The Week in Scotland

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The Week in Scotland was a round-up of news events in Scotland, broadcast on Saturday nights on the Scottish Regional Programme from 1933 to 1939. With a duration of 15 or 20 minutes, it was presented by a stable of working journalists who took it in turns to present a month's worth of programmes at a time. They variously presented from the Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen studios so as to give different regional perspectives of the news. Regarded as the most popular form of talk programme at the time, the programme was said to be of particular interest to people living in the distant islands who lacked the same opportunities as people on the mainland of keeping in close touch with Scottish affairs.[1]

Air dates

The programme first aired on Saturday 6 January 1933 from 9.15—10.00 pm and continued every Saturday until 27 May. Following a summer break, it restarted from 23 September 1933. During its first year George Blake was the regular presenter.

From January 1934, the programme was presented by stable of working journalists on rotation, each doing a month's worth of programmes at a time.

The programme was rested for seven months from the end of March 1937, during which time a short five-minute news bulletin was broadcast on Saturday nights.[2]


George Blake was a well-known journalist and novelist who was described by the Radio Times as being "the first to attain success in this rather difficult broadcast, and our correspondence files show that he was eagerly listened to by Scots as far south as Cornwall and Devon". He was said to have "a remarkable power of graphic description".[3] He presented from the Glasgow studio throughout September, November 1934; February, May, August, November 1935; January, April 1936.

Philip A. Stalker presented from the Edinburgh studio throughout January 1934. The Radio Times said he "has been a journalist for eleven years and has lived in Edinburgh for nine. As a naval correspondent he has gone to sea with the Fleet on some half-dozen occasions or more. He has contributed several articles to Punch and has written, without pretence to knowledge, on a wide variety of subjects. He has also written occasional verse, but, as he says, never in sufficient quantities to constitute a danger to the peace of mind of real poets.[4]

Alexander Keith was assistant editor of the Aberdeen Press and Journal and very well known in the North-East of Scotland, both as a popular broadcaster on the subject of gardening, and as a writer and student of ballads and ballad music. He edited the largest collection of Scottish ballads ever made. He also studied many questions connected with Scottish history and literature, and published two books of essays on these subjects. Keith was familiar to listeners from talks on ballads and customs, and other Scottish subjects, and as the compiler of some of the Scots Nights. Several years prior he made a notable contribution to Scottish music by selecting and editing from the vast collection of ballads and tunes collected by the late Gavin Greig. He was also well known as an essayist and book reviewer.[5]

William Law, who presented from the Glasgow studio, was on the editorial staff of the Glasgow Herald and later became assistant editor of The Bulletin. Before the War he served his time to engineering. During the War, he served with the Cameron Highlanders and the RAF, then took a trip round the world with, as he said, the object of mending the body and improving the mind.[6]

P. A. Grimley presented from the Glasgow studio throughout April 1934. Mr. Grimley, who was born in Wishaw and was for a few years a school teacher in Lanarkshire, had roamed the country from Plymouth to the Orkney Isles in search of stories. About a year ago he wrote a series of articles on life in the Hebrides, and ever since he has been roving the country writing articles on places and folk in all parts of Scotland.[7]

George Rowntree Harvey presented from the Edinburgh and Aberdeen studio throughout May 1934.

Frank Moran presented from Aberdeen in January, April, July, October, December 1935. Moran was Golf Editor of the Scotsman and its special representative at all big golf events. He had broadcast on many other occasions, however, in other capacities, notably as chairman of the Optimists Golf Club Smoking Concerts and as the opponent of Mr Will Y. Darling in the 'I want to abolish Motor Cars' discussion.[8]

John R. Allan was one of the few contributors to Scottish programmes who lived in a castle. Glendevon Castle in Perthshire once belonged to William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas, known as "Bell The Cat". Before moving to Glendevon, Allan was on the staff of the Glasgow Herald, but he decided to 'retire', to use his own word, at the unusually early age of 25 — although he continued to be as busy as he had been in regular employment. He had a strong interest in agriculture and country life generally and was best-known as author of Farmer's Boy, a book described was "one of the most delightful and most penetrating studies of life in the North-East of Scotland". He was an honours graduate in English at Aberdeen University.[9]

A.D. Mackie, March 1936.

Colin Milne was another well-known Glasgow journalist, working on the editorial staff of the Glasgow Evening Citizen. He had published a number of short stories and was well-known for his dramatic criticism.[10]

Ian Wilson was a well-known journalist in Glasgow who had many years of broadcasting experience having taken part in various radio features. His main passion was for the outdoor life and many listeners heard him talking about the week-end out-of-doors during the summer months of 1938. His first opportunity of reviewing the week's Scottish news came in June 1938.[11]


No known recordings of The Week in Scotland survive in the BBC archives.


  1. The Week in Scotland, listings for 26 March 1938, Radio Times, Issue 755, 18 March 1938 (BBC Genome).
  2. 'Scottish News Bulletins', SR.Ex. to News Ex., HO. 11 March 1937, BBC WAC R28/228.
  3. The Week in Scotland, listings for 1 September 1934, Radio Times, Issue 569, 24 August 1934 (BBC Genome).
  4. The Week in Scotland, listings for 13 January 1934, Radio Times, Issue 536, 5 January 1934 (BBC Genome).
  5. Mr Alexander Keith: The Week in Scotland, listings for 10 February 1934, Radio Times, Issue 540, 2 February 1934 (BBC Genome).
  6. Mr William Law: The Week in Scotland, listings for 3 March 1934, Radio Times, Issue 543, 23 February 1934 (BBC Genome).
  7. The Week in Scotland, listings for 7 April 1934, Radio Times, Issue 548, 30 March 1934 (BBC Genome); The Week in Scotland, listings for 24 December 1937, Radio Times, Issue 742, 17 December 1937 (BBC Genome).
  8. The Week in Scotland, listings for 5 January 1935, Radio Times, Issue 587, 28 December 1934 (BBC Genome).
  9. The Week in Scotland, listings for 7 September 1935, Radio Times, Issue 622, 30 August 1935 (BBC Genome); The Week in Scotland, listings for 9 April 1938, Radio Times, Issue 757, 1 April 1938 (BBC Genome).
  10. The Week in Scotland, listings for 4 December 1937, Radio Times, Issue 739, 26 November 1937 (BBC Genome).
  11. The Week in Scotland, listings for 11 June 1937, Radio Times, Issue 766, 3 June 1938 (BBC Genome); The Week in Scotland, listings for 5 November 1938, Radio Times, Issue 787, 28 October 1938 (BBC Genome)