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NI man 'honoured' to take top role at BBC Scotland

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New director: Steve Carson

New director: Steve Carson

New director: Steve Carson

A Northern Ireland man has been named the new director of BBC Scotland.

Steve Carson will replace Donalda MacKinnon, who steps down later this year after four years in the role.

Mr Carson currently works for BBC Scotland as head of multi-platform commissioning, and helped launch the BBC Scotland channel.

He will lead 1,100 staff across 13 centres, producing English and Gaelic content for TV, radio and digital platforms.

Mr Carson said that he is honoured and excited to have the chance to lead the BBC Scotland team.

He added: "I've got a very hard act to follow in Donalda MacKinnon, an inspirational creative leader who has overseen a significant investment for Scotland including a new channel, the establishment of an advanced technology hub and an enhanced newsroom at a time of budget challenges for the BBC."

Born and brought up in Northern Ireland, where his late father Tom was features editor at the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Carson graduated from Manchester University before joining the BBC.

He has held a variety of roles, from youth and entertainment features to being a producer/director on Newsnight, Spotlight and Panorama.

He returned to Northern Ireland in 1997 and later established the independent production company Mint Productions, which supplied the major broadcasters in the UK and Ireland.

A former vice-president of the European Broadcasting Union's television committee and chairman of the RTS Northern Ireland, he is married to RTE broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan.

Yesterday Miriam posted on Twitter: "Very proud of my talented, creative and super kind husband - his Mum and Dad would be so proud too. Hopefully they are celebrating right now in heaven."

BBC director-general Tony Hall said: "I'm delighted to see Steve appointed to this important role. He brings with him a combination of excellence in programme making, leadership and the respect and trust of the staff.

"Steve set up the BBC Scotland channel brilliantly and I wish him every success in the future."

Ken MacQuarrie, director of BBC nations and regions, said: "Steve has a wealth of experience from across the broadcasting industry and is hugely respected inside and outside the organisation.

"A passionate advocate of ambitious quality programming, Steve has an inspirational and exciting vision for the BBC in Scotland and I know he will embrace the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead."

SNP MP John Nicholson, a former BBC journalist, was among those offering their congratulations yesterday.

He posted on Twitter: "Many congratulations to Steve Carson, new director of BBC Scotland. Steve has a great track record in broadcasting - from youth programmes, through BBC Panorama and BBC Newsnight - and more recently the launch of the Scotland channel. Wishing him every success in his new role."

RTE's agriculture and consumer affairs correspondent Fran McNulty also offered his best wishes, adding: "Top man, for a top job. Congratulations."

Mr Carson will take up his new role in the autumn.

Belfast Telegraph