Archive: STV

Some television presentation is designed to tell you what programmes are coming up. Others might tell you the time.

This ident, on the other hand, tells you what country you are in — just in case you found yourself sitting in your front room and suddenly wondering where you are.

I was excited last week when I discovered that the great Gordon Burns is on Twitter. I used to love watching The Krypton Factor when I was a child.

The first thing I thought of was this ITV regions map puzzle. I knew I had to feature it as a television presentation gem of the week.

Is your knowledge of ITV regions strong enough to do this?

Today, the multicoloured map would be gone. There are, at most, four distinct ITV channels remaining. All of England and Wales has been homogenised into a merged ITV, and STV and Grampian has effectively become one STV channel as well.

This the accompanying article to my contribution to this week’s edition of The Pod Delusion. Parts of it are based on a previous article, What is STV playing at?

You can listen to the full podcast below.

In a recent episode of The Pod Delusion, Mark Thompson spoke about the good old days when ITV was still a federation of regional television stations. He outlined how, in England and Wales over the past ten or fifteen years, ITV’s regional diversity has given way to a bland umbrella brand.

But not all of the nooks on the ITV network have succumbed to the juggernaut. Four of the ITV regions are still independently owned, and three avoid using the ITV brand. In the Channel Islands, Channel Television still owns the franchise, even though it uses ITV1 branding. But in Northern Ireland, viewers are greeted by idents for UTV. And where I live, in Scotland, the two ITV regions operate as STV.

I can say with authority, given that I live here, that the reality of regional broadcasting on Channel 3 is not quite as rosy as Mark Thompson would like to remember. It certainly is not as quaint and charming as the ITV we remember from our youth — and, incidentally, it was delightful to hear the idents and jingles during Mark’s report.

Sadly, STV is a bit of a basket case. Apparently strapped for cash, for the past year or two it has been embroiled in a dispute with ITV plc that has only served to disadvantage viewers. ITV is trying to gain money that has been allegedly been owed by STV for over ten years. Meanwhile, STV is dropping as many ITV programmes as it can get away with in an apparent attempt to stop owing any more money.

This means that many of the ITV network’s most popular drama programmes have been dropped by STV. This has left Scottish viewers with no options if they want to watch some of the best British commercial television programmes.

Publicly, STV say this is all a brave stance for regional broadcasting in Scotland. That does not really explain why most of the replacements have been cheap imports, films and repeats. As amusing as South Park may be, it is not exactly an adequate replacement for the likes of Kingdom. Incidentally, South Park is seemingly supposed to count as Scottish programming because, in the words of STV director of broadcast services Bobby Hain, it is “mischievous and cheeky… just like the Scottish people.”

Bobby Hain often singles out Al Murray for particular criticism. He reckons that Scots cannot relate to a comedy cockney landlord, forgetting that there is in fact nothing Scots enjoy more than laughing at English stereotypes.

This strategy certainly is not being done for the benefit of the Scottish people. We can tell this because the ratings have largely fallen through the floor. Infamously, STV once ditched Agatha Christie’s Marple in favour of the film Blue Crush — because crap surfing movies set in Hawaii are really Scottish, right? It was a disaster for STV. You could almost have squeezed the viewers into a large football stadium. With just 6% of Scottish television viewers watching it, this made it the least watched of the five main channels in Scotland.

STV have recently broadcast Fitz, the woeful 1990s American remake of Cracker. Presumably they have done this because it is supposed to count as Scottish, despite the fact that it is American. In fact, Fitz more accurately describes what STV viewers go through when they realise that their favourite programme has been replaced by a low budget michty-me, jings, crivvens and help ma boab bag of shite.

Because when STV are showing “regional” programming, it is a parochial embarrassment. One of the programmes it’s pushing most is The Hour. Imagine a cross between The One Show and Live From Studio Five, with a twentieth of the budget and presented from a shed. That barely describes the horror.

In the evenings, STV broadcasts STV Casino. This is the sort of gambling programme I railed against in a previous edition of The Pod Delusion.

More ambitiously, STV sought to find out the Greatest Scot. Among the nominees for the title was John Logie Baird, the inventor of the television. What Logie Baird can’t have foreseen was that his compatriots would be unable to watch anything decent on it.

