The New BBC Scotland Channel is Scheduled to Start Broadcasting in February 2019 – Hayley Valentine – A Tied and Tested BBC Unionist Grasshopper Is Taking Charge of Output – Like it or Lump It Auntie Beeb Doesn’t Give A Toss About Scottish Feelings




Hayley Valentine



Hayley Jane Valentine – A few Personal Details

Family: Part of the Valentine’s Book Binding family of Falkirk. Born in Glenrothes in 1971 the youngest of three children.

Schooling: Attended Auchtermuchty High School and Edinburgh University – Degree in Journalism

Career: Started her career in Journalism working in Dundee then transferred her skills to commercial radio in Edinburgh.

Progressed to producing television programming with Scottish Television then moved on to work for BBC Scotland.

She was soon on the move again transferring to BBC London taking up a post editing Breakfast TV.

She then set her sights at working on radio and was rewarded with the appointment to the post of Head of News for BBC Radio 5 Live.

Public service employment must be catching since other Valentines also work(ed) for the BBC in various capacities.

Family: Married Andrew Christopher Masters (works in finance) in 2003.

They have 2 children, (both at private school) and live in Edinburgh.




Mentorn Television Production Surfaces in Scotland in 2002

Not long after Scottish devolution, following a sustained storm of protest from Scottish viewers and politicians the BBC agreed to transfer a significant amount of television programming to Scotland vastly increasing Scottish content satisfying complaints.

Implementation of the change was to be achieved without disrupting staffing and or operational routine in London and the BBC contracted the Tinopolis Group, an international media producer and distributor to produce television programmes in Scotland.

A subsidiary company, Mentorn set up its Glasgow office in 2002.

From that time the production and development base in Scotland has produced hundreds of hour’s original Scottish content. Namely:

Robot Wars.
Question Time.
Traffic Cops.
The Big Questions.
Cowboy Trap.
Hotel of Mum and Dad.
A Dirty Business.

So the BBC is buying in programming not producing it, Scottish content is not to be seen. What a con.




10 Mar 2011: Question Time On the Move

More rank stupidity at the BBC is emerging from the decision to  move Question Time to Glasgow.

The salary of the new editor, Nicolai Gentchev, now in the employment of Mentorn Glasgow, is to be paid through a transfer of funds from BBC News in London to BBC Scotland, Glasgow. Then on to Menthorn.

Profits on the contract will be transferred back to Mentorn, London, then onto the parent company Tinopolis in Wales.

Hayley Valentine, promoted to the new post of Executive editor will monitor the performance of Nicolai for the BBC a role previously undertaken by London-based Gavin Allen, who, will probably retain his current role at BBC Millbank, as “Head of Political News”.

Hayley is therefore filling a totally new highly paid Executive additional unfunded post which will not present a problem for Atholl Duncan, Head of News and Current Affairs in Scotland. The whole thing is a bloody nonsense.




11 Mar 2011: BBC Question Time Changes Are Under Attack

Nicolai Gentchev, who is to take the helm of BBC One’s flagship political programme in the summer when the production team makes its controversial move from Westminster to Glasgow, has written for International Socialism Journal and Socialist Review.

Gentchev wrote an article in the International Socialism Journal in 1995 entitled “The Myth of Welfare Dependency”. writing: “Even capitalism’s supporters do not see an end to mass unemployment and low wages… all they offer is to make living on welfare so unbearable that even more people are forced off benefits and into conditions which were common… before the creation of the welfare state. While we fight to make sure such plans never become reality, we have to get rid of the system which has brought us to this point.”

The website of the International Socialism Journal says that it is associated with the Socialist Workers’ Party. The website continues: “The International Socialist Tendency unites revolutionary organisations around the world on the basis of workers’ power [and] revolution not reform.”

Gentchev wrote for Socialist Review as late as 2003, when he reviewed the book Labour Party Plc by David Osler.

Philip Davies MP, a Conservative member of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: “This probably comes as little surprise, but it is a further indication of left-wing bias at the BBC. We can expect more of the same from Question Time – audiences that are hostile to the government, left-wing panels and a left-wing agenda being pushed.”

Gentchev joined the BBC in 2006, and became a senior producer on Radio 4’s Today programme in 2008.

During his time on Today, Gentchev produced a special series from Russia with Bridget Kendall looking at how the country had changed under Putin and in November 2009 travelled with reporter Andrew Hosken to Pakistan to produce a series of reports during the South Waziristan offensive.

He currently lives in Glasgow, where he is on secondment as the editor of Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

Question Time’s move to Glasgow has been openly criticised by its presenter, David Dimbleby, who has insisted that weekly editorial meetings continue to take place in London.

The programme has seen the resignation of its current editor, Ed Havard, over the move, despite Mr Havard being very highly regarded by Mr Dimbleby.

The BBC also announced that Hayley Valentine, who was head of news at Radio 5 Live until last summer, will be Question Time’s new executive editor.

