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Todays Press

Latest Episode: January 7th, 2015

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ONE of Scotland’s top folk musicians is boycotting a major music festival’s opening night concert in protest at BBC coverage of the independence referendum.Dick Gaughan was invited to play at the opening night of Celtic Connections at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on 15th January.

He now says he will not take part because he found BBC Scotland’s news coverage of the independence referendum “intolerable.”

The renowned singer, songwriter and composer was once hailed by radio presenter John Peel as “One of the 5 or 6 great voices of our time”.

Gaughan, from Leith, Edinburgh, said: “After the referendum last September, I made the decision that I would not cooperate any longer with BBC Scotland so long as the current regime remains in place.

“This was a personal decision due to what I perceived as the biased, selective and partisan nature of BBC Scotland’s news and current affairs coverage of the pre-referendum campaign, which I found to be quite intolerable.”

He added: “When I was invited to take part in the opening concert, I agreed provisionally on the condition that my contribution to it would be neither recorded nor transmitted by BBC Scotland.

“My refusal to work with BBC Scotland was a purely personal decision. I have the utmost respect for all those involved with Celtic Connections and on the artistic side of the production and regret that I will not be a part of it.”

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Gaughan’s 30-year career includes 15 solo albums, numerous collaborations and concerts and his songs have been recorded by artists including Billy Bragg, Christy Moore and Capercaillie.

He has also composed music for BBC films, appeared in BBC documentaries and in 2010 he was given a lifetime achievement award at BBC Radio 2’s annual folk awards ceremony.

The concert will feature around 80 musicians and singers, many of whom are key members of the folk scene in the UK and abroad. It is the opening night for Celtic Connections, and will kick off 18 days of events in Glasgow, including concerts,art exhibitions, talks, workshops and free events.

Dick Gaughan is still expected to play at another Celtic Connections concert on the 21st of January, with folk band Lynched.

Last year’s festival attracted over 110,000 visitors and ticket sales topped £1.15m.

A spokeswoman for Celtic Connections said: “We’re delighted that there will also be a TV audience. It is up to each individual artist what concerts they decide to take part in during the festival.”

A BBC Scotland spokesman said: “While it’s disappointing for our audiences that Dick Gaughan will not be performing, it promises to be a memorable occasion.

“We completely disagree with the criticism of our reporting of the Referendum.

“Over many months we dedicated significant resources to covering this historic story with fairness, accuracy and balance.”

Archives: Previous 'In the Scottish Press Today' episodes

Todays Press

Latest Episode: February 4th, 2011

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Quiet News

Latest Episode: January 2nd, 2015

A PET llama living on the windswept north east coast of Scotland has been declared the oldest in Britain.

Paddy the llama, who was 25 this year, has lived happily in a muddy field in Cullen, Morayshire since 1989.

His owner Helen Bream bought him after seeing an advert in their local chip shop when he was just a few months old.

 

But they were astonished after officials confirmed this week he is the oldest living llama in the UK.

 

Paddy is considered 100 years old in llama terms, as there are 4 llama years to every 1 human year.

 

 

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He lives in a field at the couple’s pet shop and boarding kennel business with a white pony called Thelwell. The unlikely pals have been together for most of their lives.

Vivienne Ives, registrar of the British Llama Society, confirmed last night:  “He’s the oldest llama that I know  of. It’s a rarity for them to get to that age.  Llamas go into the elderly category at age 12 – I don’t know why one would be the exception, maybe it’s genetics. “

 

 

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Helen, 66, said: “We don’t do anything really. I just feed him and brush him. I honestly don’t know

why he’s lived so long.

 

“He’s part of the family – he’s the same age as my youngest son. He’s just always been with us.

 

He’s only seen a vet once, when he was castrated.”

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Despite Paddy’s advanced age, he  lives outdoors and endures the harsh Scottish weather all

year round.

 

He eats an unenviable diet of alfalfa, grass and spiky gorse bushes harvested from around his pen.  His owners say he is shy and only spits occasionally, when the pony steals his food.

 

Although he is missing several teeth and suffers from arthritis, Paddy is in perfect health and has only seen a vet once in his life.

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Paddy is the star attraction for customers at the pet shop, but is wary of adults and only allows children to pet him.

 

Mrs Bream said: “He’s quite shy and reserved really. He lets children pat him, but he backs away from adults.

 

“We won’t be throwing him a birthday party, but he likes eating spiky things so he will probably get a holly branch to celebrate.”

 

Specialist llama vet Janet Nuttall, of Heathfield Vets in Heathfield, Sussex, said: “There is no doubt that a few individuals have exceptional life spans but late teens or early 20s is the upper age limit often quoted. A llama of 25 years old is roughly equivalent to a centenarian in human terms.”

 

Despite his status, Paddy’s title as the UK’s oldest llama could yet be challenged  – only half of an estimated 3,200 llamas living in the UK are registered.

 

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