Soon enough, STV will run out of “Scottish” topics to make programmes about. What next? The History of the Word ‘Outwith‘? Barry Ferguson’s Greatest V-Signs? Susan Boyle’s Ten Favourite Ditches?

Maybe there will be a celebration of the Scots language and / or dialect, with a version of Countdown played in the Scots tongue. Sadly, the only exciting action would be a Buckfast-fuelled brawl surrounding the precise spelling of words like ‘airse’ (‘erse’?) and ‘bawbag’ (‘ba’bag’?).

This new found love for “local” programming really is rich coming from STV. This is a station that, just a few years ago, would do anything to avoid showing locally produced programmes. It transparently sought to meet its quota of regional programmes with cynical late-night repeats of Weir’s Way and extra editions of Scotland Today Interpreted For The Deaf.

This all makes me wonder just what the ‘S’ in STV stands for. Is it ‘Scottish’? Or is it ‘stultifying’? ‘Stupid’? ‘Sellotape’? In fact, I think it’s probably ‘shite’.

Mark Thompson’s idea is a nice one, but is based on a rose-tinted view rather than the reality we Scots have to live with just now. It is true that something needs to change in order for ITV to survive. But the solution to that is surely obvious when you think about it — they should bring back Blockbusters.

Last night I was a bit bored so I indulged in a spot of channel surfing to see if there was anything decent on. There usually isn’t. But even with my lowered expectations, my jaw literally dropped when I saw what STV were broadcasting — STV Roulette.

Yes, if you thought dodgy gambling programmes were the preserve of the arse end of the Sky channel list, think again. It is right here on Scotland’s Channel 3 franchise, a public service broadcaster no less. You will be delighted to know that STV plan on broadcasting this tat three days a week, for three hours a day.

Presumably this is part of of STV’s much-hyped strategy of promoting “home produced content”. However, STV Roulette and the STV Casino website are produced by NetPlay TV, whose studios are in London.

In recent times, STV has increasingly pursued a strategy of turning down the opportunity to broadcast some of ITV’s best programmes in favour of showing dodgy local clip shows, American imports and… oh, “home produced content”. But the identity of this “home produced content” remains a mystery to viewers. That is probably because it simply doesn’t exist.

I suppose Fitz — a cheap American import — is supposed to count. Apparently it has some kind of vague connection to Cracker. So the trailer tells us anyway. In fact, “Fitz” turned out to be a description of what STV viewers go through every time they realise that their favourite programme has been ditched in favour of some kind of low budget michty-me, jings, crivens and help ma boab bunch of SHITE.

Oh, and apparenty South Park counts as “home produced content” because, in the words of STV’s Managing Director of Broadcast Services, Bobby Hain, it is “mischievous and cheeky”, just like Scottish people! Huh?!

This new found love for “local” programming really is rich coming from STV too. This is a station that, just a few years ago, would do anything to avoid showing locally produced programmes. It blatantly reached its quota of regional programmes with cynical late-night repeats of Weir’s Way and extra editions of Scotland Today Interpreted For The Deaf. As if the ploy wasn’t blatant enough, these showings were ramped up a bit towards the end of the year as well, presumably because the quota needed filling.

I think a lot of people assumed that STV had already been taken over by ITV plc, which sadly is not the case. Any bosses who think people tune in to watch STV are living in cloud cuckoo land. They press button 3 to watch ITV, and expect to watch ITV programmes. That is because regional television is an anachronism that viewers do not care about. This is why STV’s odd strategy has proved so controversial.

STV’s plan wouldn’t be so laughable if it wasn’t based on the totally bogus premise that anyone actually likes regional variations. As I have written before, regional variations are always rubbish, as this excellent clip from The Armando Iannucci Shows ably explains:

I know plenty of people who have mentioned in passing how upset they are that STV refuse to broadcast their favourite programmes. Among the programmes missed by Scottish viewers are showings of the FA Cup, The Bill, Midsomer Murders, Kingdom… I could go on.

New episodes of Lewis are not broadcast, but repeats are fine. New episodes of Poirot are bumped in favour of repeats of Poirot. If those have run out they will show a series of South Park. Other gaps can be filled with cheaply-sourced American imports, Irish (!) imports or films.

That shows up the policy for what it is. This stunt is nothing to do with locally produced programming. This is no favour to the Scottish viewers. It’s all about money. Or so you would think. Quite how STV intends to increase advertising revenues by showing a load of cheap C-grade crap in place of what the viewers are actually expecting is a mystery to all.

