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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 14:51 GMT
Broadcasting 'highly centralised'
BBC television studio
The SNP has called for devolved broadcasting powers
The head of the independent broadcasting commission has said BBC and ITV bosses were wrong to suggest a lack of talent in Scotland.

Blair Jenkins said the real problem was the highly centralised nature of the broadcasting industry in London.

His comments came under questioning by MSPs on the role of the commission, set up by First Minister Alex Salmond.

Mr Jenkins also said that the label of a "Scottish Six" news programme had now become unhelpful.

He was asked by Holyrood's culture committee about reported comments by Sir Michael Grade and Mark Thomson that the reason so few network programmes were commissioned from Scotland was the lack of talent.

I personally feel that the label 'Scottish Six' is no longer a helpful label
Blair Jenkins
Scottish Broadcasting Commission

"I felt they were wrong," said the former BBC Scotland head of news, adding: "They would probably feel the way they were reported was slightly harsh. They perhaps didn't say it quite as starkly."

Broadcasting and programme commissioning, Mr Jenkins also told MSPs, had become a "highly centralised activity" with a concentration in London.

"If nothing else, it is just more convenient to commission from the guy in the corner than the guy in Aberdeen," he said.

Mr Jenkins also told MSPs that there were strong views on the delivery of network news in Scotland, adding: "I personally feel that the label 'Scottish Six' is no longer a helpful label because I think it became a totemic label on which people took quite entrenched positions and are probably unlikely to budge from the entrenched position."

He said he would remain open-minded, but went on: "People are always going to disagree on this issue and it almost looks classically like one of these issues that might be best resolved by providing people with a choice."

Scotland's SNP administration wants powers over broadcasting to be devolved to Holyrood, but the UK Government has warned it would be a retrograde step.

A month after the announcement on the commission's formation, BBC director general Mr Thompson promised that spend north of the border would rise to at least 9%.

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