“These children are coming to the end of a two-year course. They have all sat a lot of internal assessments. But if they don’t turn up to the exam they will fail the whole course. I wonder what the real chances are of getting anything as valuable as a qualification if they turn up to the audition instead. But they are at an impressionable age and this will be causing rows across Scotland. I am worried about the children who are going to go, but I am also sorry for the ones who would give their eye teeth to be there but have a more responsible attitude.”
He poured scorn on the suggestion by the show’s production company, Talkback Thames, that children successful in the first round could come after 4pm to the end of the today’s audition, after the exam.
“That is all right if you live in Glasgow. The exam finishes at 3.20. They don’t seem to realise that it is, for instance, four hours in a car from here to Glasgow. I would question their grasp of geography. Do they know how big Scotland is? There are also several standard grade papers on Wednesday morning.”
This is the first year that the contest has been open to 14-year-olds and over. Mackenzie said: “This could have been quite exciting for them. I am not agin it. I am only agin the timing. They say they have to do this in April – well the children have just been off for two weeks for Easter. I just don’t think they had a clue that our exams started so much earlier than down south.”
Sara Lee, press officer at Talkback said: “We have had double the number of applications this year and so we had to bring the first auditions forward. We can’t pick a date that will suit 158,000 people. Minors have to attend with a parent or guardian. They can only audition if they have already applied. We would never advise someone to miss an exam to come to an audition. Like I say, it is the responsibility of their parent or guardian.”
Tuesday May 6, 2008