A BBC insider said: “No disrespect to Nicolai, who was very well regarded on the Today programme, but this is a big promotion for him. It would be interesting to know whether other candidates on higher pay grades turned the job down because it would involve moving to Scotland.”

A BBC spokesman said: “Nicolai joined the BBC in 2006 long after these pieces were published and it is nonsense to suggest they have any bearing on his impartiality.”

BBC Director of News Helen Boaden said: “Question Time has an outstanding new team to lead it. Nicolai and Hayley have a great depth of experience in the political institutions across the UK. They will ensure that one of the BBC’s most important programmes goes from strength to strength.” (The Telegraph)




17 May 2012: Mentorn Media retains Question Time contract

Question Time producer Mentorn Media has controversially  retained the contract to make flagship BBC1 current affairs programme for another three years.

London-based independent producer Mentorn, a subsidiary of Tinopolis, has made Question Time since 1998.

David Dimbleby will continue to host the show from venues around the country when the new production contract begins in September.

Question Time last year switched production from London to Glasgow, with Mentorn Scotland picking up the contract.

Nicolai Gentchev will continue as Question Time editor, with Hayley Valentine as executive editor for BBC Scotland.




14th June 2013: Question time More Pantomime Than Serious Debate

Balanced and informative media is vital for a good democracy.

The BBC’s decision to invite controversial politicians to participate in a Question Time panel in Edinburgh overlooking two of Scotland’s elected parties was greeted with astonishment across social media yesterday.

The Electoral Reform Society Scotland (ERSS) was particularly concerned that the decision badly failed the invited audience of 16 and 17 year olds.

How the media behave in the run up to the independence referendum in 2014 will be paramount in informing the debate and making that clear now will, we hope, ensure fair and thorough media coverage as we approach the poll.

Message to the BBC:

From: Electoral Reform Society Scotland

To: Hayley Valentine, Exec Editor Question Time

Subject: Re: complaint to the BBC Question Time

Date: 13 June 2013

Dear Ms Valentine

The Electoral Reform Society in Scotland seeks to inform and improve Scotland’s democracy. With that in mind, we have being undertaking an inquiry into what a good Scottish democracy looks like.

A major theme that has emerged from this year long, citizen led inquiry, is the importance of the media to instruct, publicise and inform the debate.

There has been support for a publicly funded media provider, but a strong sense that that body should be impartial and should seek to provide balanced and informed coverage of politics.

Clearly this is of particular concern in the run up to the 2014 referendum.

We were concerned therefore to see the line-up for the BBC Question Time programme to be held in Edinburgh this evening (Thursday 13th June).

Not only does the selection of panellists fail to represent the make-up of Scottish politics, but it also seems to be aimed more at pantomime than serious debate.

That this should be the case when the audience is, very pleasingly, to be made up of 16 and 17 year old’s in recognition of the extension of the franchise to that group for the referendum is worrying.

It seems to show a lack of respect for these young audience members – implying that they do not deserve serious political debate.

It also fails to allow them to hear from their elected representatives in this public debate forum which receives the widest of political attention.

Two of the parties which will be competing for their vote in 2014 are unrepresented and the Yes and Better Together campaigns are needlessly unequally represented.

Were this not bad enough, available spaces on the platform are taken instead by George Galloway MP and Nigel Farage MEP, two individuals and parties who are not represented in Scotland.

We welcome the decision to involve 16 and 17 year old’s in a public debate about the referendum, but the chosen panellists do those 16 and 17 year old’s a disservice as they will not be able to hear from the parties who represent them and who will be seeking their vote in 2014.

We would ask the BBC to urgently reconsider the panel, and at the very least to re-schedule a repeat of this edition of Question Time, but with a panel representative of Scottish politics that respects the BBC’s role to be impartial and equal. (Willie Sullivan)




Scottish Greens Co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“Tonight’s Question Time line up is particularly bizarre, and following a telephone discussion with the editor it is clear to me that this programme has been contrived to deliver sensationalist confrontation, rather than serious debate.

The lack of balance is staggering and I know from comments we’ve received it’s not just Green supporters who are alarmed.

“This situation is particularly unacceptable a week before the Scottish Parliamentary by-election in Aberdeen Donside, which should require particular attention to political balance.

The BBC has shown serious misjudgement in allowing tonight’s programme to go ahead and we look forward to meeting senior managers to discuss how they intend to rectify a situation that will have harmed the broadcaster’s reputation for fairness.”

The complaint from the Scottish Green Party to the BBC’s Executive Editor Hayley Valentine and Phil Abrams of the Editorial Policy Unit is as follows…

Dear Ms Valentine,

We wish to object in the strongest possible terms to the choice of panellists for BBC Question Time tonight (13 June).

