You might be interested to know that the Alex Salmond Show have issued a press release that deals robustly with a couple of taunts that have been directed against the programme - firstly that it hasn't been a ratings success, and secondly that it's struggled to attract prominent guests because of the reputation of RT. On the latter point, it's stressed that over the first few weeks the show has already interviewed two heads of state (President Michel Aoun of Lebanon and President Carles Puigdemont of the new Republic of Catalonia), two knights of the realm, a former member of the Scottish Cabinet, four Westminster MPs, and also Alastair Campbell, who has recently reinvented himself as one of the leading anti-Brexit commentators. I'm not totally convinced that the BBC's Andrew Marr or Sky's Sophy Ridge could claim to have beaten that line-up over an equivalent time-frame.
As far as the ratings are concerned, they've actually increased significantly since the triumphant headlines about "Alex Salmond's Kremlin TV show getting the same number of viewers as a Taggart repeat" (which on the face of it struck me as an accolade rather than a mark of failure). The 6.30pm showing on 7th December attracted 19,000 viewers, up around 20% since the first episode in November. If anything, the improvement is a surprise, because a programme launched in a blitz of publicity will often lose viewers after the initial novelty wears off. Presumably it remains the case that the overwhelming majority of the show's UK audience live in Scotland, which means roughly 1 in 300 of the entire Scottish population were watching at just one moment in time - pretty healthy for a minority TV channel that not everyone has heard of, and that some don't have access to. But more to the point, the 19,000 figure doesn't even include viewers for the other two broadcasts on the same day, or those who saw some or all of the programme on YouTube - which in reality is most people's point of contact with RT.
By the way, if like me you have a TV package like Virgin Media that doesn't include RT, the channel is live-streamed for free on the website HERE. The next Alex Salmond Show is tomorrow at 7.30am, 6.30pm, and 11.30pm.
* * *
It looks like the Catalan election tomorrow is going to be a frighteningly close-run thing. Barring widespread voting irregularities (which admittedly can't be ruled out), there's not much risk that the anti-independence parties will win a majority between them - but of course this is not really a fair contest, because the pro-independence parties effectively need to clear a tougher hurdle than their opponents do. It's not enough simply to be the bigger of the two camps - only an absolute majority of seats will be interpreted as reinforcing the mandate for independence. The estimates of seats in most recent opinion polls suggest that the majority is on a knife-edge, with potentially just one or two seats tipping the balance in either direction.
There's also an intriguing battle within the pro-indy camp - both the left-wing ERC and Puigdemont's centre-right Junts per Catalunya are vying the be the largest single grouping. Puigdemont has made up ground recently, but still hasn't quite drawn level with the ERC. It's possible (perhaps even probable) that the split in the pro-indy camp will allow the virulently anti-independence Ciutadans to come through the middle and claim 'victory' - although that won't really matter as long as Junts per Catalunya, the ERC and the smaller CUP have a combined majority between them.