Glasgow & West Scotland

BBC Scotland television producer Brian Barr dies

Brian Barr
Image caption Mr Barr produced a controversial report about a spy satellite

Former BBC Scotland journalist and filmmaker Brian Barr has died, aged 70.

He began his career as a newspaper reporter going on to produce and direct factual programmes for both the BBC and Channel 4 during the 1980s and 90s.

In his later years he divided his time between his home on the Isle of Bute and London.

Mr Barr's death came after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Pat, his son from his first marriage, Colin, and two grandchildren.

His BBC career started with a reporter role on the current affairs series Current Account in 1973 and he later worked for Panorama and Brass Tacks.

Zircon affair

He is best-known for his role as series producer of the controversial Secret Society investigative series.

In 1986 - in what became known as the Zircon affair - Mr Barr produced an episode that revealed that £500m of unauthorised military intelligence spending on a Zircon spy satellite had been concealed from parliament.

Officers from Special Branch raided BBC Scotland headquarters in Queen Margaret Drive and seized filmed material. The Zircon affair was one of a number of controversies regarded as influential in the sacking of Alasdair Milne as BBC director general in 1987.

Former BBC Scotland executive, Colin Cameron, worked with Brian Barr in the 1970s and has remained a lifelong friend.

Mr Cameron said: "Brian was a first-class journalist who developed into a fine film-maker.

"He was someone whose take on the world I always hugely respected and I will miss him dearly."