On Friday I had the pleasure of viewing the documentary inspired by my book. Also called ‘London Calling’ the seventy minute film captured for me the essence of the BBC’s coverage of the independence referendum.
The film was originally scheduled for completion in June this year, but as with most major projects there were issues that led to delays. Then there was the decision of what to include, what to leave out and whether certain ideas would work.
The result is a documentary film that draws you in and takes you back to the heady days of the campaign. You relive some of the key moments as presented by the BBC. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. Laughter is followed by anger at the BBC, then pride at the camaraderie that was Yes.
Contributions from academics, writers, broadcasters and activists from Scotland, England, Catalonia and the USA lend the film weight. And this is a film. Clever special effects married to a sound track that oozes melodrama ensure that this documentary is not just another series of talking heads.
But the key measure of success is whether it presents a compelling case against the BBC. And boy does it. This film takes some of the worst examples of the BBC’s highly questionable coverage of indyref1, and fires them right back at the corporation blowing a hole in its reputation.
Independence supporters need no convincing of course when it comes to the BBC, but this documentary will give soft no voters and undecided voters pause for thought when it comes to trust in the corporation. Believe me, this film hits back hard at a BBC already under pressure north of the border over its news and current affairs shortcomings. It also comes at a time the BBC is now coming under scrutiny south of the border over its treatment of Jeremy Corbyn.
The completion of the documentary doesn’t of course mean the work is done. What it brings are another set of challenges, chiefly how best to promote the film and get people to see it.
Arrangements for a Premiere are already underway. There are pledges to people who generously donated to the appeal which provided funding for the documentary film. Other screenings will follow.
It has been decided not to upload it to Vimeo and Youtube immediately but rather to make it available for specially arranged screenings. This documentary really has to be seen on a larger than usual viewing screen with a decent quality sound system in order to be fully appreciated.
There is already huge goodwill being shown towards the documentary production team by people keen to help promote the film. Some grassroots groups have already expressed an interest in screening the documentary at specially arranged events. These screenings will be key in promoting the film and increasing interest. The hope is that the documentary establishes itself of a part of the indyref2 campaign with activists bringing family and friends along to view it.
The documentary is structured in such a way as to make it a very interesting experience for those who aren’t normally fully engaged in politics or even aware that the media continually manipulates news. When these people leave the event, they’ll leave with eyes that were once closed, now at least beginning to open.
Normally it is the BBC who point the cameras at us. This time it is we who are pointing the cameras at the BBC.
The BBC acts with impunity in Scotland. It answers not to our parliament and certainly not to the Scottish public who pay for it. It does what it wants to do and will do so again when indyref2 is eventually called.
With this documentary the little guys finally have an opportunity to hit back. It’s our time to give the broadcasting mouthpiece of the bloody Noes a bloody nose.