STV Roulette is a prime example of STV’s clueless desperation to make money. It is not as if ITV plc has a better record in this department. A couple of years ago it fell in love with the then-fashionable “quiz television” fad, where late-night viewers would be goaded into phoning a premium rate number to answer a question with no proper answer. ITV even set up an entire channel, ITV Play, dedicated to the genre. That was until the public realised they were being hoodwinked, bad publicity ensued and the whole quiz television industry backfired on itself.

At least ITV have got over the fad however. STV seems not to have noticed that it’s bad form to put on this sort of programming. It apparently has no qualms about dedicating 9 hours per week of its channel towards encouraging late-night (i.e. drunk) viewers to gamble.

Sometimes I wonder if STV’s real strategy is to deliberately drive itself into the ground. That way it wouldn’t have to bother with all of that pesky “catering to the viewers” or “making money” business like other commercial channels. Instead it could rely on subsidies for its eternal existence. Genius.

It is already going cap in hand asking for a £5 million subsidy in return for carrying out one of its obligations as a public service broadcaster. Apparently five mil a “reasonable sum”. I am not sure how many people would agree with that, though I reckon a lot of people would be more receptive to the request if they actually showed any sign of wishing to serve their viewers rather than going on some odd crusade of apparent self-destruction.

Watch STV? I’ll opt out, thanks.

Last week Ofcom gave ITV the go-ahead to cut regional output by 50%. Today ITV have duly gone and cut 1,000 jobs, almost half of which will come from regional news. ITV plc looks set to reduce the number of its regional news areas from 17 to nine.

It does make you wonder about the future of regional television, if it even exists. I have personally never been a fan of regional television, and I say that even having lived all my life in a very distinctive part of the UK. I might be the wrong person to ask though. I’m no fan of the “idiot box”. Next year, when F1 finally goes back to the BBC where it belongs, I will probably be able to say that I do not watch commercial television at all.

But regional television, it is fair to say, is not exactly pain-free viewing. More often that not, you can tell the programmes were made on a minuscule budget, and they are generally pretty naff.

Of course, back in the day, most ITV programmes were “regional” in the sense that they were made by one of the ITV franchisees. But the best programmes went out on the network and were therefore aimed at a national audience, with UK-sized aspirations and UK-sized budgets. As such, programmes that were aimed to serve a particular area were, almost by definition, sub-standard. I do wonder quite what the point of such programmes is.

It is slightly different for regional news. I can understand the appeal of having a separate bulletin dedicated to the news in a particular area. But the thing is that the regions are always too big for the bulletins to have a truly ‘local’ feel.

The ITV region I live in, STV Central, stretches from approximately where I live to Fort William while encompassing the massive populations of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde. Watching the bulletin, you would get the impression that hardly anything ever happens outside of Glasgow apart from the politics stuff which happens in Edinburgh. Even many of the political programmes, both on STV and BBC Scotland, are made in Glasgow rather than Edinburgh. If you live anywhere else, it can feel pretty alienating.

The BBC has never even attempted to split Scotland up into regions and Reporting Scotland essentially aspires to be a national news bulletin. The problem with even this is that there either isn’t enough news to report or there isn’t enough budget. Even Scotland, with its large area and separate institutions — most importantly, the Parliament — apparently doesn’t have enough going on to properly justify taking up 30 minutes of the schedule.

Whenever I watch Reporting Scotland, they seem to spend about five minutes per programme trailing what’s coming up later in the programme. Around five minutes into the programme, they are already talking about sport. And then they are normally only talking about football. Jimmy McPhee is in the airport today ready to depart for his meaningless match. Big whoop!

Another problem with regional news — especially on ITV — is the fact that the regions do not seem to be very logical. I’ve already talked about the huge area covered by STV Central. At some arbitrary point in Glenrothes, probably depending on how far behind the hill you are, you stop receiving STV Central and start receiving STV North / the old Grampian. Why is that then? Is Glenrothes more relevant to Aberdeen than to Glasgow? That’s not clear to me. Bearing in mind the fact that much of the population of Glenrothes is or was Glasgow overspill, it doesn’t seem quite right.

