BBC Scotland and STV have unveiled multi-platform line-ups of content for this summer's soccer bonanza – the Euro 2020/21 Championships. As Scotland hasn't qualified for an international football tournament since 1998, our two Scottish-based broadcasting outlets are joining the Tartan Army by making the most of the championships.
BBC Scotland's head of commissioning, Louise Thornton, told Scottish Review
: 'After what has been such a challenging period for all, it's great to look forward to a major sporting event – but even better to have our own Scotland team competing. BBC Scotland is joining in the party atmosphere by bringing audiences a packed schedule of content to enjoy while we cheer on our boys and delight in their journey no matter how far it takes them'.
A BBC Scotland spokesperson told me: 'This extra content will accompany our usual comprehensive sports coverage as the Scottish team attempt to make it past the group stages. BBC Radio Scotland will be the home of the Euros as it lines-up a packed schedule of content. The Sportsound
team, led by Richard Gordon, will bring live commentary and analysis on every Scotland game plus the main match of the day throughout the competition while BBC Radio Scotland Euros Extra
will serve up a brand new football-themed breakfast show on 810MW and the BBC Sport Scotland website'.
From 11 June, The Full Scottish Football Breakfast
will be broadcast live each weekday morning on BBC Radio Scotland from BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay foyer. The hosts, Kenny Macintyre and Connie McLaughlin, will bring an informed but informal and fun look at the Euros – with special guests joining for chat and debate.
Throughout the competition, Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove will bring audiences a daily serving of Euros-themed Off the Ball
banter across all platforms and frequencies on BBC Radio Scotland, and there will be a humorous look at events with Euros specials from the Only an Excuse?
and Breaking the News
The BBC Scotland spokesperson added: 'On television, the BBC Scotland channel and BBC One Scotland will treat armchair fans to a host of content designed to make us laugh, cry and reminisce – all prerequisite emotions for being a Scotland fan'.
Across the regular news and sport programmes, Jane Lewis will be team camp reporter – bringing all the latest news from the tournament and updates from the Scotland camp. Steven Thompson will look ahead to the championships with a special Sportscene Euros Preview
programme (10 June BBC Scotland) and also host the Sportscene
highlights of two of Scotland matches – away to England and at home to Croatia. Scotland's opening game against the Czech Republic on Monday 14 June will be live on BBC One Scotland from 2pm.
Eilidh Barbour joins the BBC presenting team throughout the competition, with Shelley Kerr and James McFadden bringing comment and analysis on Scotland's Group D stage performance. When the dust has settled, there will be a look back on how Steve Clarke's Scotland team have performed in a Sportscene Euros Review
On the eve of the much-anticipated clash between Scotland and England at Wembley on Friday 18 June, a team of stars and football legends from north and south of the Border go head to head to settle the score once and for all. In The Ultimate Auld Enemy Showdown
(17 June), team captains Alan Rough and Chris Sutton lead their squads in a series of Group D-themed challenges before the grand finale – a Scotland versus England penalty shootout with a twist. Playing for Scotland will be Jackie McNamara, Pauline MacDonald, Grado and Archie Gemmill. For Team England, it's Anita Asante, Steve Hodge, Radzi Chinyanganya, and England's winning World Cup hero, Geoff Hurst.
Away with the Tartan Army: Scotland's Best Moments
(10 June, BBC Scotland) is a celebratory show which charts Scotland's top 10 international matches with a much broader means of selection beyond on-pitch performances and scorelines. A spokesperson explained: 'The matches can be terrible, the result awful but the journey amazing and filled with anecdotes that live long in the memory. With recollections and testimony from fans, this programme will capture the agony and ecstasy of what it is like to be part of the Tartan Army'.
A View from the Euros
(11-13 June, BBC Scotland) will take an alternative look at the biggest party of the summer with a three-episode special which will swing from the serious to the silly, from pre-tournament hopes and dreams to the moment Scotland hopefully shocks the world to lift the trophy. Host Craig Telfer and friends will get together to answer all the big questions and welcome the occasional special guest to join in the fun.
