BBC Scottish Advisory Council

From Scotland On Air
Jump to: navigation, search

Ran from 1947 until the end of 1952, after which it was superseded by the Broadcasting Council for Scotland. Its terms of reference were to "advise the BBC on matters affecting the regional programme policy".


The idea of regional advisory councils, which would give advice on all matters affecting the programme policy of each region, was proposed in the Labour Government's White Paper on broadcasting in 1946 and, in turn, written into the Charter as an obligation on the BBC.


When the BBC's General Advisory Council was reconstituted in 1947, the chairmen of all the Regional Advisory Councils became ex officio members. But when Sir Hector Hetherington intimated that he would be unable to attend many of these London meetings, the BBC Board of Governors accepted his recommendation that fellow Council member Dr J. R. Peddie be appointed as vice-chairman to do so.[1]

After Sir Hector Hetherington decided to stand-down as chairman, he was replaced from 1 January 1951 by Sir John Falconer. A former pupil of George Watson's College, Edinburgh and a graduate of Edinburgh University, Falconer had served for many years on the Town Council, and his period of office as Lord Provost saw the inauguration of the Edinburgh Festival, a venture which overcame its initial difficulties largely as a result of his vision and determination.[2]


There were also a number of ex officio members, invited to serve by virtue of their chairing of other relevant committees. So, for example, the chairman of the BBC's Scottish Area Council for Group Listening etc.

No. 3 of the Rules of Procedure stated that the period of service for each member would be balloted at the first meeting.

  • Sir Hector Hetherington, Glasgow (Chairman)
  • Mr Alistair Borthwick, journalist and broadcaster, Isle of Jura
  • Mr A. D. Buchanan Smith, Balerno, Midlothian
  • Miss Greta Collyns, youth leader, Edinburgh (1947 only)
  • Mr Alexander Duthie, shoemaker, Innerleithen, Peeblesshire (1947–1950). Was considered by Melville Dinwiddie to be not "a very good member".
  • Mr Robert Ellis, schoolmaster, Whitsome, Duns, Berwickshire (1947 only)
  • Mr Robert Hurd, architect, Edinburgh
  • Mrs Margaret Knight, professional psychologist, Bucksburn, Aberdeen
  • Mrs Gordon Macdonald, former journalist, Glasgow
  • Dr D. J. Macleod, retired inspector of schools, Inverness (1947–1950)
  • Mrs Emma Menzies, writer and broadcaster, Wishaw
  • Mr Charles Murdoch, Scottish Union of Bakers, Glasgow
  • The Earl of Selkirk, Prestwick
  • Dr James Welsh, former Lord Provost of Glasgow; chairman of the British Council and Arts Council in Scotland (1947–1950)
  • Sir Garnet Wilson, former Lord Provost of Dundee
  • Mr Douglas Young, well-known Scottish Nationalist, Dundee/Edinburgh (1947–1950)
  • Mrs Mary Young, housewife, Dundee (1947 only)
  • Tom Curr, Edinburgh
  • Dr J. Douglas H. Dickson
  • Dr Joseph Duncan, Udny, Aberdeenshire (*) (1947 only)

Ex-officio members

The chairmen of existing advisory committees connected with broadcasting also served on the Scottish Advisory Council:

  • The Very Rev. Prof. John Baillie, New College, Edinburgh; Chairman, Religious Advisory Council
  • Dr Joseph Duncan, Udny, Aberdeenshire; Chairman, Agricultural Advisory Committee (*)
  • Dr W. A. F. Hepburn, Director of Education, Lanarkshire; Chairman, Council for School Broadcasting
  • Dr J. R. Peddie, Edinburgh; Chairman, Scottish Area Council for Group Listening
  • Mr George E. Troup, Scottish Association of Boys' Clubs, Edinburgh; Chairman, Appeals Advisory Committee

(*) = A few weeks after the first meeting, Dr Joseph Duncan was replaced by Robert Howie, Kirkcaldy, as Chairman, Agricultural Advisory Committee and therefore became an ex-officio member. Dr Joseph Duncan continued thereafter as an ordinary member.

Members, 1951

  • Sir John I. Falconer, (Chairman)
  • Dr. J. R. Peddie (Vice-Chairman)
  • Arthur W. Blair, Bearsden, Dunbartonshire
  • John Ridley Brown, Newton-Stewart, Galloway
  • Mrs. Ian Dickson, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire
  • John Geddes, Elgin.
  • Mrs. E. H.Graham, Lockerbie
  • Adam Hunter, Kelty, Fife
  • R. D. Hunter, Cumnock, Ayrshire
  • Robert Hurd, Edinburgh (resigned at the end of 1951 due to professional commitments)
  • G. T. F. Lamond, Ballater, Aberdeenshire
  • Mrs. Winifred Macdonald, 23 Kingsmills Road, Inverness
  • Dr. J. A. MacLean, Inverness
  • John Nimlin, 413 Shieldhall Road, Glasgow
  • Miss Annie Russell, Dundee
  • The Earl of Selkirk, Prestwick Airport, Ayrshire
  • Mrs. Helen M. Taylor, Old Aberdeen
  • James Welsh, Glasgow
  • Sir Garnet Wilson, Dundee
  • Douglas Young, Tayport, Fife

Ex-officio members

  • Rev. Nevile Davidson, Glasgow; Chairman, Scottish Religious Advisory Committee
  • Dr. J. Douglas H. Dickson, Edinburgh; Chairman, Scottish Music Advisory Committee
  • Sir Alexander Gray, Edinburgh, Chairman, Scottish Council for School Broadcasting
  • Robert Howie, Kirkcaldy; Chairman, Scottish Agricultural Advisory Committee
  • G. P. Laidlaw, Paisley; Chairman, Scottish Appeals Advisory Committee


The Council held ordinary meetings three times a year; in the winter, spring, and autumn quarter. They were held alternately at Broadcasting House in Edinburgh and in Glasgow, always in the early afternoon, preceded by a lunch.

First meeting

The Committee first met at Broadcasting House, Edinburgh on Monday 27 January 1947 at 2.30pm.

Sir William Haley, Director-General of the BBC, welcomed the members and outlined the work of the Corporation.

Melville Dinwiddie, Scottish Director, gave a short statement on programme policy in Scotland, emphasising its freedom of selection, its aim at providing a balanced programme from every possible source, and recent developments. The Scottish Studios were working to capacity, and the emphasis, in future, would be on quality of performance and presentation.

Questions were asked by members on a number of points, including the Scottish News Service; supply and payment of artists; the development of rural talent; the scarcity of humorous scripts; the problems of provinciality; exchange of programmes with other countries; and the need for a studio centre in Dundee.

The Chairman raised the question of topics for discussion at future meetings, and it was decided that the Agenda would be compiled from items suggested by members of the BBC staff, and others sent in by members of the Council.[3]


  1. Minutes of Scottish Advisory Council meeting, 27 November 1947, BBC WAC R6/188.
  2. 'BBC appointments', Scotsman, 20 December 1950, 4.
  3. Scottish Advisory Council minutes, 27 Jan 1947, BBC WAC R6/188.