Holyrood construction project highlighted in Scandals that Shocked Scotland series



The long-running saga of the delays and spiralling cost of building the Scottish Parliament is the subject of the first episode of a new BBC series re-examining high-profile public scandals.

Each episode of The Scandals that Shocked Scotland will look at two cases ranging from miscarriages of justice to High Court dramas, banking bailouts to public health disasters.

Episode one begins the story in 1997 with Scotland’s inaugural First Minister, Donald Dewar, launching the Scotland Bill with the declaration: “There shall be a Scottish Parliament. I like that.”

By the time it opened in 2004 – three years late – it was ten times over budget.

Tragedy also stalked the building of the Parliament at Holyrood. Its architect, Barcelona-based Enric Miralles, and Dewar died within a year of each other without ever seeing the building – which in the end cost £414 million to build.

The second scandal to be scrutinised is the longest-running and most costly trial in Scottish legal history which saw Paul Ferris acquitted of murdering Arthur Thompson Junior, aka ‘Fat Boy’, in 1991.

No-one has ever been found guilty of the gangland killing of the eldest son of the godfather of Glasgow’s biggest criminal clan, outside his home in Provanmill, Glasgow.

Ferris worked as a debt collector for Thompson and had known his son well. He was arrested and charged after the murder. The night before Thompson’s funeral, two of Ferris’s friends, Bobby Glover and Joe ‘Bananas’ Hanlon, were found shot dead in a car on the funeral cortege route. As well as being Scotland’s longest ever trial, it cost a record £4m and heard evidence from 300 witnesses.

Other stories featured in future episodes include the trial of Nat Fraser, the world’s worst recorded outbreak of E. coli in Wishaw, the Shirley McKie fingerprint scandal and the Ice Cream War murders.

Episode one of The Scandals that Shocked Scotland will be broadcast on Thursday 28 November on BBC Scotland at 8.30pm.