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Newsweek Scotland: Keep Calm and Carry On

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 16:17 UK time, Friday, 20 January 2012

Let's start this week with the future of Newsweek. In essence there isn't one. The BBC has announced that Newsweek will come to an end soon after more than 30 years on air to be replaced by Good Morning Scotland. And there is talk of another hour-long news programme at some time on a Saturday. You may have heard some of this in the Parliament on Thursday. Further detail have I none. In the meantime we must Keep Calm and Carry On.

We have some interesting stuff fixed already...we hear from one of the Canadian experts in the Gould Report on the Scottish elections about how we should run the referendum and he thinks there should be external monitoring to give people confidence but his big thing is to remember that it is the people not what he calls the stake holders whose interests must be protected. On a second question his view is constant. It is up to the people to decide that.

We hear about the hidden issue in the rowing between Edinburgh and London and that's... what happens to the English regions? While we focus on Scotland, people north of the Wash are it seems getting hacked off at the constant benefits going either to us or to the south east and there is much disgruntlement about the way they are being run. A journalist chum of mine Peter Hetherington who works in Manchester a lot and lives on Tyneside gives us the lowdown on It's Grim Up North.

We have a political debate covering the Scottish Army, the referendum and Ed Miliband. Did you really understand his message about not reversing Tory cuts and not raising low paid wages? Mr Salmond was straight on to it at FMQs with his jibe that Labour are now shoulder to shoulder with the Tories on the two big issues of the day - the referendum and the economy. Do you suppose Ed called Johann beforehand and got her approval?

We're in India - well lucky Douglas Fraser is - and we hear from Italy where we look at the other uplifting side to the Cruise liner disaster. The captain may or may not have jumped ship but there was commendable courage from other Italians whose sense of duty rose to the occasion and in at least one case, cost a man his life.

We're definitely on air tomorrow at 8. Join me then.


  • Comment number 1.

    So, no chance of an Eleventh hour reprieve then.

    What nonsense.

    What a waste of talent.

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes Derek, we shall keep calm! However we may have a few choice words for the hierarchy! Tomorrows programme sounds a cracker. Keep up the good work wherever you are.

  • Comment number 3.

    Thats bad news about the programme Derek - probably the best current affairs programme on BBC Scotland. It's you that should be replacing GMS.

    Anyway, on the subject of the North, I hope you take the opportunity to dispel the Scots 'subsidy junky' myth and aim it at the true 'subsidy junkies' - London and the South east - who receive more funding and infrastructure spend than any other region, yet have seen their balance sheet crippled over the last few years as city profits have flatlined.

    Remember Derek, we send more revenue south than we receive back. Plus we get charged for sending our electricity south (helping subsidise the southern energy companies), plus we have to pay for the Olympics, the M25, the Dome, Crossrail, HS2 (if we aren't independent) and of course the BBC. £250m sent south - £80m or so sent back to BBC Scotland. 70% of programming from London (they should actually only be making 20% of programmes, the rest being made in the regions.

    Oh I could go on, but my mention of the Beeb will probably see this post modded out.

  • Comment number 4.


    Was the hat good? :)

  • Comment number 5.


    Very sorry indeed to see Newsweek's demise confirmed.

    A victim of your success? The programme is clearly much enjoyed by many, but not your bosses.

    Says it all about some in BBC Scotland.

  • Comment number 6.

    Derek, I am so sorry to hear this news. How can they justify ditching such a classy programme as Newsweek yet still keep the bland mince that is Shereen on a Sunday morning? I really do despair. I hope you wont be away for long. all the best for the future

  • Comment number 7.

    Hope that they don't grind you and the NewsWeek team down!
    The BBC are probably talking about commissioning an external provider.
    I'm sure it would suit if Brian Wilson took over a political round-up!
    He'd be singing in tune with that other esteemed political journalist Andrew Neil.
    You really couldn't make this lot up!
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 8.

