In May 2010 BBC Scotland began to broadcast a four part series called The Scheme. The programme followed six families on the Onthank Estate in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire and pulled in hundreds of Thousands of viewers for the first two parts of the series.
On 28 May 2010 I published on this very blog a critical look at the Television programme. Having watched it on BBC iPlayer to see what all the fuss was about I took the step of contacting Strathclyde Police in an attempt to discover whether any criminal investigations had been launched following its broadcast. This decision came from the confessions made by some of the shows “stars” to what were serious criminal offences. We saw people helping others out of the house who were wanted by the police with the police downstairs and we heard a confession from a mother about how they had provided a false alibi to the police, we saw an assault take place on National television and these are just a few examples of the offences broadcast on national television.
At the time I felt, and still do feel, it was an irresponsible decision taken by BBC Scotland to not only film such a programme, but to then broadcast it. Aside from the potential criminal implications there were scenes of an individual preparing what appeared to be (and was presented as) heroin. This was shown as pure entertainment, and in my view, did not adequately represent the significant and very real dangers of heroin usage. I felt that it was a waste of licence payers’ money and should not have been commissioned.
Episode 3 and 4 of series one have yet to be broadcast for legal reasons, but the BBC still appear hopeful that they will be able to broadcast these episodes in the near future. In my round-up of 2010 I suggested that the delay may be a permanent one, but it appears that it probably will not.
It was to my despair this morning that I read on The Scotsman website (having had it brought to my attention on Twitter by @EccyThumperoo) that the BBC were in the early stages of filming and producing a second series of the programme.
At the time some people around me suggested that maybe Shameless (on Channel 4) is also irresponsible. While the events of Shameless are somewhat a true representation of some housing estates in the United Kingdom it is entirely fictional. It is not broadcasting real people committing what appear to be real criminal offences and is written in such a way that it is quite clear that the events are fictional. The Scheme is entirely different in that respect, it cannot be suggested to be fictional as it is “real life”, the alleged offences being committed are not scripted and being carried out by actors playing a part, but by real people based on their own decisions, choices and free will. The two programmes cannot really be compared.
I am entirely opposed to not only a second series of the programme, but the first series being broadcast again, in full or in part.