Archives for April 2010

Another Country featuring Woodenbox With A Fistful Of Fivers

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 20:06 UK time, Friday, 30 April 2010

Richard Murdoch, producer of Another Country With Ricky Ross, writes:

Last time our session artist Caitlin Rose was playing live from Nashville. This time we have homegrown alt-country Glasgow band Woodenbox With A Fistful Of Fivers playing live on the show. They've just released their debut album 'Home and the Wildhunt' which is full of alt-country songs and here's a couple of pics from the band rehearsing before Another Country - one of the songs being a cover version of a very famous Americana tune that you'll be able to sing along to!

Ricky with Wooden Box and a Fistful of Fivers, in Studio 1, BBC Scotland. Wooden Box and a Fistful of Fivers rehearsing in Studio 1, BBC Scotland for Another Country

Dancing the salsa with Brendan Cole

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Julia Sutherland | 13:55 UK time, Friday, 30 April 2010

As Fred MacAulay's side-kick this week on MacAulay and Co, I was delighted to hear the 'Bad Boy of Ballroom' Brendan Cole was going to be on the show today.

He was up in Scotland for his new 'Live and Unjudged' dance spectacular - and since we were in studio 1, with it's lovely spacious wooden floor - as well as having celebrity chef Nick Nairn also joining us, we thought it would be a missed opportunity if we didn't get them both to throw some shapes - or at least me - around the floor!

Now, my footwork ain't too fancy, it has to be said, but Nick's interpretation of the waltz, despite a quick master class from Brendan before we went on air - didn't exactly sweep me off my feet!

Brendan Cole giving Nick Nairn some dancing tips

Thankfully Brendan then took me in his expert arms, for a bit of salsa. Mid-way through he whispered "Are you ready?" to me, to which I nodded, unaware that he was about to spring a rather unexpected move...

Well.... You can watch the video to see just what happened next!

You can see some photographs on today's MacAulay and Co. webpage.

Julia Sutherland is one of the MacAulay and Co co-presenters.

Gearing up for an election debate

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 12:00 UK time, Friday, 30 April 2010

In 40 years working as a journalist I have never known an election stuffed so full of leaders' debates. Such is the proliferation that in the newsroom someone will ask: When is the televised debate? And voices cry out in reply: Which one?

Derek Bateman

There's confusion because they could mean the first televised leaders debate with Labour, Tory and the Lib Dems or maybe the second one, or the Scottish one on the economy or The Scottish leaders' debate at the Festival Theatre with all four main parties, in front of a live audience of over a thousand people. Aaaargh!!

The whole business has become like an extended tv show, if you like that kind of thing. But there is an antidote and it's called the wireless.

In addition to the leaders being questioned on individual programme strands like Call Kaye or Good Morning Scotland, Radio Scotland is staging " piggyback" programmes in which you can hear a radio version of the televised debates with Scottish politicians and then immediately afterwards listen to a live studio discussion with a panel of commentators chaired by me.

That way you get a novel experience...everyone says you form a different impression by listening, not watching...and are then drawn into our exchange of opinions and ideas with experienced journalists like Colin Mackay, Fiona Ross and Angus Macleod. The whole thing starts at 10pm and ends two hours later after which we hope you will have been entertained and you maybe even have learned something to your advantage.

It may encourage you to join us on election night when our team will come on air as soon as the polls close and will deliver you into the hands of GMS at 6am the next morning. By then we might know who will lead Britain although I fear an uncertain outcome will mean the plethora of televised debates will be replaced by days of closed-session talks between some of the same leaders who fill our screens today.

Derek Bateman is a senior broadcast journalist for BBC Scotland News & Current Affairs and presents Newsweek Scotland and The Election 2010 for BBC Radio Scotland.

Tigerstyle in Session

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 13:44 UK time, Thursday, 29 April 2010

Mary Ann Kennedy had an acoustic session from Tigerstyle on Global Gathering (Tuesday 27 April). They performed devotional music from the Punjab.

Here's one of the videos our colleagues on Scotland's Music recorded. There are more on the Global Gathering webpage and the Scotland's Music blog.

That Swing Sensation live on MacAulay and Co.

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 10:48 UK time, Thursday, 29 April 2010

Fred came from a larger studio today, and took advantage of this to invite That Swing Sensation to play live on the show.

You can see larger photos on their webpage and listen again via the BBC iPlayer.

That Swing Sensation

GMS on the campaign trail

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 07:02 UK time, Wednesday, 28 April 2010

It's not just the candidates who are pounding the streets during this Election campaign. Good Morning Scotland presenters Gary Robertson and Aileen Clarke are travelling around the country to hear about the key issues that will influence the way voters will cast their ballot on 6 May.

Having started in Stornoway and enjoyed some of the nicest weather of the year, Gary next moved onto Aberdeen - where the GMS travel rug came in handy!