    Very sorry to hear that, one of the few (and I mean very few) radio programmes worth listening to is being axed. I wonder why as there are other's both on Radio and TV in Scotland that would deserve a drastic change. I found Newsweek very refreshing change from the BBC's usual 'output'. Hopefully its not the last we hear from you. There is a better world outside BBCLand. Perhaps you will be free to write articles for certain popular online news magazines - you probably know which ones

  • Comment number 9.

    Good morning Derek et al. I've just listened to your excellent programme and I'm still trying to find a reason for this programme being axed. Is it that it is intelligent, well presented, analytical and informative, with a degree of humour? I know, it's for all of these reasons, there's no place at the BBC for these qualities.
    Perhaps the blustering, bullying style of some other journalists, notably on Newsnight Scotland, is more to the taste of current listeners although judging by the comments above this is not the case. I couldn't agree more with what has been said by the previous contributors, particularly Edward2010.
    Very best wishes for the future.

  • Comment number 10.

    An excellent programme today Derek. I endorse comments above from Edward2010 and Margaret Brogan.
    Newsweek has been a 'jewel in the crown' for Scottish current affairs broadcasting. How could such an excellent long-standing programme be so little valued? The axe-wielders can wring there hands and intone about necessary cuts but I can't help but feel the political situation exercising Scotland at the moment is making the BBC increasingly uncomfortable with intelligent, open and fearless discussion.

  • Comment number 11.

    I was totally shocked to hear the news about Newsweek Scotland being axed, and I echo all the previous comments. This is an excellent programme presented by a first class broadcaster. I'm sure many of us listeners missed Derek when he left GMS but were delighted when he took over at Newsweek. Whilst we all accept the need to make cost savings, why axe a programme that is so successful and is enjoyed by so many listeners. I don't listen to Scotland at 10 as I usually watch Newsnight Scotland, and can probably accept why that programme is being axed. I listen to GMS, Newsdrive, and Newsweek Scotland all the time and feel that I, and others like me, are entitled to have their opinions heard. I have just submitted an online complaint regarding the axing of Newsweek and would urge other like minded listeners to do the same.
    If Newsweek is to be axed I don't see why Derek Bateman cannot become the presenter of the new Saturday GMS, and the ethos of the existing programme maintained. Why don't we all try and make our voices heard whilst keeping calm!

  • Comment number 12.

    Like green_boy55, I have also submitted a formal online complaint. How much good it will do I don't know, but I'm not giving up without a fight.

    If they still don't change their minds, then thank you Derek & team for some excellent shows and discussions. Well worth getting out of bed for.

    I still maintain they should have made the show available as a podcast though...

    Thanks again & good luck for the future

  • Comment number 13.

    I am absolutely devasted that Newsweek Scotland is going. It is the only programme on either tv or radio that I look forward to every week. The content is always excellent and Derek is the by farand away the best commentator and presenter of couurent/political affairs today. Unlike Gary Robertson he doesnt bully his guests or Shereen who cant say a sentence without saying em/err or eh in between. His rapport with guests is great and his sense of humour is matched only by Ken Mcdonald another presenter we dont get hear enough of. Am I being too cynical in thinking that B.B.C. is getting rid of this great programme just as we are needing people like Derek who are meaningfully and intelligently tackling the question of Independence?

  • Comment number 14.

    The bewilderment to which I referred in my last posting on the 19th has given way to anger that BBC Scotland bosses can choose to remove this valuable and informative source of debate from the airways. Scotland is entering a crucial period in its history when free, open and informed debate will help all its citizens to come to a decision on our country’s future. Newsweek Scotland stimulates debate and broadens the listener’s experience, and in so doing meets the needs of the Scottish listener.
    Surely the axing of this programme can’t be for reasons of financial austerity.
    What then is the thinking behind this decision?
    Many people perceive an unpleasant whiff in the BBC airways.

  • Comment number 15.

    i would concur with most of the comments above it is indeed a sad day when BBC Scotland are that worried about a programme on a Saturday morning that they shut it down ! you can smell the fear wafting out of pathetic quay and there is still 2 years to go . will the airwaves be silent by the time the referendum comes round??
    PS if push comes to shove I can think of a couple of places that would gladly appreciate your journalistic skills Derek.

