BBC Scotland will break new ground during this year’s General Election, broadcasting live for the first time in its history from all the count centres that will declare the 59 constituency results in Scotland.
The broadcaster today announced it would be reporting live from the 32 count centres for its through-the-night results programmes and services on TV, radio and online as it released details of its ambitious plans to cover the General Election.
In addition to the election night specials from BBC Scotland’s centre in Glasgow presented by Glenn Campbell, Brian Taylor and Jackie Bird on BBC One Scotland and Isabel Fraser and Bill Whiteford on BBC Radio Scotland, the broadcaster will feature debates, breaking news and in-depth analysis and interviews throughout the campaign. Sarah Smith will feature prominently for the BBC One network results programme from Scotland.
There will be a UK-wide exit poll commissioned with ITV and Sky and the headlines from that poll and also the General Election results will be projected on to the exterior of BBC Scotland’s studios at Pacific Quay.
The extensive BBC Scotland coverage during the campaign includes a leaders’ debate on Wednesday 8 April, filmed in front of an audience in Aberdeen, and hosted by James Cook. The debate will feature the leaders in Scotland of the Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party and UKIP.
Four further debates on the major topics of the campaign will then be featured on Sunday Politics with Gordon Brewer and Scotland 2015 with Sarah Smith, with both programmes focussing on the big talking points throughout the campaign.
The broadcaster’s final leaders’ debate will again take place in front of an audience in Edinburgh on Sunday, 3 May. It will be hosted by Glenn Campbell and will feature the leaders in Scotland of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, and the Scottish National Party.
BBC Scotland will also commission a poll for broadcast on 7 April that will rank in order of importance the issues that people in Scotland say are the most significant in the General Election.
From 27 April the nation’s most-watched news programme, Reporting Scotland, will be extended to 60 minutes to bring reports and analysis.
Good Morning Scotland with Gary Robertson and Hayley Millar will go on the road for the campaign, hearing from local communities about the issues that matter to them, and interrogating politicians on their manifesto pledges. Kaye Adams, the John Beattie programme and Newsdrive will also scrutinise the politicians’ plans and keep listeners up-to-date with the latest election news.
Also on Radio Scotland, there will be six local debates, one each in Orkney, Shetland, the Highlands, the North East, the Borders and South West. And Gordon Brewer will host six Big Election Debates on radio during the campaign.
BBC Scotland’s Election 2015 website will be the go-to destination for statistics and constituency profiles as well as a comprehensive results service on election night from across Scotland and throughout the rest of the UK. The broadcaster’s online offering will feature a live news page, streaming reports and shareable video and audio clips for social media platforms.
Following the success of Generation 2014 in Scotland which gave young voters the opportunity to play a key role in the BBC’s coverage of the Referendum, a similar project is being rolled out across the UK. A group of 200 voters, aged 18-24, have been selected from across the UK for Generation 2015 to bring their views and questions to the fore across the BBC’s programming in the run-up to polling day.
John Boothman, BBC Scotland’s Head of News and Current Affairs, says: "All the signs are that this will be one of the most fascinating General Elections of recent times. We will cover this major political story for our audiences on all platforms with the best journalism and the highest levels of accuracy, objectivity and impartiality.
"Our news teams will be travelling the length and breadth of Scotland to break the big stories from the campaign, put the searching questions to the politicians and to hear what the voters have to say about the issues that count.
"For the first time we will be reporting live from all General Election results in Scotland where our journalists will interview the leading political figures and campaigners as the results roll in. Social media engagement was a significant element of last year’s Referendum and for the General Election we will be increasing the ways in which voters can access our coverage online with more shareable content such as video and audio clips.
"The General Election 2015 will be a major political story and BBC Scotland will put our audiences at the heart of it with a broad range of programming and other content that will give them the news, views and information to help them decide how they cast their votes on 7 May."