THE BBC says it would consider rescreening a controversial drama showing the Scottish independence campaign turning violent which has been locked away for 50 years.

The drama series Scotch on the Rocks, shown in 1973, depicted the Scottish Liberation Army taking over the town of Fort William, including battles on the streets. 

It was based on a novel co-written by Douglas Hurd, who would go on to become Margaret Thatcher’s home secretary.

But it caused a storm of controversy after being screened as a five-part series at a time when the SNP’s Winnie Ewing had secured a surprise win in the Hamilton 1967 by-election and the party was doing well in the polls, while British troops were on the streets in Northern Ireland.

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After transmission, the BBC's Programmes Complaints Commission (PCC) upheld a complaint from the SNP, agreeing the use of the party's name and logo in the drama - which depicts the SNP leadership failing to condemn the Scottish Liberation Army's actions -  created a risk that viewers would be left with the impression the real SNP was involved in violence.

The programme was never screened again. 

However now the BBC has said it is “not impossible” it would consider showing it again – and appealed for help in tracking down two missing episodes.

Luke McCullough, BBC Scotland's head of corporate affairs, said: "Scotch on the Rocks was an iconic piece of TV drama made here in Scotland, but was never repeated following its original transmission due to the complaint being upheld about a key plot point in the first episode.

"With the passage of time, it's not impossible that the BBC could consider showing it again, with careful handling of material covered by the historic complaint - but with two of the five episodes currently missing from the BBC archive, a repeat remains unlikely.

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"If anyone still retains a copy of the missing two episodes, the BBC archive would be very happy to hear from them."

SNP president Michael Russell, who watched the series in 1973, said he would “love” to see it.

The National:

He told the BBC: "What it did do was to wake up the idea that there was something happening in Scotland that was to do with Scotland as a nation."

"People were writing fiction about the nation and quite a lot of people like me would think that this was really interesting. There's something here that we haven't thought about.

"When I look back on it I think what happened was it raised the consciousness in a curious way.”

He added: "I would love to see it again. I suspect it is rather dated. I suspect the production values have dated but it is a historical curiosity.”