Three new "world-class" dramas, comedies and documentary series will be made in Scotland each year under a landmark deal between the BBC and the Scottish Government's screen agency.
Screen Scotland, which has a £20 million budget funded by the government and the National Lottery, will help pay for at least nine productions to be made each year for the BBC’, including its new dedicated Scottish channel.
The agency has pledged to work with the BBC over the next three years to try to attract more funding for productions as part of a drive to build “a sustainable television sector in Scotland.”
An official agreement commits both parties to support efforts to “improve the on-air representation and portrayal of Scotland and its people” on the BBC. The corporation will ringfence around £1 million for the development of “scripted and unscripted ideas.”
It is hoped the pact, which covers from now until 31 December 2021, will help boost efforts to meet a target of boosting the value of the sector from the £69m recorded in 2016 to £160m by 2022.
The deal between the BBC and Screen Scotland, which was launched last August and is being run by national arts quango Creative Scotland, will see shows created for the new Scottish channel, BBC One in Scotland and the UK network.
The deal was announced the BBC’s Glasgow headquarters by director-general Tony Hall to coincide with the new channel’s launch. It has been given an annual budget of £32 million from the BBC, which has allocated an extra £40 million a year for Scottish content.
The agreement states: “Screen Scotland and the BBC share a common purpose to support a vibrant, world-class Scottish television industry that excels in the production of a diverse range of content, including ambitious projects which reflect Scottish culture and are enjoyed by audiences in Scotland, the UK and internationally.”
Lord Hall said: “As part of the BBC’s commitment to this new partnership, we have agreed to deliver, to network, each year, a minimum of three drama series from Scotland, three comedy titles and three high-impact factual series.
“This is the first stage in a long-term collaboration involving the BBC, Screen Scotland and potentially other relevant parties with the aim of backing ambitious projects reflecting Scottish culture which can be enjoyed by audiences in Scotland, across the UK and internationally.”
Recent BBC productions, backed by Creative Scotland including the drama series The Cry, with Jenna Coleman, which was shown last year, and The Victim, which Kelly Macdonald and John Hannah are due to appear in within the next few months.
Iain Munro, acting chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: “This is an incredibly important moment for screen in Scotland. We have a strong history of partnering on projects with BBC Scotland and this agreement sets out clearly how we’ll build on this.
“It makes clear our common goals and where we can jointly support the screen sector in Scotland to thrive; producing more high quality content, developing emerging talent and celebrating our exciting culture.”