Gary Robertson

Aileen enjoyed the delights of armchair broadcasting in Kelso. And Gary was definitely in the driving seat when he stopped off at a bus making factory in Falkirk.

Check out the photo highlights on the Good Morning Scotland web pages, and follow the progress of the team when Gary heads to Aberlour on Friday 30 April and Aileen travels to Dundee on Tuesday 4 May.

Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art at BBC Scotland

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 16:12 UK time, Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art is exhibiting the work of artists across the city in venues including the Tramway, Glasgow School of Art and BBC Scotland. Book Cafe and Culture Cafe presenter Clare English interviewed the festival director Katrina Brown and Ross Sinclair, a graduate of the Environmental Art Department at the Glasgow School of Art before a live audience.

Photographs from the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts evening at BBC Scotland - from left to right festival director Katrina Brown, artist Robbie Thompson with Book and Culture Cafe presenter Clare English.
Photographs from the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts evening at BBC Scotland.

A testing week on MacAulay and Co.

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Simone Byrne Simone Byrne | 15:37 UK time, Monday, 26 April 2010

This week the MacAulay and Co. team are helping parents support their children through the exam period.

Along with lots of advice and tips, all week they're going to be challenging Radio Scotland presenters to sit a 5 minute standard grade exam. Today it was the turn of Scotland Live and Newsdrive presenter Nick Rougvie and here's the maths question he was asked:

There were 4 girls and 14 boys in a class.
A child is chosen at random and is asked to roll a die, numbered 1 to 6.

Which of these is more likely?

A: the child is female.
B: the child rolls a 5.

Nick Rougvie

....Listen again to the show to find out how he got on and tune in to Tuesday's show when they'll be testing Kaye Adams.

For further exam info visit:

A dangerous liaison with Del Amitri

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Nick Low | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 24 April 2010

As producer of the Janice Forsyth Show, I was delighted to see Justin Currie had a cracking new solo album, "The Great War" and we invited him in for a couple of acoustic songs and a chat for this Saturday's programme (24th April).

Gone are the Del Amitri days, but he kindly performed, ably accompanied by guitarist Stuart Nisbet, a rendition of the Del Amitri hit "Tell Her This", which he revealed had done rather well for them in America.

I'll now hold my hands up and say in an earlier life I did release Del Amitri's first ever single "Sense Sickness" on my NoStrings Records label back in 1983, which was although critically acclaimed was a financial flop! The band did get noticed by Chrysalis Records who snapped them up and I never got to release a follow up, and my brief liaison with Del Amitri ended there.

I was asked to find a photo of Justin and Janice for the Radio Scotland website, but couldn't find a good copy of the jaunty one from a few years ago I have of Justin with Janice wearing his glasses, other than a scabby print (which I have scanned for you here)

Justin Currie and Janice Forsyth

but I did find a 1983 press photo I had taken for the original single release. I have to say I think Justin's rock n roll years haven't had too bad an effect - he's worn well don't you think?

del Amitri in 983

Sense Sickness" released on NoStrings Records label, 1983

Nick Low is the producer of the Janice Forsyth Show

"I'm sorry to say I never made Nashville" - Ricky Ross

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 19:00 UK time, Friday, 23 April 2010

Another Country presenter Ricky Ross has been having a tricky time of it recently. Have a read of Ricky's blog to find out what he has (and hasn't) been up to.

How Do You Write Radio Comedy?

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 12:30 UK time, Friday, 23 April 2010

On Radio Scotland one of the best-loved genres of programme is comedy. Good radio comedy sounds effortless; this allows the rest of us to enjoy the drama, plot and punch lines without being aware of all the effort, long hours and the number of re-writes which go into it before we hear it on Radio Scotland.

Margaret-Anne Docherty has produced some of the best-known and loved comedy on Radio Scotland including Desperate Fishwives, SWOTS, Ellis and Clarke and No Hard Feelings. I asked her if she could explain the process behind radio comedy - from where do you get ideas to how to develop it when you have one. Have a listen to the interview below for some real insights from a radio comedy pro.

Radio Comedy cast photographs, clockwise form left: No Hard Feelings, SWOTS, Ellis and Clarke, Desperate Fishwives

BBC Writersroom - radio comedy
BBC Comedy

Funny Friends and oversized clothing

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Lesley Kay | 09:50 UK time, Friday, 23 April 2010

Susan Calman and I are in the middle of recording a new series of Funny Friends for BBC Radio Scotland. If you didn't hear the first series, the idea is pretty simple. Susan Calman chats to her Funny Friends.

Last week Susan put on her lawyers hat and went to London to give comedian Jo Caulfield some advice on looking for a flat in Edinburgh's Stockbridge. Then she headed over to posh Hampstead and played a game of cricket with Miles Jupp - Archie the Inventor in Balamory, and more recently the hapless press officer John Duggan from The Thick of It - with a rolled up copy of The Times. That is so not cricket!

