HQ switch key task for new BBC Scotland chief

The main task facing the BBC’s new controller for Scotland will be the £50m move to new headquarters at Pacific Quay in Glasgow.

Ken MacQuarrie, head of programmes since 2000, was this week named as the successor to John McCormick, who last month announced he would be retiring in April.

A Gaelic speaker, MacQuarrie joined the BBC as a researcher in 1975 and produced award-winning Gaelic programmes and introduced daily Gaelic programmes for children.

In 1992 he became head of Gaelic and head of BBC Scotland’s features and children’s departments, rising to head of broadcast, responsible for all Scottish output, in 1996. Most recently he was responsible for the production and commissioning of all BBC output broadcast within Scotland across television, radio and online.

MacQuarrie said BBC Scotland had enjoyed “enormous success and expansion” under McCormick, adding it was a “privilege to follow him and lead the organisation through what is certain to be a period of radical change in broadcasting”.

McCormick, controller since 1992, was at the heart of the controversy with the Scottish Executive over the BBC’s refusal to hand over to the Fraser Inquiry the “Holyrood Tapes” – gathered during the making of a documentary on the building of the Scottish Parliament. The inquiry is looking at why building costs soared from £30m to £400m.

MacQuarrie will also oversee the planned move to Pacific Quay, by mid2007, and redefine the service for the 2006 BBC Charter.

“I’m determined that BBC Scotland should continue to be in the driving seat through this change as we move into Pacific Quay and beyond – delivering the very best programmes and services for all our audiences in all parts of Scotland and to the wider UK,” he said.

By Wale Azeez

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