Television and cinema in Scotland are taking off. And the BBC says it’s ready to help – Angus Robertson MSP


Amazon original drama Good Omens stars Adria Arjona, David Tennant and Michael Sheen (Photo: Jeff Spicer / Getty Images)

Amazon original drama Good Omens stars Adria Arjona, David Tennant and Michael Sheen (Photo: Jeff Spicer / Getty Images)

Now, however, there are signs that screen production is really taking off here and there are unprecedented opportunities.

Not only has it just been announced that the second series of the worldwide hit TV series Good Omens will be filming in Scotland, but paid internships are available for those keen to be part of the film and television industry.

No previous experience is required, but if you are from Scotland you can apply for a range of positions where a wide range of skills and knowledge can be acquired. The deadline to apply is this Friday, July 9, so there is no time to waste.

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In a BBC Studios and Amazon Studios ad, internships are offered as: production intern, prop store intern, costume intern, location intern, camera intern, AD intern, makeup intern, intern in gripping, continuity trainee and video assistance trainee.

Filming is scheduled to begin on October 18 with production based in Bathgate and other filming locations in the Central Belt. The odds don’t present themselves like that very often, but there is reason to believe that screen production in Scotland is really starting to take off.

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Things have improved in recent years with the opening of film-making facilities and the increasing pace of television and film productions. Since the hit series Outlander started filming in Cumbernauld, there has been a breakthrough with the opening of studios in Leith and plans for new facilities inside Glasgow’s historic Kelvin Hall.

More and more streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney + and Apple TV + are ordering billions of pounds of content worldwide and joining domestic producers BBC and STV in what appears to be a tipping point for the production of ‘screens.

For the first time, Scotland has established a range of film studios and a growing support sector for film making. This ties in with a long Scottish tradition of producing quality actors, filmmakers and writers who have often had to relocate elsewhere to find work.

At present, an impressive range of productions are underway. Martin Compston stars in The Rig, currently filmed at Leith’s First Stage Studios directed by Jason Connery, after completing the underwater drama Trident The Vigil for the BBC.

Other recent productions include the filming of new Star Wars and Indiana Jones productions, a new Ken Loach movie, a new Princess Switch movie for Netflix and others.

There is now reason to hope that we can have a growing and sustainable display industry continuously producing on a large scale for the domestic and international market.

For this to be successful we need more engagement from our traditional broadcasters, especially the BBC which continues to spend less in Scotland than it receives from the TV license fee.

I discussed this last week with BBC Managing Director Tim Davie, who has said he is keen to support the growth of television and film in Scotland. Hopefully that includes maintaining and improving decision making here as well, including at BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay in Glasgow.

The future of television and film production in Scotland looks bright if we can sustain its growth.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and the Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture

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