Yesterday we went to Edinburgh to catch Lucy Porter who is currently on tour. For a laugh, Susan (4'11) met Lucy (5') in a shop for very tall ladies. As they moved around the shop, they marvelled at skirts that proved perfectly ample maxi dresses for shorties, managed to fit both feet in to one shoe, and peered over the top of the very large cash desk. Finally Lucy settled for a dressing gown and large hat; Susan for a pair of jeans: the waistband reaching her shoulders.

The very nice ladies in the shop took photos of them, and, they were overjoyed to learn that the photos will be making it to the Long Tall Sally newsletter! If you are not a subscriber, here's a preview!

Lucy Porter and Susan Calman

Lesley Kay is the producer of Funny Friends.

Scotland on Song Questions with Barbara Dickson

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 14:28 UK time, Thursday, 22 April 2010

Nick Dempsey who writes the Scotland's Music blog had the chance to speak with Barbara Dickson who presents the programme Scotland on Song.

Have a look at the Scotland's Music blog to find out answers to questions such as what's it like getting to grips with presenting a radio programme and what's the future for Scottish song?

Black Watch, 3 Scots: A War In Their Own Words

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Pennie Latin Pennie Latin | 12:07 UK time, Thursday, 22 April 2010

Pennie Latin producer of Black Watch, 3 Scots: A War In Their Own Words reveals the idea behind the programme:

It was one of those curious but quite common situations in radio production where a few words shared in a passing conversation leads to something rather bigger and more involved. While dropping my daughter off at nursery last summer I asked one of the other mums how her husband was doing in Afghanistan - lots of the Black Watch, 3 Scots children go to the nursery and there was a palpable tension while they were on the 2009 tour. Penny told me how her husband Matt had just been back on R&R and had given her his wedding ring back in case he was blown up by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). I was stunned by the image. A wife wearing two wedding rings and it lodged itself in my mind.

The sound of the propellers is loud, the cabin is warm...and even if I wanted to speak with someone the troops are too focused for idle chit-chat

See more photographs in the gallery

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Where's Annie McGuire?

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Annie McGuire Annie McGuire | 11:28 UK time, Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The great day is finally here! Yes British airspace has reopened - but I'm not going up there! The reality is that the queue to get back on a flight from France means I'd be here for a few days yet - estimated to be Saturday - so the plan remains to get on the train this morning.

In reality it will in fact be three trains: Nice to Lille, Lille to London, and London to Glasgow. The word from my friend Kevin Mitchell from The Guardian who got on a train yesterday is that it was a 'bit of a bun fight' and that his whole world nearly fell apart when his first train was nearly 40 minutes late - meaning a mad dash for the Eurostar back to London. Thankfully he made it.

And after 24 hours on a train - by Thursday morning I should be home too. My initial plans include a cup of tea in my favourite mug and not much else!

The Beechgrove Potting Shed allotment rebranded and spiders invade

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Denise Glass | 10:00 UK time, Tuesday, 20 April 2010

You know how companies are always changing the names of their products? Well we've also been doing a bit of rebranding - we've given the Beechgrove Potting Shed allotment a new name.

You may remember that I previously blogged about the problems we had finding a site to grow our veg, as the plot we'd originally chosen did not get enough light. Well, we've since started growing our carrots in a pot at the front of our building and more veg will follow. Our potatoes are growing in tyres on our original plot and we're drawing up plans for that area as well.

So the Beechgrove Potting Shed allotment is now the Beechgrove Potting Shed patio garden (and plot). Harder to say, but more accurate.

And we have signs of life! The beans, courgettes, salad and flowers on our window ledge have all started growing.


In a separate development, I think someone's been playing a little joke on us. When watering the potatoes, I found one of those plastic spider rings sitting on our compost. In the picture, it's enjoying life on my flower tray.

plastic spider

It could have got there quite accidentally - as I explained in a previous blog, the compost was handmade by one of our panellists. Someone could've dropped it at any stage.

However, if someone placed it there on purpose, then they should note that we're a hardy bunch on the Beechgrove Potting Shed and are not scared by spiders. We're also smart enough to spot a plastic one when we see it!

Forgive and Forget - Rwandan Genocide

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 15:42 UK time, Monday, 19 April 2010

Philip Sime, producer of Forgive and Forget writes about the third episode in the second series:

Can complete forgiveness ever actually be achieved or do we always harbour resentment of some form?

The horrific genocide carried out in Rwanda in 1994 caused the death of an estimated 1 million people but do you think that those responsible for such carnage should ever be forgiven?

This week on Forgive and Forget, Lorraine Kelly talks to Lesley Bilinda whose husband; a Rwandan Tutsi was caught up in the genocide and killed. Understandably Leslie has struggled to find forgiveness for the people responsible for her husband's murder.

Lesley Bilinda is featured in epsiode three of Forgive and Forget, with Lorraine Kelly.