Of course, that is nothing compared to the abominable “Border” region which straddles England and Scotland and takes in the Isle of Man for good measure. That is an anachronism if ever there was one. You can tell the ITV regions were originally drawn up about sixty years ago because that would never wash today. I am no nationalist, though I am a little bit of a conspiracy theorist, and one has to wonder if it was a deliberate choice to have one ITV region that took in these three political entities — a 1960s equivalent of saying “North Britain”.

It is probably wrong for me speak for residents of the ITV Border region when I don’t live there, and I can well believe that there are many people who, having grown up with Lookaround, feel very attached to it. But for me, if I lived in the south of Scotland, with legislation affecting my life being made in Edinburgh, I think I would prefer to get my news from a Scottish city rather than Carlisle.

Of course, as Cllr Fraser Macpherson points out, that situation will be even worse under ITV’s new proposals. If ITV get their way, the Border and Tyne Tees regions will be merged. So Scots living in the Borders will not be getting their news from Carlisle — they’ll be getting their news from Gateshead.

The problems of the ITV Border region are recognised, with the existence of a ‘Border Scotland’ opt-out. From what I gather, this incorporates a news segment dedicated to Scotland and editions of Scotsport. What a faff that is though. Would it not just be more sensible to go the whole hog and recognise Scotland as a distinct entity? Every so often SMG express an interest in buying the Scottish bit of the ITV Border franchise. I kind of think they ought to get on with it, particularly if it’s only going to merge with Tyne Tees otherwise.

There are two big reasons why the situation is such a mess. One is geography. I am sure there are bureaucrats somewhere or other whose dream is for the ITV regions to be transformed so that they match the government office regions of the UK. At least that would be neater, and at least that way Scotland would have its own ITV region.

The problem is, those pesky hills get in the way. There is a clever map of the ITV regions on Wikipedia, and as you can see you can’t actually draw many meaningful borders between regions. The map looks like a mess.

The big reason, though, is of course money. Maybe back in the 1960s and 1970s owning an ITV franchise was a license to print money. Today, ITV leaks money like a sieve. Richard Havers traces the change back to the introduction of satellite television. This sucked advertising revenue away from ITV and spread it thinly across hundreds of smaller channels.

Since then, the ITV companies have merged and merged and merged until they became CarltonAndGranada before becoming the ITV plc we all love to hate. Scotland was not immune either as Scottish Television swallowed up Grampian to become SMG (now STV Group) and subsequently almost merged with UTV.

It now no longer makes financial sense for ITV companies to pour money into making news programmes. Economies of scale dictate that the regions will become fewer and bigger until they cease to be regional at all (and as I argue above, perhaps that has already happened).

I think it is time to give up on the idea of regional news programmes, at least on ITV (though Scotland can probably sustain it thanks to its status as a nation, relatively large population and separate political system). But if regional news must stay on television, perhaps it would be better to think of it as a public service that the BBC alone should carry out. I know that ITV is a PSB too, but they are considering giving that up because they think it costs them too much now. The writing is on the wall.

Besides, if I want to know the local news, where do I go? I certainly don’t watch Scotland Today if I want to find out what’s going on locally. I would buy The Fife Free Press or just visit a local news website. These options are probably far more cost-effective way to get local news.

Apart from that, dare I say that local news might be one arena where people turn more and more towards citizen journalists?

That’s right. I, along with CuriousHamster, am starting a roundup of Scottish political blogs. It might sound a little bit passe, but this isn’t just bandwagon-hopping. There are several reasons why I think it’s time to start a roundup of Scottish blogs.

I was struck by a recent article written by Iain Macwhirter, The Scottish Media is Doomed. It paints a sorry picture. There have been massive job cuts in the current affairs departments of BBC Scotland and STV (Scotland’s only major broadcasters). Newspaper circulations are spiralling and Scots are increasingly turning to English publications for their news. (Neil McIntosh has some views on Iain Macwhirter’s post.)

And this is all happening at just the time when it shouldn’t be. The still relatively new Scottish Parliament is responsible for a lot of the legislation that affects the country, and power will now probably only ever move from Westminster to Holyrood. Yet the spotlight on Holyrood is getting dimmer. Surely more accountability is needed.

You think you know what I’m going to say. Scotland’s citizen journalists to the rescue, right? Uhh, not really. At times the Scottish blogosphere feels incredibly sparse. It’s not too difficult, with a bit of effort, to find Scots blogging about politics. And when you do, how often is it about Scottish politics? And when you do find them, there is little doubt that the Scottish political blogosphere isn’t quite as vibrant as the Westminster-orientated scene.

And where on earth are the representatives of the country’s second-largest political party, the SNP? Just about the only decent SNP blogger I can think of is Stuart Dickson, who was responsible for the excellent Independence blog, which sadly hasn’t been updated for a year. Indeed, the Scottish political blogosphere is almost as notable for the great bloggers who have fallen by the wayside. Remember Lost in Westminster? Lost is the word.

Maybe I’m just missing all the great blogging going on out there. That’s part of the reason why I want to start this roundup. I want to discover new blogs and hopefully get a bit more of a community going, with more discussion between bloggers of all hues — particularly with the Scottish Parliament elections gearing up in the coming months.

As I mentioned, there’s no way I’m doing this on my own. Not only is it a bit questionable of me to elect myself as saviour of the Scottish blogosphere, the roundup wasn’t even my idea! Of course there is Tim Worstall, king of the roundups. But Stuart Dickson and CuriousHamster already had a go at a Scottish Political Blogs Review over a year ago. That’s why I chose to invite CuriousHamster to contribute to the new roundup.

We’ve not yet sorted out all of the ins and outs of how we’re going to do this, but I see no point in hanging around. If everything goes to plan, the first roundup will be posted here on Sunday morning.

I’ve already been thinking about what posts I’m going to include but I’ll need your help aswell, particularly if you know of a good Scottish blogger who isn’t in my blogroll. If you want to nominate your own or somebody else’s post, please do email me at  . If you ever need it, my email address is always in the sidebar.

Eligibility? I don’t see much point in being too restrictive, so I’ll adopt the Craig Brown approach — the most tenuous link to Scotland will do. If you’re from Scotland, living in Scotland or just writing about Scotland, it will all be fine by me. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be a blog. But the focus of the roundup will be on Scottish politics, so common sense should be applied.

Also, I’m hoping to make this roundup a little bit different to the usual “here’s a bunch of links I threw together at lunchtime” malarkey. I did say ‘hoping’. You’ll see what I have in store though, and remember that the comments box is there for a reason.

Scottish Blogging Roundup

Don’t ask me why, but recently I’ve been thinking about Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade. For anybody who doesn’t know, Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade was a popular television programme shown on Sunday afternoons on STV. Many generations will have memories of the programme — it lasted from 1966 until 1992.

Those who are aware of my age (20) might be surprised that I can remember Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade. Having found out that it finished in 1992, so am I! But not only that, I also have memories of a time when it was still called ‘Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade’.

I have a distinct memory of my auntie grumbling about the amount of cartoons on the programme: “They should call it just ‘Glen Michael’s Cavalcade’.” Later on it was re-named Glen Michael’s Cavalcade. This must mean that I can remember at least two series of it. Or maybe my memory is just playing tricks.

On Sundays my brother and I were always used to be carted around Glenrothes to visit relatives. I think Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade was just about the only thing that made these visits bearable, which is why I have such memories of it when none of my peers do. I’ve asked my brother if he remembers it. I’ve asked friends who are the same age as me if they remember it. Nobody does, apart from people who are much older than me.

Having said that, my memories of it are vague at best. The only cartoon I can ever remember from it featured a very short-sighted man. As I recall, the cartoon was a bit of a one-note joke. As far as I can remember, the man basically spent his whole time wandering around narrowing his eyes and bumping into things. I’ve never seen a frame of it since Cartoon Cavalcade ended.

But Glen Michael’s (Cartoon) Cavalcade was famously short on actual cartoons. Much of the programme was spent watching Glen Michael fooling around. I quite strongly remember him playing a Scotland Today newsreader where everything in the bulletin went disastrously wrong.

Glen Michael was also joined by some creepy characters that were not so much puppets as inanimate objects. One of them was an oil lamp called Paladin who didn’t move a muscle, but did light up and speak. Scary stuff.

The only thing I remember about Paladin is actually quite a strong memory of him / her / it being confused about anti-litter week. Paladin thought it was about somebody called Auntie Litter coming to visit. Paladin had to be reminded several times in between cartoons that there was no such thing as Auntie Litter. I bet you if I get Alzheimer’s disease, this will be the early memory that I always go back to.

