[Another rant - sorry.] STV's director of content Alan Clements has fessed up that dumping most of ITV's dramas from the Scottish broadcaster's schedule is all about money. He told industry trade paper Broadcast last week that shedding the likes of Lewis, The Bill and Doc Martin was saving STV £4.5 million. The company was cutting its cloth sensibly, making a profit while ITV posts losses.
Compare this to what STV said after refusing to show Lewis in March: "We plan to opt out of the ITV Network more frequently, taking control of our schedule and introducing more Scottish-produced programmes and acquired series that will hold wide appeal across the country. We will be rolling out more exciting stv programming initiatives in the next few months, which we hope you will enjoy."
Clements also admitted dropping The X Factor or Coronation Street was out of the question, while dumping factual shows saved too little money to be worthwhile. But not all of his reported statements hold water. According to Broadcast, Clements said: "We know what our audience likes - crime and football. We have to create a relevant and affordable and informative schedule for Scottish viewers."
If STV viewers are so fond of crime, why has the broadcaster dumped long-running police drama The Bill? Or murder mystery series like Lewis? Or favourite whodunnits like Marple? Or crime thrillers like The Fixer? If STV viewers like football, why does the broadcaster show so few lives matches? Pull the other one, STV, you're not fooling anybody with your feeble attempts at misdirection.
Here's the most telling comment in Clements' interview with Broadcast: "We have to create a relevant and affordable and informative schedule for Scottish viewers." One word stands out amongst all of that, doesn't it? AFFORDABLE. That's the real reason. Everything else is just window dressing, wrapping a kilt around content in a transparent attempt to please jingoistic numbskulls.
"What we are doing is good for us and good for Scotland," Clements reportedly said. Well, he's half right.