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Stuck in the French Riviera

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Annie McGuire Annie McGuire | 09:59 UK time, Monday, 19 April 2010

Well it has certainly been an interesting few days since I last submitted a blog: Andy Murray went out of the Monte Carlo Masters, I agreed to stay on and appear on Good Morning Scotland the next day. Woke up on Thursday morning - dialled in to BBC Radio Scotland only to hear the studio discussing the fact that Scotland was a no fly zone!

Annie McGuire, stranded in Monte Carlo

So I - along with Britain's top tennis writers, have been stuck here in Menton (a good base for people who can't afford Monte Carlo - about 6 km away) trying to work out how to get home.

Three bold adventurers left on Friday morning, thinking they'd hire a Mercedes to drive to Calais. When they turned up all that was left was a Renault Clio! But 24 hours later they were in Dover - and we were still sitting wondering what to do.

Many people are in far worse situations around the world, but it is still quite stressful - spending all day every day trying to devise a cunning plan to get out of here. I have a bridesmaid dress fitting in Glasgow on Friday that I have to get to! (Oh yes, and presenting Sportsound on Thursday of course... that's important too...)

Anyway, it appears we may have a breakthrough. We plan to get the first available TGV - which is on Wednesday - from Nice to Lille, the Eurostar from Lille to London - then I will finally say 'a bientot' to the London based press and get the sleeper from Euston back to Glasgow.

So a 24 hour journey ahead, but it does make you appreciate how we've come to take for granted the idea that 'the world is a village'. I will kiss the ground in Glasgow when I get home. The French Riviera is okay, but there's no place like home.

The challenges of recording on location

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Denise Glass | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 17 April 2010

I've just recently joined the Out of Doors team and one of the first difficulties that plagued my thoughts was how to hold a microphone and recording device while climbing, snowboarding, biking etc. These can be difficult, dangerous activities and I kind of wanted both hands free!

So, when swimming in the Tay (in January!) I got round this by wading in upto my thighs then handing the microphone to someone else. Luckily I yelped so loudly that you could've heard me a mile away - so the mic had no difficulty picking me up.

And when I went mountain biking I wore a fleecy jacket with a handy inside pocket for my recording device. I then bought a travel wallet which I tied round my neck for holding the microphone.

But this week I was taking part in quite an intense outdoor fitness class in Edinburgh. So I couldn't rely on my trusty fleece - it'd be too hot. And when I tried my travel wallet it swung and bounced about, so that was no good either.

What followed was quite embarrassing as I ran up and down our office stairs and around our car park garden trying various microphone/recording device/headphone combinations.

One tip I'd received from our senior producer was that you can put the recorder and/or microphone down your top (this works better for women than men!). That seemed to work quite well - as you can see from our video.

However, when I went to the exercise class it was a different story! The point of the class was to use the man-made and natural features around Edinburgh as gym equipment. I encountered the first problem a couple of minutes into the class as we jumped on and off the Covenanters' Memorial in the Grassmarket. It's a circular memorial about 2ft high and there were several occasions when lightning fast reactions came into play as I grabbed the recorder as it came loose.

Running around frantically, doing press-ups on bollards and crawling up stairs is also not good for keeping your wires in order. There were several times during our 'rest' moments as I jogged on the spot trying to untangle microphone and headphone wires that had got mixed up in unimaginable ways.

But I'm sure as time goes on I'll come up with creative solutions to my microphone/headphone problems and I'll be sure to share them so future reporters don't run (literally) into the same problems I did.

Find out more, and listen online, to this week's episode of Out of Doors.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 13:28 UK time, Friday, 16 April 2010

Tom Morton has sent us a pic from Shetland of the volcanic ash from Iceland currently casting a shadow over the UK and parts of Europe.

Read and see more photos on Tom's blog.
Tom Morton's hand showing volcanic ash from Iceland

Tom's programme from 15 April had an 'ash theme'.

The Avett Brothers on Another Country

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 12:25 UK time, Friday, 16 April 2010

Another Country With Ricky Ross features The Avett Brothers from North Carolina. The title track of their new album is currently featured on the Radio Scotland Playlist and Another Country producer Richard Murdoch has written about the interview and session.

Richard Murdoch:

One of our favourite albums of the year so far is 'I And Love And You' by the The Avett Brothers, which we're enjoying playing you on Another Country. On Friday April 16 from 8pm you can hear them perform 3 tracks from that album in session and they also talk fondly about a gig at Glasgow's King Tuts. I can also confirm they were some of the nicest and well mannered guests we've ever had into our studios, and they recorded each track in just one take - true professionals!

The Avett Brothers in Studio 1, BBC Scotland, for Another Country with Ricky Ross

Richard Murdoch is the producer of Another Country with Ricky Ross, Fridays 2000-2200

Football, comedy, gardens, Scottish life, business, music... Radio Scotland podcasts

Karen Miller Karen Miller | 12:51 UK time, Thursday, 15 April 2010

Over the past few weeks we've let you know about all the Radio Scotland Facebook and Twitter sites on offer and now it's the turn of our podcasts.

