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3 August 2006

Doric Group Defends BBC's Use Of Subtitles In Trawlermen Series - Press & Journal

by ANDREW KELLOCK, Press & Journal

The group which is the guardian of the Doric has backed the BBC's decision to use subtitles in a TV series focusing on the daily trials and tribulations of north-east fishermen.

The Buchan Heritage Society believes the dialect spoken in ports like Fraserburgh and Peterhead - where Trawlermen was filmed - is a language rather than just a regional accent. And they say it should be considered in the same way as Gaelic. Trawlermen follows the lives of the crews of four fishing boats working out of the Blue Toon and is being screened all this week on BBC1.

Last night, retired skipper George Sutherland said the subtitles had not spoiled his enjoyment of the series.

The former chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association and vice-president of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation gave regular interviews to television and radio journalists, often from the deck of his record-breaking Broch-registered vessel Sans Peur. He said: "I never changed the way I spoke but I maybe pronounced my words a bit more clearly and carefully.

"I don't think there would have been much point in me trying to get the industry's message across if nobody could understand what I was saying.

"The programme has been very good, one of the best made about the fishing industry."

Marlene Lowe, secretary of the Buchan Heritage Society, said: "The Doric is a language, on a par with Gaelic, and if a programme is being shown all over the UK the subtitles are a must really."

John Buchan, skipper of the Peterhead-registered Fairline, said: "If you sit down to watch a Gaelic programme, you're not going to be able to follow it without the subtitles, unless you speak the language and it's the same with the Doric."

Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson said Trawlermen, which is being screened across Britain, had provided a good insight into the difficulties fishermen face in what is the country's most dangerous profession. He said he had been "mildly irritated" by the part use of subtitles, and he quipped: "I look forward to the day when EastEnders is given similar treatment."

The penultimate and last episodes of Trawlermen are being shown this evening and tomorrow.

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