– the BBC Scotland's short-form comedy strand will aim to get the nation in the mood for the Euros with a host of regular new sketches which will feature across the social channels as well as a compilation special for BBC iPlayer and the BBC Scotland channel.
Des Clarke and his regular sidekick, Jim Smith, will host Breaking the News: Euros Special
for both the BBC Scotland channel and BBC Radio Scotland. Joined by guests, they will take a wry look at the news surrounding the championships – from the drama of the games to the return of the fans – not to mention Scotland's chances.
BBC Radio nan Gaidheal will be offering Gaelic commentary and analysis on the Scotland matches and a host of complementary programming in the build-up to each match. Scotland's campaign will be covered across the scheduled news programmes as well as on BBC ALBA's An La
and the regular Spòrscast
podcast on BBC Sounds. During the campaign, the history series – De nan robh?
– will get stuck into a seminal Scottish football moment and imagine where we would be now had things played out differently, and the children's show, Aileag
, will engage with the passion of an upcoming generation for the beautiful game.
STV unveiled its cross-platform line-up of content amid new research which shows one in five Scots (19%) are looking forward to watching the national team's Euro journey more than any other event this year.
As Steve Clarke's side takes on England at Wembley on Friday 18 June, STV Sport's Raman Bhardwaj will front live coverage from 7pm. Joining him to provide expert analysis and insight will be David Moyes, Kenny McLean and John Collins, while STV Sport's Sheelagh McLaren will be bringing all the latest developments from the pitchside, and Stefani Dailly will be reporting from the Euro fan zone in Glasgow Green.
Moyes and McLean will rejoin Bhardwaj and McLaren at Hampden Park from 7pm on Tuesday 22 June for coverage of Scotland's final group match against Croatia. Rory Hamilton and Kevin Gallacher will provide commentary for both games which will also be streamed live and available for catch-up on STV Player.
STV will air and stream an additional 21 matches throughout the tournament, including the final on Sunday 11 July. On STV Player, The Euros Daily Show
will feature every day from 12 June and dissect all the latest developments as the tournament progresses. Viewers can also recap the qualification journeys and ambitions of each competing nation in a new series – The Contenders: 2020
– which is available to stream now.
Live television coverage of Scotland's Group D matches is split between ITV and BBC. Highlights of the two Scotland games live on ITV will be shown on BBC Scotland's Sportscene
programmes. Scotland's two matches at Hampden sees 12,000 fans allowed to attend despite the COVID-19 strictures. The Euro fan zone at Glasgow Green could evidently host up to 6,000 soccer aficionados and might prove a crowd control headache for Police Scotland.
Key TV dates:
Monday 14 June, 2pm: Scotland v Czech Republic, BBC One
Friday 18 June, 8pm: England v Scotland, ITV/STV
Tuesday 22 June, 8pm: Croatia v Scotland, ITV4/STV
Scotland's troubled exam body, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), has swiftly appointed John Booth as its new director of communications as its future comes under fresh scrutiny. Booth, currently Scottish Enterprise's director of corporate affairs, will be on a salary between £81,000 and £90,000.
The SQA says this is a critical time in its affairs and explained: 'The appointment of a director of communications will provide strategic leadership of our engagement with learners, parents, teachers and our many other stakeholders. The independent review of last year's qualifications experience recommended steps be taken to strengthen the SQA's communications and we are delighted to have appointed someone of such a high calibre, with over 20 years' experience'.
Six weekly newspapers in Angus published by JPIMedia (now owned by National World) have been amalgamated and relaunched as a 64-page county-wide title named Angus County Press
. The new title has been created from the merger of the Arbroath Herald
, Brechin Advertiser
, Carnoustie Guide and Gazette
, Forfar Dispatch
, Kirriemuir Herald
and the Montrose Review
The editor of the new title is Mark Dowie, 50, who began his journalistic career on the Montrose Review
. After a spell as a reporter in The Press and Journal's
(P&J ) Angus branch office, he returned to the Montrose Review
– subsequently moving to the Forfar Dispatch
as deputy editor.
