THE director of BBC Scotland says he “regrets” any confusion over its coverage of the First Minister’s daily coronavirus briefings.

Steve Carson said the broadcaster never intended to cease coverage of the briefings, but some members of the BBC audience had nevertheless formed that impression.

In September, the BBC indicated it would shift to providing televised coverage of the briefings based on “editorial merit”, while continuing to stream them online.

Following criticism, the broadcaster later confirmed it would continue to show them on live TV.

Carson appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s Culture Committee today as MSPs took evidence on the BBC’s annual report and accounts.

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In response to a question from SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing, he said: “I do regret, and I agree, that for a period of days people were incredibly confused as to what they thought the BBC were doing.”

He said the BBC had a legal obligation to due impartiality and the original decision intended to make clear that coverage of the briefings was not as a result of any “directive”.

Carson was asked about the voluntary redundancy process the corporation began earlier this year, and said around 77 staff are leaving BBC Scotland.

Committee convener Joan McAlpine said the BBC is losing “irreplaceable” cultural figures, mentioning journalists Brian Taylor, Gordon Brewer and Isobel Fraser, and asked what is being done to nurture their successors.

Carson paid tribute to the “very experienced, very distinguished and talented journalists” who are leaving the BBC.

He said there has been significant investment in journalism in recent years, citing journalists Martin Geissler, Rebecca Curran, Laura Miller, Laura Goodwin and James Cook.

He said the audience will nevertheless miss some of their “favourite familiar figures”.