To listen to a BBC podcast you can subscribe via your podcasting software so that each episode is automatically downloaded to your computer/mobile device, or you can either download or listen online from the podcast's page. Confused? Have a look at the podcast help page which should answer your questions.

The Radio Scotland podcasts are generally no more than 30 minutes long and are updated weekly (or in the case of Scottish Football, daily).

There are currently 11 available via our podcast page covering all kinds of topics:

The podcasts are a great way to hear some of the highlights or extra bits from our programmes.

Want more?

There are, of course, plenty of BBC podcasts to choose from, you can see the full list on the BBC podcast page.

You can find lists of other podcasts all over the web, but here are a few links to get you started.

Monte Carlo, Andy Murray and a broken tripod... a day in the life of Annie McGuire

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Annie McGuire Annie McGuire | 09:47 UK time, Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Bonjour from Monaco! I can't promise that all my BBC Radio Scotland blog entries are going to come from glamorous locations, but this week I'm here covering Andy Murray's progress at the Monte Carlo Masters tennis. I'm the only person here from the BBC this week, so I'm providing material for BBC Radio Scotland, Reporting Scotland, the BBC news channel and Five Live. We now cover these events by working as 'video journalists' - meaning you film and edit everything you do yourself. So when you see me talking direct to the camera in pieces on Reporting Scotland, be aware I'm talking to a camera with no-one behind it - bound to get you some funny looks - and I'm sure one day someone is going to come along and swipe it while I'm in full flow.

Andy Murray is a great subject to cover. Despite what you might read in some of the press he's very affable and down to earth - and because of the rules of the tennis authorities he has to speak to the media after every single match. So unlike, for example, footballers he's doing literally HUNDREDS of interviews a year. Forgive him if occasionally he looks a little bored!

This all means I'm leaving my normal job at Sportsound and Your Call for a week - just as the football season is coming to an end. It never ceases to amaze me how much happens in football every time I'm on a tennis trip - and thanks to all the Ross County fans I know for making sure I'm kept up to date! I think it's healthy though for 'sports journalists' to be just that - rather than just 'football journalists'. Covering another sport helps you keep perspective on Scottish football.

And perspective is something I've had to maintain out here so far this week. When my baggage came off the carousel at Nice Airport I discovered that my tripod now has....well, two legs rather than three after it had what appears to be a rather nasty bump while checked in to the hold. A rather stressful experience for someone who doesn't speak french. Should you ever require it the magical phrase which got BBC Scotland back on track is 'Je voudrais acheter un trepied'.

Beechgrove Potting Shed - an allotment on a budget

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Denise Glass | 12:00 UK time, Tuesday, 13 April 2010

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about the new Beechgrove Potting Shed allotment. Well, planting the allotment has now begun!

Our window sill is currently home to pots, trays and blocks in which we have a variety of seeds, including courgette and salad. And on the Beechgrove Potting Shed this week, gardener Jim McColl helped us plant our potatoes:

We're determined to build this allotment on a tight budget - so you'll see from the video that we're planting our potatoes in old tyres. Helen (Needham - the Beechgrove Potting Shed's senior producer) managed to get the tyres for free from her mum's farm. The compost was homemade by BPS panellist Ian Young - who went beyond the call of duty to ensure we had the compost at the allotment site in time for the broadcast. The seed potatoes came from BPS presenter Mark Stephen.

We've also managed to get pots for our other veg at a cut price - reduced from £6.99 to £1!

And as for our veg seeds - they've come from the BBC's Dig In team, who're giving away free seeds to encourage people to grow their own vegetables.

So, I feel we're off to a good start and we've had some more positive comments from our listeners. Linda McCall, the Head Teacher at Yetholm Primary, told us that her school had just joined the local allotment association because it's a super chance for practical learning. She said they'd be listening to the Beechgrove Potting Shed for help and advice.

I'm sure it's not all going to be plain sailing for our allotment - we've got pests, diseases and the Aberdeen weather to contend with, but that's just the reality of gardening. The whole team is just really looking forward to learning more and hopefully getting some tasty veg in the coming months!

Forgive and Forget episode 2

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 15:49 UK time, Monday, 12 April 2010

Philip Sime, producer of Forgive and Forget, has given us more details about the episode airing on Tuesday, 13th April.

To read about how Denise Green found forgiveness for the professionals who removed her son William's vital organs without her consent after he died during a routine heart operation, visit the Forgive and Forget episode page.

Never Again gate designed by Denise Green

The memorial gates entitled "Never Again" designed by Denise Green.

Desperate Fishwives - on TV

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 10:10 UK time, Monday, 12 April 2010

Fresh from the film set of Desperate Fishwishes we've been treated to a couple of exclusive photographs.

Lauren Mackay:

Here's a behind-the-scenes peek at the Desperate Fishwishes TV pilot episode being filmed at The University of Aberdeen, Old Aberdeen,
April 9. More details to follow when broadcast dates become available.

