Frequently Asked Questions

The answers to our most common queries.

Why does BBC Scotland sometimes opt out from network programming?

BBC Scotland is entrusted with producing and broadcasting programmes which are particularly relevant to the distinctive culture of Scotland. As there are a limited number of hours per week available to us to do this, some productions will, inevitably, be lost in order to balance Scottish scheduling priorities.

Any variations from network transmissions are made with the knowledge and agreement of the schedule planners on BBC ONE and BBC TWO. Where possible, our planners reschedule any network programmes lost as close to the original transmission as they can, this can be the same night but later in the day or a few days later. On a very small number of occasions it may even be a few weeks.

Why did you cancel or move a programme?

We have to react to news or changes to live sporting coverage. We only do so occasionally and apologise for the disruption. If we must move or postpone a programme we inform you as soon as possible with on-air announcements, digital text or online.

Why are there Gaelic programmes on BBC Scotland instead of English language programming?

A sizeable minority of Scots speak Gaelic and in relative terms receive few television programmes in that language. BBC Scotland has a commitment to public service broadcasting in a national and international context and its governing body, the Broadcasting Council for Scotland, believes that as part of that commitment the BBC in Scotland must take a lead in Gaelic broadcasting.

With the limited number of hours available to us for this output it is inevitable that, in balancing Scottish scheduling priorities, some Network programmes will be dropped or rescheduled, although we strive to maintain as full a schedule in Scotland as possible.

Why do some programmes not have subtitles?

BBC subtitles provide a transcript of the TV soundtrack, helping deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers to follow programmes. They have been available since the early 1980s.

No other UK broadcaster matches the proportion of programmes subtitled by the BBC. It is committed to subtitling 100% of BBC TV programmes by 2008.

Over 80% of BBC One and Two are already subtitled, and 50% of BBC Three, Four, CBBC, CBeebies and BBC News 24. The BBC is also developing a signing system which could display optional sign-language services on digital TV.

What's the best way to get information on improving my TV and radio reception?

Please call 03700 100 123, email or visit the BBC Reception website.

How can I get my play broadcast on Radio Scotland?

BBC Scotland Radio Drama produces plays, serials, readings and short stories for audiences across the UK. Working with writers in Scotland and beyond, the department's output is both original and international. Based in Glasgow, the department has established a strong track record in producing powerful and challenging drama for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 3.

We are always pleased to receive and consider radio plays from new and established writers. All scripts are read within the Department and, where appropriate, feedback is given. Plays should be written specifically for Radio. We do not read screenplays and will only read stage plays if accompanied by a detailed note from the writer on how they would make the play work on radio. Full details.

When is Children in Need?

Children in Need is usually the last Friday in November.

How do I get tickets to be part of the studio audience for a show?

The best way to find out about obtaining tickets for programme recordings is to look out for and listen out for announcements on TV and radio. You can also check our BBC Shows, Tours and Live Events website.

How do I contact the newsroom?

How do I get a transcript or recording of a programme?

Our copyright agreements only allow broadcasts; duplication and distribution of programme tapes has to be negotiated as a separate commercial agreement. We therefore regret we can only provide recordings if they're commercially available.

In some circumstances Information & Archives may be able to supply clips/copies of BBC Scotland programmes. Please make your request in writing to:BBC Scotland, Information & Archives, 40 Pacific Quay, Glasgow, G51 1DA

There are no viewing facilities available.

To purchase BBC programmes and other material visit the BBC online shop.

TV and radio programmes are usually available online for seven days after transmission.

Why is that children's programming doesn't always match Scottish school holidays?

We and all broadcasters have trouble gearing children's programmes to the wide variety of different term times around the country. Clearly we cannot plan a timetable which will suit everyone, so each year we do a detailed survey to discover when the majority of children are taking their holidays. This covers England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

When the survey is finished we choose those two weeks at Christmas, two at Easter, and eight weeks in the summer which will be the most common throughout the United Kingdom. If your holidays fall outside those periods we do apologise, but we cannot please everyone!

Why are there Party Political Broadcasts?

To achieve comprehensive coverage during an election campaign, UK broadcasters must ensure that political parties currently represented at Westminster and all parties contesting more than 50 seats are allowed at least one Party Election Broadcast on television and radio. The BBC has no editorial control over the content of Party Election Broadcasts.

However, we are responsible in so far as that we act as a publisher – broadcasts must observe the law and must follow the accepted standards on matters such as taste and decency. The BBC and independent television companies have outlined proposals for changes to the arrangements of broadcasting Party Political Broadcasts. To assist with the review they set in place a consultation paper, designed to invite feedback from viewers, listeners and the political parties.

How can I get a photograph of a personality?

We can supply some photographs of our news presenters and various personalities from programmes. Please write to us at BBC Information, PO Box 1922, Glasgow, G2 3WT, call us on 03700 100 222 or e-mail us with your address at

We do issue some specialist pictures to the media (newspapers and magazines) to help publicise programmes with previews, reviews and features, but they are not licensed for general distribution. One month after the programme has been transmitted, photographs are transferred for archiving and may then be licensed for commercial exploitation.

How can I request a personal appearance by an artist?

If you want an artist or personality to attend an event you need to contact the artist's agent or personal representative - we do not arrange such appearances unless of course they form part of our own promotional activities.

The Actors' directory "SPOTLIGHT" is a useful source of information - As well as listing actors and actresses it contains details of their agents or representatives. Your local reference library should have a copy, and in the case of a recording artist you should contact the recording company and ask for the 'A&R' department.

How can I become a presenter?

Many people wish to become television presenters and unfortunately there is no straightforward advice available. Most (although not all) of our television presenters have had previous experience in radio or in journalism, either at local or national level. Others now appearing on national television have started in regional television or working for one of the independent television companies. Many do not start out as presenters, but in other jobs for the company concerned before moving into presentation.

Presentation is a very difficult field to break into but it might be worth making some enquiries about job opportunities with local radio stations in your area. There is no particular journal which gives details of auditions for new presenters, but if any of the television companies are looking for a fresh face in connection with a particular programme it is often given some publicity in the press.

How do you decide what music to play on radio?

BBC radio producers have access to the many new records issued each week. Their decisions about what to include in programmes are based solely on merit and programme value, with the aim of building a programme of maximum interest for the radio audience. It is not part of their function to promote or restrict the interests of any particular artist. In practice, programmes normally include a proportion of new records, and of new artists, each week.

How do I apply for a job within BBC Scotland?

All BBC vacancies are advertised on the BBC Jobs website.

How can I arrange work experience with BBC Scotland?

How to arrange work experience with BBC Scotland 

How can I get information for a school/college/university project?

Most media students have either personal or study access to the Internet and the About the BBC pages offer much information about the BBC; its history; the BBC's Charter and Agreement; the BBC's Annual Statement of Promises; Governing Today's BBC; Producers' Guidelines and the Annual Report. This is the quickest and best way in which you can research what you need, and for us to answer the most common questions put to us and make information available.

The BBC is not an online public (or commercial) information research service and as a public broadcaster we must put reasonable limits on the amount of licence-payers' money we devote to researching requests for information! We hope you will use these extensive online pages to find the information you need.

Any good reference library has more information.

How do I make a complaint about BBC Scotland?

If you would like to make a complaint, please do so via the BBC Complaints website.