THE former head of radio for the BBC in Scotland has accused “smug” corporation bosses of showing “a complete lack of interest in the cultural scene in Scotland”.

Speaking to The National, Jeff Zycinski said “that the version of Scotland” that appeared on the BBC was one “that had been approved by a commissioner in London”.

He called for the money devolved north of the Border to be tripled “to allow the commissioning of more high-quality content such as drama and scripted comedy.”

Between 2005 and 2018 Zycinski’s job involved commissioning and scheduling programmes for BBC Radio Scotland. He was also responsible for the production teams working for BBC Network Radio based in Scotland.

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He said the job would often involve going to pitching meetings at Broadcasting House in London where there would “be a smug commissioner at a table festooned with fruit and pastries, showing a complete lack of interest in the cultural scene in Scotland.”

Zycinski added: “You only have to listen to Front Row on Radio 4 to understand their outlook on the world. I think the producers there think their annual trip to the Edinburgh Festivals covers Scotland for the year.”

The veteran corporation man made the comments after Boris Johnson said he was thinking about scrapping the licence fee.

Asked during a question and answer session in Sunderland if he would get rid of the £154-a-year charge, the Prime Minister said: “At this stage we are not planning to get rid of all licence fees, though I am certainly looking at it.”

He added: “But you have to ask yourself whether that kind of approach to funding a TV media organisation still makes sense in the long term given the way other media organisations manage to fund themselves.”

Any changes to the BBC’s funding model requires new legislation to go through parliament.

Zycinski said that what usually stops any plans to abolish the licence fee is that “no-one can come up with a better method of funding the BBC short of block funding out of general taxation.”

He said that would often lead to the corporation trying to show the government that “it is making savings, or earning more money from selling programmes abroad.”

Those savings, he added, would come through “salami slicing a percentage from everyone’s budgets” including an already stretched BBC Scotland.

Zycinski also urged politicians to let the BBC make changes that would “actually save them real money”.

This he argued could come closing down some small local production bases in places like Selkirk and investing more in production facilities in cities like Dundee.

A spokesman for the BBC said: “As Jeff acknowledges there has been significant investment with the launch of BBC Scotland which continues to benefit the wider production sector.

“It is part of the biggest content investment by the BBC in Scotland in a generation, worth £40 million a year. Our aim was to offer a wide range of compelling programmes made largely, but not exclusively, in Scotland and targeting very firmly audiences here in Scotland.

“We also created an additional 80 jobs in our newsroom to enhance our news and current affairs offer and recruited more than 150 new staff to develop technology of the future such as voice recognition.”