Lauren Mackay is the Second Assistant Director on the Desperate Fishwives TV pilot episode.

Desperate Fishwives TV Pilot

Desperate Fishwives TV Pilot

The Spielberg of Gaming

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 10:48 UK time, Friday, 9 April 2010

James Christie producer of The Spielberg of Gaming reveals the story behing the music on the programme.

James Christie:

Feature programmes on BBC Radio Scotland all start the same way...with a sting. A short burst, you all know the tune. You basically sing "BBC Radio Scotland" in your head when you hear it.

There are loads of these stings, for news programmes, sport, music, comedy. When producing "The Spielberg of Gaming" I decided I wanted a new sting. A different variation on the melody. Taking inspiration from old computer games (Chucky Egg anyone?), I commissioned someone to produce an 8bit sting using original sounds from the time. The "Jet Set Willy" sting was born.

Listen to it. If you went anywhere near a computer in the 1980's it will take you straight back.

The Spielberg of Gaming is repeated Saturday morning at 6 and will be on iPlayer for a week after...and fantastic it is too (if I do say so myself).

James Christie is the producer of The Spielberg of Gaming and also is part of the MacAulay And Co team.

On the Road to a Big Debate

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Simone Byrne Simone Byrne | 16:09 UK time, Thursday, 8 April 2010

Election season is most definitely upon us and one person who won't be escaping it is Brian Taylor or any of the news team for that matter - it's possibly one of their busiest periods.

Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to ask David Holmes Senior Broadcast Journalist and Producer of Brian Taylor's Big Debate to write a few words for the blog:

There's a noticeable buzz in the BBC Scotland newsroom now that the election campaign is officially underway.

We're in full electioneering mode with programmes gearing to "go on the road" to cover the different aspects of the campaign from around Scotland before May 6.

Being on road for "Brian Taylor's Big Debate" is nothing new. We're there most weeks. But what is new is our start time? We're on air an hour earlier at 12:15.

And our panellists will now be politicians or political wannabes hoping to replace previous incumbents.

This week we're in Greenock where we're joined by Labour's David Cairns, the SNP's John Mason, the Liberal Democrats' Alan Reid and the Conservatives' Bill Aitken.

After that we're off to the constituencies where Brian will put the respective candidates through their paces in front of an invited audience.

First stop on Friday 16 April is Kelso in the constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk. BRS sees the Liberal Democrats trying to hold off the Tories.

Na H-Eileanan An Iar (Western Isles) is held by the SNP, but it's one of Labour's top five target seats in Scotland. We're in Stornoway on Friday 23 April.

Finally on Friday 30 April we're in Alloa. With a Labour majority of only 688 Ochil and South Perthshire is the SNP's top target seat.

If you'd like to be in any of the audiences for these programmes, email

Otherwise you can hear "Brian Taylor's Big Debate" on BBC Radio Scotland from the new time of 12:15 on Fridays.

A Change to the Beechgrove Potting Shed

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Denise Glass | 16:31 UK time, Wednesday, 7 April 2010

This week we had a double first on the Beechgrove Potting Shed - we broke out of the Aberdeen studio for a few minutes and we had the debut of Theresa Talbot.

Our first break from tradition was when part of the programme came from outside the building. Presenter Mark Stephen and panellists Ian Young and Donald McBean filed out to Mark's car where he unveiled the strawberry plants in his boot.

Broadcasting just this short section of show required quite a lot of planning. The team had to get themselves outside during the weather forecast. The weather lasts a couple of minutes, so we had time to spare there. However, getting back into the building was another matter. The team had to get back inside during a 38 second trail (the little advert for other BBC Scotland shows).

That went so well that we've decided to be even more adventurous this weekend coming by venturing even further away from the building. We'll be heading into the BBC Aberdeen garden, to where we plan to raise our potatoes, for Jim McColl's advice on tattie growing.

Oh, and there's an allotment update! Last week I blogged about the difficulties of choosing the right site for our allotment. Well, we've decided to split the site. We'll grow items which need a lot of light at the front of our building and those that aren't so light dependent will be grown in the corner of our garden.

Now onto our second first - the debut of Theresa Talbot. Theresa may be a familiar voice to those on BBC Radio Scotland - she often presents the travel. But Theresa has also studied garden design and horticulture and has written gardening articles. She gave us her top flower arranging tips, which you can see on the Beechgrove Potting Shed homepage.

Theresa was an enthusiastic contributor to the show and you'll be hearing more of her in the months to come.

Comedy on Radio Scotland

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 12:39 UK time, Wednesday, 7 April 2010

As part of the new Cafe programmes Bronwen Tulloch of the Comedy Cafe describes what to expect from the new programme.

The Comedy Café

From Friday 9th April we're welcoming a new addition to the Radio Café family with the brand new Comedy Cafe on BBC Radio Scotland at 1.15 pm.

