STV regrets axing ITV dramas

Rob Woodward, chief executive of STV, has admitted the Scottish broadcaster’s axing of several popular ITV dramas was a “major mistake”. His words come after a bitter and drawn out feud between the two broadcasters with STV axing a string of ITV programmes from its schedules and both suing each other over issues relating to the payment for programmes.

It’s yet another twist in the STV/ITV feud as the Scottish broadcaster’s Chief Executive Rob STVWoodward admits axing popular ITV drama’s was a “major mistake”. Earlier this year STV decided to do away with a string of popular ITV drama in favour of home-produced content and repeats of films. Amongst the casualties were The Bill, Doc Martin, Kingdom, Heartbeat, The Royal and Collision with fears that STV would move Coronation Street and Emmerdale out of their networked slots. It was also announced that STV would opt out of the ITV National news bulletins and instead create their own bulletin for a “Scottish perceptive” on the international news. 

Amidst all of this was uncertainty over the future of Taggart, the Scottish murder series, which became something of a pawn in the bitter feud between the two broadcasters. While ITV dithered over renewing the series STV warned if ITV axed the detective series it would take it elsewhere – with Alibi, part of the UKTV network of channels, named as one possible new broadcaster. The future of Taggart is still undecided even though it celebrated its 100th episode over the festive period. Now Rob Woodward has seemingly backtracked on STV’s position a little and admitted axing so many programmes was a mistake – as ratings haven’t been that good for the repeats that replaced them. 

“We hope our audience will be pleasantly surprised when we unveil our schedule in the New Year. You can expect to see some more of ITV’s drama back on the screens.” – Rob Woodward in the Herald Scotland

If the previously axed dramas to return to STV it will no doubt please network bosses at ITV especially if The Bill returned to Scotland. The police drama was axed by STV ahead of its move to a 9pm slot as it was re-launched as a grittier series. It has since been struggling in the ratings itself but a return to Scotland would boost ratings somewhat. It would also mark the potential end of the feud between the two broadcasters which has so dominated the television landscape this year.