Each of the mastheads of the six titles will still appear above the Angus County Press
masthead on the front page. Each area served by the former titles will have its own section in the new paper. As well as Dowie, other team members involved in the launch included sports editor, Darin Hutson, JPIMedia's head of Scottish weeklies, Morag Kuc, and the company's Scottish weeklies special projects editor, John MacInnes.
JPIMedia points out that the new title has a 'new design, much higher story count than the previous titles, more sport than before, new columnists and lifestyle content, and some returning favourites'.
Writing in the final issue of the Arbroath Herald
, Dowie told readers: 'We are taking the best content from our weekly titles across the county and adding some great new elements to bring you the best news and sport coverage from coast to glen – all in one place. Our new newspaper will be much, much bigger than the paper you hold in your hands today. It will include all the news and views you have come to expect from your town's newspaper, plus much more from across the region.
'The Angus County Press
may be a new newspaper but it is a name with a long history in the region. We have been part of people's lives in Angus for generations... but we haven't stood still. We have changed with the times and strongly believe we can offer readers what they need and want today, and in the future. The Angus County Press
will be a strong voice for the community – speaking up for those who don't have a voice or struggle to be heard. We are proud to have been able to keep you informed and entertained for generations and hope you will join us on this latest chapter of our journey.'
The Montrose Review
, first published in 1811, is Scotland's second-oldest weekly newspaper. The Arbroath Herald
has been published since 1838 while the Brechin Advertiser
, originally the Brechin Advertiser and Angus and Mearns Intelligencer
, first appeared in 1848. The Forfar Dispatch
and Local Advertiser
dates back to 1884. The Carnoustie Guide and Gazette
was first published as the Broughty Ferry Guide and Advertiser
in 1889. It took the name Broughty Ferry Guide and Carnoustie Gazette, Monifieth Advertiser
, in 1931. The first edition of the Kirriemuir Herald
, Strathmore Advertiser and Kirriemuir Dispatch
was printed in 1949.
One of my longtime friends in the media business – Zoe Ogilvie, the Aberdeen-based director of the Big Partnership PR and marketing agency – is to become the first female board member in Aberdeen FC's 118-year history. She will be a non-executive director. Football is in Zoe's family's DNA, with husband Bill involved at Cove Rangers FC, while daughter Francesca – a Scotland under-19 international, plays for Aberdeen FC Women's team in SWPL 2.
Zoe told me: 'It will be an honour to serve a club which is a vital part of the region's socio-economic fabric and is cherished by so many people. Having worked with the club on various projects for many years, I have gained invaluable experience of its operations and the dedicated people who work there. I'm thrilled to join the board but do not underestimate the challenges we face nor the responsibility that comes with the role'.
Ogilvie has been 30 years in the PR business including an initial eight years stint as public affairs manager of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce. She sits on the board of governors of Robert Gordon University and the board of directors of Aberdeen Inspired.
The club's flamboyant chairman, Dave Cormack, who has made his fortune in IT in the USA, said: 'Zoe is incredibly well-connected and brings significant credibility across both the public and private sectors. She has been instrumental in setting and delivering our communications strategy in the last 18 months and has played a pivotal role in successful club and our Community Trust campaigns. She is committed to helping drive and successfully deliver our fan and corporate engagement programmes; being a welcoming host on match days; and an active ambassador for the club in the wider community'.
Gordon Sutter, whom early in his journalistic career spent a spell on the reporting staff of
P&J, and most recently was group editor of the Southern Daily Echo
and Bournemouth Daily Echo
, is retiring after 36 years in the industry. He became Southern Daily Echo
editor in 2017 following the departure of Ian Murray who went on to run the Society of Editors until he resigned earlier this year.
Newsquest's editorial director, Toby Granville, said: 'I'd like to thank Gordon who has steered the ship superbly through very challenging times'.