  • Comment number 16.

    Derek, I always enjoyed your show and it will be a pity to lose such high quality discussion. I trust we are not going to have to listen to repeats of other shows, or to stories on skateboarding dugs and other trivia.

    Next time you question a politician on the referendum, could you try this angle:-
    The treaty of union did not give the Parliament of Great Britain any authority to alter the treaty. The treaty is a treaty in international law. It can be readily argued that Westminster therefore has no legal authority to run a referendum on its own existence. This must be referred back to the two contracting parties, ie, representatives of Scotland (Parliament of Scotland?) and of England (to be advised).

  • Comment number 17.

    I cannot comprehend how BBC NB can scrap a quality, even-handed, informative programme and keep the Sunday rubbish. Listened to your polite demolition of Lord Wallace today, first class political journalism. Do we know who made this idiotic decision and on what basis.

  • Comment number 18.

    Newsweek is without a doubt the radio programme I most look forward to in the week. It is the perfect start to Saturday and the weekend. And I can't praise highly enough the skills and style of Derek Bateman, a first-class broadcaster who could teach the GMS and Newsdrive team more than just a thing or two - such as how to engage, inform and respect their listeners. (Are you listening Gary Robertson and Hayley Millar? And don't get me started on Kaye With An "E"!)

    I think greenboy55's idea of Derek presenting the new Saturday GMS would be great for listeners - but Derek may have moved on in his career and not want to take this on. And, of course, there is the suspicion that the BBC Scotland policy in this area is simply to get Mr. Bateman off the air. At any cost.

    You're a pleasure to listen to, Derek. Thanks for your analysis and intelligent comment - and the best of luck!

  • Comment number 19.

    Only recently discovered the show. Now it is being axed. Hopefully just a sad coincidence! :-(

    Seriously, what is going wrong within BBC Scotland at the moment!?!?

  • Comment number 20.

    This once revered and respected organisation has no credibilty left and must be devolved now.

  • Comment number 21.

    The best show on BBC Radio Scotland's current affairs output to be scrapped? Really?

  • Comment number 22.

    It is with great regret that I hear of the demise of Newsweek. The last bastion of unbiased broadcasting in BBC Scotland is to bite the dust. It simply confirms what many think about BBC Scotland and those that are in charge there.

    I hope you find a new challenge where your skills as a broadcaster and real journalist can be used to their best. I wish you all the best in the future and thanks for a balanced viewpoint.

    There are a bunch of small minded people at BBC Scotland who believe their spin and propaganda will assist their cause against an independent Scotland. It will not, and they will find themselves on a very sticky wicket come the day. I hope their masters will recognise their loyalty to a lost cause, because the people of Scotland won't.

    Hell mend them all.

  • Comment number 23.

    It is very heartening to see further comments from listeners on hearing the news of the proposed axing of Newsweek Scotland. I would very respectfully ask anyone that has not already done so to submit an online complaint regarding the matter.

    When I consider the various programmes on Radio Scotland I can think of a number that should be axed before Newsweek Scotland. For example why do we need to broadcast a live show weeknights from 12 midnight until 5.30am? What justifies this cost and what are the listening figures? Whilst I have every respect for John Beattie, why do we need to pay him to present a lunchtime news programme Mon-Thur 12 noon until 1.15 pm when Bill Whiteford and Mhairi Stuart were already doing an excellent job? We all understand the need to make cost savings in the current climate, but why start with such a successful and much appreciated programme as Newsweek? I would like the opportunity to speak with Mr McQuarrie to discuss these and other thoughts.

    As loyal listeners of Newsweek Scotland should we not be trying to form a 'Hands Off Newsweek Scotland' group that would make the strength of our feelings known to the BBC Scotland Senior Management? I don't know how feasible this would be but surely we should try and make a stand? I personally will try and do what little I can but we would carry more weight as group. I'm sure that there must be many listeners that are still not aware of what is proposed and will like us be shocked!

  • Comment number 24.

    Save Newsweek Scotland Facebook campaign launched:

    Spread the word.

    Perhaps Derek can mention it in his show!

