Research Articles

Devolution in Policy and Practice: A Study of River City and BBC Scotland



After eight years of a devolved UK, broadcasting in Scotland remains the preserve of Westminster jurisdiction with the Scottish Executive reluctant to take part in any discussions on broadcasting policy or practice. An overview of recent cultural and creative policy reveals that it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the lack of devolved policy as the increasingly convergent nature of media and attempts to profit from the creative industries make it almost impossible to do so. Using River City as a case study, the article explores how policy and non- policy factors determine and shape the type of Scottish national media that BBC Scotland makes available, supports and sustains. The soap is explored as an example of how BBC policies in relation to devolution have influenced the output of BBC Scotland. The article reflects on the implications of the BBC’s move of several key genres to Salford and simultaneous move of BBC Scotland to Glasgow’s Pacific Quay.

Keywords: Creative Industries, Devolution, Policy, Public Service Broadcasting, River City, BBC Scotland

How to Cite: Hibberd, L. (2017) “Devolution in Policy and Practice: A Study of River City and BBC Scotland”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 4(3). doi: