New breed of Scottish television to flood STV

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By Oliver Farrimond

THE NEW head of content at STV has vowed to make the channel even more Scottish.

TV chief Alan Clements, who is married to Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark, said that he wants STV to be “the heart of Scotland”.

Clements’ masterplan features a flood of new Scottish programmes, including a rundown of the 30 greatest Scots of all time.

English shows from ITV are set to be replaced with Scottish-themed comedy, lifestyle and travel programmes, with special emphasis placed on breeding a new wave of Scottish TV stars.

Clements said: “I can be accused of many things but being insufficiently Scottish is not one of them.

“For us it’s about being branded a Scottish channel rather than being the ITV branch in Scotland – we are determined to serve our viewers better with programmes to entertain, educate and inform.”

The proposed schedule sees STV moving further away from ITV and working more closely with channels such as Paramount Comedy and National Geographic to bring a new generation of programming to Scottish televisions.

Clement was headhunted by STV from an independent production company IWC earlier this year, and joined the team following a lengthy legal battle to free the TV guru from his “golden handshake” contract.

STV recorded a loss of £24 million last year, and bosses are said to be keen to continue 2008’s radical re-organisation in a bid to bolster ratings and secure profits.

Tom Woodward, chief executive of STV, said: “Alan is one of the UK’s most respected programme makers and we are delighted that he has joined the team.

“Content is key to STV’s success in the future and Alan’s role will have a major impact on our content output.”

New shows slated for 2009’s schedules include Pride of Place, where viewers name their top 30 Scots of all time, and Scotland Revealed, a landscape documentary shot in high definition.

Clements added that he was looking to make programmes that suited Scottish audiences better than the current crop of STV shows.

He said: “Al Murray: Pub Landlord doesn’t work up here because it’s a show about a cockney wideboy.

“If you put out genuinely Scottish content instead you’re providing a service to the Scottish public.

“I want STV to be part of the heart of Scotland – the broadcaster of choice for the people of Scotland.

“That would be really exciting.”