Clearly, Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade was an intensely local thing. If you ask anybody in the central belt who was born before the mid-1980s, probably everybody would know Glen Michael. But ask anybody south of Penicuik and you’ll probably get a blank look.

Even on the internet, information about Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade seems pretty thin on the ground (anything that doesn’t have a video on YouTube is obviously neglected). What is there is conflicting. For instance, the entry on says that the programme lasted from 1975–1985, although this is clearly not true as there is no chance I would be able to remember a programme that ended before I was born.

Wikipedia actually has a reasonably in-depth article which seems to be more reliable. It says Cartoon Cavalcade lasted for 26 years from 1966, which seems about right.

There are also a few blog posts out there — including this from those Consolevania chappies — by people from central Scotland reminiscing about the programme and collecting their threadbare memories. Best of all is this fine MetaFilter thread. If this programme was networked it would undoubtedly be hailed as a cult classic, the sort of programme that would be featured in an I ♥ the 1970s programme.

But there even seems to be confusion as to whether or not the programme even went out on Grampian. If it didn’t go out on Grampian, that would make Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade central Scotland’s best-kept secret. Although maybe it was just the rest of the country being a whole lot wiser than us.

But I have also discovered that, amazingly, there is a Cartoon Cavalcade videoyou can buy it via Amazon! I probably won’t buy it unless it has footage of Glen Michael doing a swear word.

Even more amazingly, I discovered that Glen Michael is actually still alive! It’s difficult to imagine how such a legendary figure can disappear off the face of the planet without actually dying. It pleases me greatly to learn that, unbeknownst to the rest of us, he is still broadcasting to senior citizens via a regular slot that is as much as a secret to under-90s as Cartoon Cavalcade was to anybody outside the central belt. The programme is on Saga FM in Glasgow, a station which I didn’t even know existed. Despite being 80, Glen Michael looks a bit like a sober Terry Wogan in that photograph.

And not only is he still alive, but he is also still touring Glen Michael’s Cavalcade around primary schools! What a legend.

FilmFour is Free, you surely must have noticed.

Except that in the middle of the huge campaign to alert us all to the fact that the respected film channel is coming to Freeview, Channel 4 only went and decided to change its name. The new name is Film4. It’s not a huge change, but that only makes it all the more strange.

Apparently it is so that it will fit in with Channel 4’s other digital channels — E4 and More4. Curiously enough, there is no mention of Quiz Call. I suppose this means that Channel 4 will soon be changing its name to Channel4?

Ignore the fact that FilmFour was Channel 4’s first foray into the multichannel world. Ignore the fact that anybody who would care that FilmFour is owned by Channel 4 already knows it. None of this has stopped them from rebranding the channel, complete with fugly logo and all.

Film4 logo

The logo does make you recoil at first. What on earth were they thinking of, replacing that classy logo with this blocky monstrosity? Chris Riley likes it. I just think it looks like Teletext. Mind you, it is starting to grow on me, so I probably won’t even notice it a couple of months down the line.

But there is no excuse for this logo which goes straight to the top of the pile of crap logos.

SMG logo

Now I was never a fan of SMG’s logo, but at least it wasn’t offensive like this one! Now I can see what they’re trying to do here. “Look, we own STV don’t you know, so we’ll use that ‘S’ in our logo.” Very good. Not that the S was very nice looking in the first place. But you can see what they’re thinking with that. But look at the bit after the ‘S’. What is with that ‘M’?

Film4 and SMG both seem determined to take us back to the 1980s. Please! Wasn’t it bad enough the first time around?

I always quite look forward to the World Cup, but when it actually comes along I usually don’t pay as much attention to it as I expected. But on the 31st of May 2006, I can say that I am looking forward to the World Cup.

Of course, here in Scotland the big debate is: Who should Scots support? And is it wrong not to support England?

Once, a few years ago, my brother said something like, “There is nothing better than England getting beaten, but there is nothing worse than all the crowing about it at school the next day.”

I’m a bit of the opposite. I don’t really mind to see England win, but the media is just unbearable. Even the most tenuous link to 1966 is pounced upon by smug commentators from every angle. It is very tedious, especially when they are referring to England as “we” when there is no “we” about it for anybody who happens to be living in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, which is roughly 20% of the entire population. And the wall-to-wall coverage of Wayne Rooney’s metatarsal really is not needed!