Make it funny but thought provoking. Reflect Scotland's sense of humour but be international. Capture the zeitgest but include the classics. And don't forget to feature the funny side of film, books, TV...

No challenge there then. Such is the remit of our brand new Comedy Cafe which I've been charged with producing, presented by Janice-chuckles-Forsyth. Multiple brainstorming sessions with my colleagues have turned up a wealth of exciting ideas, but sometimes the difficulty is in deciding what to leave out rather than what you can put into a programme. That's the nature of radio production! So I'm aiming high with a guest wish-list as long as the page it's typed on, grand visions of specially commissioned comedy themes and sigs, and a bevvy of reporters armed with recording equipment ready to tap our audience for their favourite jokes.

To tempt you for our launch programme on April 9 Greg McHugh has been much in demand since the recent success of Gary: Tank Commander - so good even the Russians want him on their TV schedules! But he's making time especially for the first Comedy Cafe and we'll find out what he's been up to since his 'tour of duty'. Together with Guardian critic, Grace Dent, they'll explore the value of piloting comedy and how humour is regarded by audiences beyond these borders - including those Greg-loving Russians. Religious worlds collide in David Baddiel's new film The Infidel starring Omid Djalili. And a sneak preview from Ricky Gervais as he tackles a coming-of-age tale in his touching film, Cemetery Junction. All that and recommendations for comedy DVDs to complete your home library. Plus our brand new Joke of the Week slot.

This programme is for your listening pleasure so it would benefit me hugely to hear your suggestions, ideas, stories - and jokes. Lots of them. Blog me your favourite joke or email and I might just broadcast it to the nation and even give you credit for it. Not forgetting of course this is a lunchtime, family friendly arts and culture slot so nothing offensive, ie: racially, politically, sexually... Welcome to the challenging world of comedy production. Whoever said it'd be a barrel of laughs!?

Oh - and do check us out on Twitter. We've set up so spread the word.

Friday Comedy on Radio Scotland:
No Hard Feelings 1130-1200
Comedy Cafe 1315-1400
The Comedy Zone 0045-0600

The cast of No Hard Feelings The cast of No Hard Feelings

My Life In Five Songs

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 12:33 UK time, Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Phil Cunningham presents a new series where he discusses five songs with a musician each week.

Mike Walker Senior Producer in Inverness wrote a few words describing the new series.

If there's one thing every one of the guests in the new series of My Life in Five Songs agreed upon it was just how difficult it was to pick just five songs. 'It should have been fifty five' said broadcaster Iain Anderson while Pat Kane admitted it was a 'tough gig', but that's the challenge Phil Cunningham throws to his guests.

My Life in Five Songs guests

The new series starts on Thursday and first up is Hue and Cry's Pat Kane who sang along with some of the songs in the studio. 'It was a surreal experience' said Phil, ' I had Frank Sinatra in one ear and Pat in the other'. The Sinatra track was an important one for Pat. 'When I hear Frank Sinatra I hear my late father' he said and went on to tell Phil that his dad encouraged him to sing, but would sometime pull him up on his diction. In Kaite Sutherland's case (of Pearl and the Puppets) she reveals she was competing with her sisters for her fathers attention by trying to become his daughter of the week, while Iain Anderson has a moving story of how he's only here because of an extraordinary event at Gallipoli.

As one of the best known figures on the Scottish music scene Phil already knew all the guests but as he said himself, ' that didn't mean I was paying attention to their careers' so this was a great opportunity to meet some old pals, hear a bit about their life and be constantly surprised by their choice of music.

Thursday 8th April at 1130 - My Life in Five Songs - Pat Kane.
Thursday 15th April at 1130 - My Life in Five Songs - Kris Drever

Mike Walker is the Senior Producer of My Life in Five Songs.

It's Easter Weekend...

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Simone Byrne Simone Byrne | 08:04 UK time, Saturday, 3 April 2010

If you're taking advantage of this opportunity to do some spring cleaning remember to listen in to Radio Scotland regulars Janice Forsyth, Robbie Shepherd or Stuart and Tam and of course you can listen again to all your favourites in iPlayer.


Then again, if spring cleaning just isn't on your holiday agenda, but you're stuck for ideas of what to do then take a look at our BBC Local Easter guides below:

Edinburgh, Fife and East Scotland

Glasgow and West Scotland

Highlands and Islands

NE Scotland, Orkney and Shetland

South Scotland

Tayside and Central Scotland

Live Session on Another Country with Ricky Ross

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 19:38 UK time, Friday, 2 April 2010

Another Country Producer Richard Murdoch told me about a live session on tonight's show. I popped downstairs to the studio this evening to take a couple of photographs.

Ricky Ross with Sparrow and the Workshop

Ricky Ross with Sparrow and the Workshop

Richard Murdoch
We're really looking forward to Another Country tonight as we have our first ever live session. It's from a Glasgow based group called Sparrow In The Workshop and they're currently in Studio 1 rehearsing. Ricky cheekily asked if they could do a Loretta Lynn cover, which they've been working on for us. Hear the results tonight from 8pm on BBC Radio Scotland.

