TV documentaries ‘a great advert for Argyll and Bute’

A documentary about Argyll and Bute Council was watched by almost a quarter of Scotland’s television audience.

The Country Council saw BBC Scotland broadcast three one-hour programmes following council staff, as well as NHS and housing association workers.

Helensburgh – home to almost a sixth of Argyll and Bute’s population – received very little exposure, but a family on the Rosneath Peninsula was featured in the first programme, and given the title of the programmes the 48% of people in the council area who aren’t classed as living in rural areas were always unlikely to be the focus.

Bins were a frequent cause of telephone complaints…

Other features included a traffic warden and new pontoons in Oban, a debt counsellor in Dunoon, housing workers in Bute and repairs to the only road on Jura – very overdue repairs, as this writer can attest after driving there rather cautiously in 2016.

The pause button was in heavy use in households across the area as viewers tried to identify roadside scenes and spectacular drone footage, while the repeated clips of patient phone operators fielding calls from angry residents – often about bins, inevitably – might give some pause for thought before venting one’s spleen to a call centre in frustration.

After the final programme the council issued a statement saying that the scenery and people of Argyll and Bute had ‘received glowing reviews’.

Each episode drew in an average of 24% of viewers across the Scottish television network, and more people will watch via catch-up.

Council chief executive Cleland Sneddon said the programmes were ‘ a great advert’ for the area: “It was a big decision to get involved in a national television series.

“We decided to go ahead with it to showcase Argyll and Bute as a great place to live, learn, work and do business, and to let people see the often unnoticed effort that council staff, and our partners, are going to every day to help in different ways.

“I would like to thank all employees who made this possible by taking part.

“I know how hard our staff work every day to support the people and places of Argyll and Bute. I see council employees working with compassion and dedication, and going the extra mile to improve people’s lives.

“I am pleased that so many others, through this series, are recognising this too. Thank you to everyone who has made this a success for Argyll and Bute.”


  1. The documentary was very selective in what it covered. We only saw a handful of employees and very few services or residents. It did not show the Council “warts and all”. It did not give an accurate impression of the standard of Council services or the failure of the Council to deliver basic services. OK for a bit of light entertainment but certainly not a true reflection of Argyll & Bute Council. Councillor George Freeman.

  2. Spot on George. From the show A&B Council would seem to include only a few smaller towns like, mainly Oban, Rothesay and Campbelltown The title of the Lochside Press used the right term; it was an advert.

    I remember from my working days that we used to have a team brief; it was supposed to inform the workforce about everything that was going on. It was equally selective in giving only the “Good News”.

    • Spot on Dougie. The Council needs to remember that self praise is no honour. The Council continues to fail in the delivery of the basic services yet many councillors appear to ignore this. Where a council addresses the basics such as refuse collection, grass cutting, litter collection, pot holes etc, then the public think that their council is doing a marvellous job no matter how poorly they are delivering other services such as education etc. Unfortunately, as far as Argyll & Bute Council is concerned, they continue to fail in the delivery of basic services which reflects poorly on those dedicated officers who bend over backwards to help the public.

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