Kezia Dugdale MSP will reportedly co-present a new BBC Radio Scotland show alongside pro-independence writer Andrew Wilson from 22 June.
Reports that Dugdale would present a purported replacement for the BBC’s Scottish current affairs programme Headlines first appeared on pro-independence website Bella Caledonia, which claimed the broadcaster was building towards “the biggest crisis faced by BBC Scotland since Zircon”.
It said the Labour MSP would present a programme called Crossfire.
But The Targe has heard that Dugdale will co-present alongside Andrew Wilson, who sat as a Scottish National Party MSP between 1999 and 2003.
The format means that both sides of the referendum divide – those advocating independence and those opposing it – will be nominally represented in the discussion of current affairs stories.
Reports that Wilson will co-present have been backed up by Lesley Riddoch and Scotsman columnist Euan McColm, who also said on Twitter that the joint presenter role should shut down allegations of pro-Union bias within the BBC.
In the latest episode of her Internet podcast, Riddoch said: “I understand that [the programme] is going to be a ‘double header’ as we say in the trade, with two presenters to create balance, and they’ll be Andrew Wilson, the former SNP MSP, and Kezia Dugdale, the Labour Party’s education spokesperson and an MSP, which is kind of quite an entertaining idea.”
She added: “I think it was meant to have actually been on air already, but it’s been postponed for a couple of weeks.”
Riddoch also corroborated claims that Crossfire would be a direct replacement for Headlines, but this has since been challenged. BBC Scotland has yet to make an announcement either way.
The replacement of Headlines would not be without precedent – on 27 May, long-standing current affairs programme Newsnight Scotland on BBC Two was replaced with a referendum-themed programme called Scotland 2014.
Newsnight Scotland will be restored after the referendum, which could also be the case with Headlines if the replacement goes ahead.