Richard Murdoch is the Producer of BBC Radio Scotland's Another Country with Ricky Ross.

Bad Weather - Out Of Doors

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 17:26 UK time, Friday, 2 April 2010

The Out of Doors team in Aberdeen have been in touch and reveal how people have been affected by the weather.

Photograph of a some lambs and a ewe.jpg

Read the rest of this entry

A-Z of Cliches and Jargon

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 15:00 UK time, Friday, 2 April 2010

While writing this blog and the Radio Scotland site one thing the three of us on the team try to do is to avoid the use of jargon and clichés when describing the programmes and presenters.

Of course sometimes they can creep up and have their way with you. In an effort to avoid these clunkers, since we launched the blog a couple of weeks ago I've been keeping a list.

Here's some of these scamps; if anyone would like to add their most-loathed words and phrases - any additions are most welcome.

  1. at the end of the day, absolutely, a safe pair of hands, all the trimmings, all-singing all-dancing, at the drop of a hat, anything can happen and probably will, all's well that ends well.
  2. blue sky thinking, brainstorm, beggars can't be choosers, blank canvas.
  3. cool, can of worms, carte blanche, cooked to perfection.
  4. downsizing, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, double whammy.
  5. egg on your face, end of the line.
  6. flag it up, flogging a dead horse.
  7. going forward (see also moving forward), gamut, getting your fingers burnt.
  8. heads up, hold the fort.
  9. it's not rocket science, it's a nightmare, in the loop, indulge yourself, in the clear.
  10. kick the bucket.
  11. literally, luxury, left in the lurch, lion's share, level best, look before you leap.
  12. mealy-mouthed, mojo, movers and shakers, mum's the word, mountain out of a molehill.
  13. neither here nor there, no brainer, nice, needle in a haystack, nose to the grindstone.
  14. on a daily basis, out of the box, out of the woods.
  15. pro-active, pushing the envelop, panacea, pigs might fly.
  16. rain check, raining cats and dogs, read the riot act, rule of thumb, Rome wasn't built in a day.
  17. singing from the same hymn sheet, sounds like a plan, scapegoat, sitting duck, skeleton in the closet.
  18. thinking outside the box, thought shower, throw me a bone, the buck stops here, two heads are better than one, treat yourself.
  19. up the ante.
  20. with all due respect, wipe the slate clean, when in Rome, whistle-stop.

Easter Weekend Weather

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Alan Braidwood Alan Braidwood | 12:30 UK time, Friday, 2 April 2010

The last few days have seen some dreadful - and tragic - events because of the return of the wintry weather. Why not have a look at the weather forecast and travel news for the holiday weekend?


The Radio Scotland cafes from 5 April 2010

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Carolyn Becket | 10:56 UK time, Thursday, 1 April 2010

The Café team are gearing up for the freshly launched versions of our lunchtime shows. Along with regular helpings of books and movies, we're adding culture and comedy to the menu - all with lashings of salt 'n sauce or even salt 'n vinegar depending on which side of the East/West divide you live! Or if you'd prefer the healthy option you can leaf through some literary highlights or settle down with some fat-free popcorn while you relish the latest film and DVD releases complete with a side dish of celebrities and directors.

OK so enough food references, but as this is a Café, our job is to entice you to try out some of the fabulous courses on offer. Luscious Clare English will be on the air each Monday serving up The Book Café talking about best sellers, new authors and different ways to read. On The Culture Café she'll be offering news about TV and radio shows, what's on in theatres, new exhibitions and sniffing the zeitgeist to discover new trends.

Piquant Janice Forsyth is Maitre D' for The Movie Café each Thursday with a chance to hear from the key players in the film world and suggestions on the latest DVDs.

She's back again each Friday with the new Comedy Café menu. Here's a sneak preview of what's coming up on the first edition - Greg McHugh tells Janice about being much in demand since the recent success of Gary: Tank Commander - so good even the Russians want him on their TV schedules! But he's making time especially for the first Comedy Cafe and we'll find out what he's been up to since his 'tour of duty'. Together with Guardian critic, Grace Dent, they'll explore the value of piloting comedy and how humour is regarded by audiences beyond these borders - including those Greg-loving Russians. Religious worlds collide in David Baddiel's new film The Infidel starring Omid Djalili. And Ricky Gervais tackles a coming-of-age tale in his touching film, Cemetery Junction. All that and recommendations for comedy DVDs to complete your home library. Plus our brand new Joke of the Week feature.

So do join us at 1.15 each weekday, or listen again on the iPlayer. You can even follow us on Twitter!

Carolyn Becket is the Senior Producer of The Book Cafe, The Culture Cafe, The Movie Cafe and The Comedy Cafe.

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