We will now focus on working with the BBC on increasing production activity and bolstering Scotland’s thriving creative sector.
Wind the clock forward a few months and we have the announcement by the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council that the new Kelvin Hall studio in Glasgow is to be operated by – yes, that’s right – BBC Studioworks.
We now have the rather curious situation where two BBC studio facilities could be competing for the same projects. Only at the BBC could a situation like this arise.
The 10,000 sq ft Kelvin Hall studio – located in Glasgow’s west end – is expected to be fully operational by autumn 2022 and will host “a wide array of entertainment shows across multiple genres.”
Some of the above quotes from July 2021 don’t sit very comfortably alongside the December 2021 announcement – and somehow feel a little hollow now.
BBC Studioworks has ended up with a much better facility than BBC Scotland’s Studio A. When competing for studio-based work, one would think that the larger and more modern facilities at Kelvin Hall will give BBC Studioworks a significant edge over BBC Scotland’s offering.
Some quotes following the Kelvin Hall announcement:
Glasgow is a key creative hub, laying the foundations for our expansion outside London.Andrew Moultrie, chief executive, BBC Studioworks
We’re thrilled to have been appointed as the operator of this new facility in Glasgow.
The Kelvin Hall will provide much-needed purpose-built studio space in Scotland, meeting growing industry demand to produce there.
Drawing on our decades of expertise and unrivalled customer service, we will help grow the local workforce to deliver more local productions and support the continued development of sector-specific skills in Scotland.
It’s almost two years since we first met with BBC Studioworks to discuss their ambitions for an entertainment focused studio outwith London.David Smith, director of screen at the Scottish Government’s film and TV agency, Screen Scotland
We’ve worked with them, alongside the fantastic team at Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government since early 2020 to land this opportunity for Scotland.
We look forward to working with BBC Studioworks on training and skills development opportunities around the Kelvin Hall studio, and with the BBC’s commissioning team on all of the new programmes and series from Scotland that will be made in the decades to come.
There is unprecedented interest in Scotland as a production hub and Kelvin Hall will be a welcome addition to the growing range of studio space being used by film and television productions.Angus Robertson, Scottish culture secretary
We’re working with partners to maximise the opportunities offered by the studio to develop expertise in the entertainment genre and build on existing skills and training schemes to further develop a sustainable creative economy
PICTURED: BBC Scotland headquarters, Pacific Quay. COPYRIGHT: BBC.