Closing scene for Holyrood film row

By Hamish Mackay

The long stand-off between Lord Fraser and BBC Scotland and independent production company IWC Media has finally ended.

Although Lord Fraser announced last week he was seeking new legal
powers to force IWC Media (formerly Wark Clements) to hand over 400
hours of untransmitted footage shot for BBC Scotland’s controversial
documentary series on the new Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, he has
now settled for the unbroadcast interviews with the Holyrood architect
Enric Mirlles and the late First Minister, Donald Dewar.

Lord
Fraser, who chaired the public inquiry into why the £431m building at
Holyrood was ten times over budget and more than three years late in
completion, has now formally closed his investigation – seven months
after giving his verdict.

He said there was nothing in the two
interviews to alter his conclusions or recommendation, and he was
therefore closing the inquiry.

Lord Fraser said it was “not
wholly satisfactory” that he had not been given access to all the
untransmitted footage but added that he did not want to pursue the
matter further.

The fly-on-the wall documentary series – The
Gathering Place – which had almost £1m of public funding, was shown in
a four-part series on BBC 2 Scotland last month. A 90-minute cinema
version is now being made.

IWC Media said it would not release
all the untransmitted footage because it “would fly in the face of
every journalistic convention”.

The company argued that it did
not want to release the entire footage because it would not be
appropriate “journalistically” to hand over any untransmitted material
because the offcuts and hours of interviews were the equivalent of
“reporters’ notes” and should not be seen by anyone without a court
order.

However, it confirmed there would be a press screening of all interview footage involving Dewar and Miralles.

A
spokesman added: “The full, unedited interviews will be available as
soon as the 90-minute cinema film edit of The Gathering Place has been
completed.

“But people should not hold their breath for any new revelations.”

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