  • Comment number 25.

    Margo McDonald MSP has called for the show to be saved. There is cross party support in the Scottish Parliament for her campaign.

    BBC Scotland may have gone one step too far this time!!!


  • Comment number 26.

    This is just one more step in the dumbing-down of the media. Lord Reith will be spinning in his grave.

  • Comment number 27.

    missing you already, well almost - tis a sad day for public service broadcasting

    Derek there is a big world out there and your talents surely will not be absent for long. As others have said I can think of several outletsthat could benefit from your experience, and I'm sure you can too.

  • Comment number 28.

    This is a disgraceful, short-sighted, appalling move by the powers that be, words are failing.

  • Comment number 29.

    For the first time in my life I came on to comment only to find it has all already been said.

    Newsweek Scotland - best current affairs broadcast.
    Derek Bateman - best broadcaster.
    Decision to cancel - appalling.

    Here's hoping that it's a double bluff by the BBC and that Newsweek is actually performing a reverse takeover of GMS with Derek at the helm. It's been awful since he left.

  • Comment number 30.

    I feel that it is sadly typical of the state of matters at BBC Scotland, that the best, most impartial, and interesting current affairs show on radio Scotland is being axed. I have listened to Newsweek most Saturdays for nearly ten years. It's a great programme, and Derek Batemen is a great broadcaster. And they're going to replace it with the drivel that is GMS? Please. If they were going to axe something they should have axed that awful Sheeren woman.

  • Comment number 31.

    This is the most enjoyable programme of the week. Why take off the best political discussion programme just when we need it most? I suspect shenanigans! Seriously, we get Good Morning Scotland every day of the week, so why do we lose a programme with expert analysis and an extremely competent presenter? How much saving can there be and why isn't it taken from some other programme which doesn't require the exercise of the little grey cells? This sucks!

  • Comment number 32.

    Shocked and dismayed by this news, Newsweek was the only decent programme left. Very short sighted by the powers that be. I certainly wont be listening to more more of GMS.
    Derek, words fail me!

  • Comment number 33.

    What an outrageous proposal to drop this programme. We need more of this, not less. Surely this isn't about money. When you try to shut down avenues of debate, the result is that debate is shut down, and is the poorer for it.
    I pay a licence fee, and am a massive fan of Radio Scotland, and it's current affairs programmes, but this one is the best. Don't think that I will move to Radio four for digest and analysis just because of this. If there have to be any cuts, let's start with Robert Peston, who would never provide a succinct analysis in his life if a silly medical or meteorological or biological metaphor is to hand. How much do his lunches and dinners in the city cost?

  • Comment number 34.

    Forgive me if this is off topic but i am frustrated that i can't find an alternative!!!
    I am trying, unsuccessfully, to find a link that would allow me to send a message to the BBC Scotland News staff.

    I have feedback on a story covered in tonights Scottish News, both Radio and TV! but no portal exists!!
    I find the innaccessibility of the news team inexplicable! I would have expected them to be interested in some kind of portal to their viewers!!
    please pass the following to them;

    FAO Reporting Scotland Editor
    BBC Scotland News
    Today I watched with interest the news story from Millburn Academy, Inverness who had recruited two Inverness Caley Thistle footballers to assist in the coaching of pupils in French.
    Surely the real news issue here is the absense of modern language assistants- a consequence of education cuts!!
    This is lazy journalism!

  • Comment number 35.

    Is there any truth to the story going round that a BBC Scotland editor aimed a whole heap of vitriolic abuse at Alex Salmond, when he was making his announcement on a Scottish referendum at Edinburgh Castle, in front of other BBC Scotland colleagues and nothing was said or done about it?

    Is that the norm at Pacific Quay

  • Comment number 36.

    What a shame BBC Scotland. There are few thought provoking news programmes worth listening to, so to lose Newsweek depresses me. If Newsdrive was less a join-the-dots-news programme and more open and analytical like Newsweek or Eddie Mair's PM, I'd listen regularly. Please reconsider.

  • Comment number 37.

    Phone the beeb ask for a written reply to your complaint, at least we can bug them


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