BBC documentary tackles Scottish independence referendum bias claims

A BBC journalist has questioned the attitudes of some colleagues in London regarding Scottish independence in a documentary about the 2014 referendum.

In the programme to be aired on the BBC on Tuesday, veteran broadcaster Allan Little said that some colleagues thought “that our responsibility was to produce a series of pieces to demonstrate how foolish it would be to vote Yes”.

Mr Little, who had worked for the BBC for more than 30 years at the time of the referendum, told the programme: “I know how hard my colleagues in London work at trying to get it right.

“I’m not cynical about that but I was quite surprised by some of my colleagues failing to understand their own assumption that the Yes side was wrong.”

BBC HQ in GLasgow
Police outside BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay as Yes campaigners demonstrated in 2014 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The BBC faced allegations of bias in the run-up to the referendum which was held in September 2014.

Just days before the vote, which the No campaign won 55% to 45%, as many as 1,000 Yes supporters gathered outside BBC Scotland’s headquarters at Pacific Quay in Glasgow to protest over the broadcaster’s coverage of the referendum, claiming it was biased against independence.

The Yes/No: Inside The Indyref programme, to be shown on the BBC Scotland channel on Tuesday, looks at the final days of the campaign.

Ken MacQuarrie, who was the director of BBC Scotland at the time, said in the documentary: “People were doing a professional job as far as was possible in every situation that they came across.”

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