This follows our consistent raising of concern over a number of years about the Scottish Greens’ lack of representation on the programme; in 14 years of continuous Parliamentary representation, we have been invited to participate on 1 single occasion. That occasion was nearly two and a half years ago.

Tonight’s programme will be coming from Edinburgh, with an audience of 16 & 17 year old’s, debating independence – this is specifically billed on the BBC website.

The panel chosen is extremely skewed on the independence question; with only one panellist explicitly committed to independence as a preferred constitutional option, the programme is showing no balance whatsoever on this crucial question.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie is a member of the Yes Scotland advisory board and could have provided the required balance; he is also a member of Referendum Bill Committee in Parliament, which has been handling the legislation to reduce the voting age to 16.

Given that this decision is being made by the Scottish Parliament, we can see no basis for the decision to include only one MSP on the panel, and specifically one who is opposed to the reduction in the voting age.

George Galloway is an MP for an English constituency representing a political party, Respect, which literally does not exist in Scotland, and contests no elections.

On the one occasion when they did, Mr Galloway stood for election in Glasgow and even in a PR election was only able to secure 3.3% of the vote.

Nigel Farage has also been added to the panel at the last minute.

UKIP has no elected representation in Scotland at any level, as against SGP’s 2 MSPs and 14 local councillors. In the last Scottish Parliament election they secured 0.91% of regional votes across Scotland.

This panel is taking place during the Aberdeen Donside by-election, and the BBC has a duty to demonstrate balance at such a time.

Donside is part of the North East Scotland region, where UKIP achieved 0.9% of the vote in the 2011 election.

The rationale for this selection may include UKIP’s recent success in the English local elections.

UKIP now have approximately the same number of local councillors as GPEW, despite blanket media coverage.

But this is NOT an English local election, it’s a debate with a Scottish independence focus, taking place during a Scottish Parliamentary by-election.

This failure even to attempt balance in party political terms, or in terms of the referendum debate is surely a breach of the BBC’s duty to impartiality.

Patrick Harvie discussed these various points with Nicolai Gentchev this morning, and our head of media Jason Rose raised them with Phil Abrams of the BBC policy unit.

Mr Gentchev defended the decision to include Mr Farage on the programme citing his recent encounter with protesters in Edinburgh; we are deeply disturbed if the BBC’s flagship political debate programme gives greater attention to political stunts than to fair balance.

We seek an urgent meeting to discuss how you intend to redress this situation, not only in the short term but in the run-up to the referendum in 2014. (Martha Wardrop and Patrick Harvie, Co-conveners of the Scottish Green Party).




28 November 2013: Mentorn Media Confirms Hayley Valentine as its new director of current affairs.

Valentine is joining Mentorn from BBC Scotland where she has been executive editor at Question Time.

Based in Glasgow, she will continue to oversee the programme for Mentorn as well as BBC One’s The Big Questions and continuing the growth of Mentorn’s current affairs output across all broadcasters.

Chief executive of Mentorn Media, John Willis, said: “Hayley is the perfect person to head up Mentorn’s current affairs programming.

She has extensive knowledge and experience and we are delighted she will be responsible for developing even more programming from our ever-expanding Glasgow office.”

Valentine said: “I’ve been on the receiving end of the impressive editorial work that Mentorn has produced and I look forward to maintaining that level of commitment to BBC programming as well as developing new and engaging formats across all broadcasters.”



The boss of BBC Scotland’s new hour long news programme is to be the former editor of Question Time.

November 2017: Hayley Valentine to be appointed boss of BBC Scotland’s proposed news hour

Valentine, executive editor of the BBC’s much criticised flagship political debate show, is to be editor of the news programme which is to be a key part of the new BBC Scotland digital channel.

The corporation has said that the “integrated news hour” will be a key part of the BBC Scotland channel, subject to it receiving regulatory approval from Ofcom.

The new bulletin will include national and international news and be broadcast between 9pm and 10pm on the new channel.

Presently director of current affairs at Mentorn Scotland, the company which makes the programme for the BBC she said: “to be given the opportunity to launch a brand new programme at the heart of the proposed new BBC Scotland Channel is a real privilege and a rare treat. “I am looking forward to creating a really distinctive programme with a broad Scottish, UK-wide and international news agenda which has the priorities of a Scottish audience at the centre of everything we do.”

Gary Smith, head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland, said: “Hayley has an outstanding track record and I’m delighted she is joining us. “I’m confident that under her leadership we will produce an exciting, distinctive, and brilliant new programme for our audiences. She will also join my management team, and play a key role in the running of the department and the recruitment of the 80 new jobs which are being created through the BBC’s major investment in journalism in Scotland.’

Plans are that the new channel will broadcast from 7pm to midnight every day, as well as being available online and on iPlayer.

With an initial budget of around £30m it will feature acquired programmes and programmes from partners in the creative sector and from other countries and a selection of content sourced from other BBC services.

It is expected that that Ofcom’s decision on the new channel will be made in March, 2018.



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