BBC content with the lie that there wasn’t even really a place called Scotland

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch was at Windsor Castle this morning to receive the Honour of Knighthood for services to Scholarship. (Newscom TagID: ptsphotoshot750272) [Photo via Newscom]

On 10th of July 2019, I wrote to BBC Complaints to say:

Dermot McCulloch, referring to England existing in the 10th or 11th Century says:

‘There wasn’t even really a place called Scotland.’

This is inaccurate:

This culminated in the rise of Cínaed mac Ailpín (Kenneth MacAlpin) as “king of the Picts” in the 840s (traditionally dated to 843),[3] which brought to power the House of Alpin.[4] When he died as king of the combined kingdom in 900 one of his successors,Domnall II (Donald II), was the first man to be called rí Alban (King of Alba).[5] The term Scotia would increasingly be used to describe the heartland of these kings, north of the River Forth, and eventually the entire area controlled by its kings would be referred to as Scotland.[6]


  1. B. Webster, Medieval Scotland: the Making of an Identity(St. Martin’s Press, 1997), ISBN0333567617, p. 15.
  2. B. Yorke, The Conversion of Britain: Religion, Politics and Society in Britain c.600–800(Pearson Education, 2006), ISBN 0582772923, p. 54.
  3. A. O. Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, A.D. 500 to 1286(General Books LLC, 2010), vol. i, ISBN1152215728, p. 395.
  4. Webster, Medieval Scotland, p. 22.

Why was McCulloch, a non-historian, allowed to make such an error? Why was this statement not checked? Perhaps York and Anderson are too recent for him to be expected to have read?

Yesterday, I got this reply:

Thank you for contacting us regarding BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Invention of Britain’ broadcast on 18 June. I understand you believe Diarmaid MacCulloch inaccurately said: “there wasn’t even really a place called Scotland” in the 10th or 11th century. While Professor MacCulloch’s comments are his own views and not those of BBC staff, it’s not always possible to challenge every comment that is made by a contributor. Professor MacCulloch contributed to the programme based on his background as a British historian, however, we acknowledge that not everyone will agree with each choice we make as to who contributes to our programmes. We do value your feedback about the programme. All complaints are sent to senior management and in this case ‘The Invention of Britain’ production team every morning, and I’ve provided your comments on our audience feedback report.

McCulloch has previous on Anglocentric views of history. His ridiculous BBC documentary on the Battle of Britain ignored the Clydebank Blitz. I complained about it and he was indignant in the manner of a pompous bishop. Let’s see if he gets wind of my complaint.


8 thoughts on “BBC content with the lie that there wasn’t even really a place called Scotland

  1. tcrosbie20 July 19, 2019 / 7:40 am

    A lie at the BBC never, how could you propose such poppycock ? Where do they did up these unionist lackey to spout here garbage, had an interesting read this morning prof, you’ve probably read it in the National, Its another unionist scare story, using dodgy research and poor methodology and crap figures. But none the less the unionist media cabal is running with it. The paper was rejected because it was crap 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alasdair Macdonald July 19, 2019 / 9:15 am

      You have to remember that they are continuing to print these lies to sustain the dwindling support for the union. They are not directed at readers of the National or the various pro-independence blogs. They are directed at their own dwindling band of readers who are clinging to these fairy stories, because the things they once saw as everlasting are crumbling and they do not want to accept it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alasdair Macdonald July 19, 2019 / 9:21 am

    You were right to make the complaint and the outcome was predictable. The reply was a bit more anodyne in that they were not denying what you had written, and acknowledged that they had not and did not check facts. This contrasts with the arrogance and bombast with which BBC Scotland has treated your complaints …… but, of course, as far as Pacific Quay is concerned, ‘you have form’!!!! The awfully nice chaps at Radio 4 just see you as a quaint chap from the provinces.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. gavin July 19, 2019 / 11:21 am

    The BBC don’t mind taking licence fees from “Scotland” and spending it dann saff.

    Very convenient milch cow, as Hon Sarah Smith would have it! She gets paid from London.

    Liked by 2 people

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