The recent case with Mars is a prime example. Digbeth explains here. I didn’t believe it at first, but I have seen two of these billboards in Kirkcaldy. It really is terrible. They have clearly considered Scotland as an afterthought. Shoddy. It would have been better for them to just not advertise north of the border at all. Have they done the same in Wales?

STV’s trailers for the World Cup are also tragic. STV, the Scottish ITV broadcaster, has obviously taken the ITV network’s promo and slapped the STV logo on the end. This efficient tactic works with most programmes, but there is a slight problem in this instance: every single player featured in the promo is English! Honestly! Did they not think it through?! What would people in England be saying if a broadcaster produced a promo featuring nothing but German players?

When England is shoved down your throat all the time even when you don’t live there, it shouldn’t be a surprise. It is probably fair to say that the majority of Scots will not be supporting England in the World Cup. This year, the trendy team for Scots to support is Trinidad and Tobago, who have four players based in Scotland, one of whom happens to be called Scotland. Oh, and there is the small matter that they are in England’s group as well.

Jack McConnell got himself into a wee bit of hot water when he said that he wouldn’t be supporting England at the World Cup. But when Gordon Brown said he’d be supporting England he got even more stick from it, particularly from the SNP (who else?).

English people have been known to complain about the rivalry between Scotland and England. They protest that they are happy enough to support Scotland, so why shouldn’t Scots support England? Well, as David Farrer excellently points out in this post, that is completely missing the point.

Because, in footballing terms, it’s not a fellow team, but is perceived by Scots to be the number one rival. If Celtic are playing against Barcelona in a European match, do Rangers fans cheer on their “fellow” Glaswegians? Aye, right! Were Chelsea, Spurs and West Ham fans in tears over Arsenal’s recent defeat in the Champions’ League final? I don’t think so.

…Scotland aren’t (sadly) a threat to England. It’s no big deal for English folk to support Scotland in those circumstances.

Who says Scotland aren’t being represented in the World Cup though? We all know that isn’t true!

It is perhaps true that Scotland’s rivalry with England is a little childish. But then again, England has its own childish rivalries with Germany, Argentina, France, Turkey……

Today viewers were given a preview of Scottish and Grampian’s brand new uber-identity, STV — er sorry, I mean stv — which launches next Tuesday.

STV ident The idents are a bit strange. We’re treated to a variety of gormless people goofing about, sometimes in recognisable locations, with a plastic ‘S’ which resembles the old British Steel logo. I think it’s meant to look like they’re all passing the ‘S’ to each other, but the editing is pretty awful so it looks nothing like that. At one point we see a couple of women chatting to each other over a coffee, and this big blue ‘S’ just gets shoved into her hands! Bizarre.

You can see the idents on the video clip attatched to this story on the Scotland Today website. It contains an interview with STV’s big wig Bobby Hain who makes a strange comment about how the two shades of blue in the logo are about people connecting the top to the bottom, or something like that? Where have I seen two shades of blue in a logo before? doctorvee logo

The new logo is nothing though. Here is the press release about it.

stv’s new website, , will be launched later this summer and will feature an exciting new range of entertainment, lifestyle, news and sports services.

Hang on a minute, Just in case you weren’t aware that STV is a television channel, they have put ‘tv’ in the URL twice. This new website sounds rubbish anyway. There are already a million generic websites claiming to offer an “exciting range of entertainment, lifestyle, news and sports services.” They need to get with the times. Don’t they realise that the coolest thing for broadcasters to do these days is to buy social network websites? They can’t all have been taken already?!

There will also be an exciting new gaming section designed to satisfy Scotland’s evergreen love of bingo and quiz-show based games.

Translation: $$$!

This bit is interesting though.

Some of the first services available in the coming months on will include a minute-by-minute comprehensive news service which will be boosted by users posting their own stories, sound bites and video clips…

So is this STV getting into citizen journalism? It could be interesting… But then again, it could just be a bunch of illiterate neds yapping about fitbaw.

The biggest question, though, is what does the ‘S’ stand for? Surely the answer is obvious: Scottish, surely? Well I heard that STV are eager to downplay the idea that the ‘S’ stands for Scottish or Scotland in case it alienates people in the Grampian region! So apparently the ‘S’ can mean anything you want. That’s what S-Club always used to say, so I assumed it just stood for ‘shite’…