When Doctor Who and the Teletubbies are dragged into the independence debate you know things are getting serious.
The fate of the BBC after a Yes vote is just one of a number of issues that would have a day-to-day impact on Scots’ lives.
Should Strictly or Match of the Day drop off the TV schedules in an independent Scotland, most folk would notice that more readily than they might the outcome of more hifalutin debates around the EU or the national debt.
The Scottish Government claims there’s no danger to the nation’s favourite shows. It says in its White Paper that the full range of BBC and ITV programmes would still be beamed to Scottish sets.
After all, they get the BBC in neighbouring countries like Ireland and Holland, though they don’t get it for free.
According to the SNP’s blueprint, a new state broadcaster the Scottish Broadcasting Service would be set up and take over the BBC’s responsibilities and facilities in Scotland.
The SBS would agree a “joint venture” with the BBC in London and, in return for continuing to provide around 9% of the BBC’s content, Scotland would get to keep 100% of the BBC’s output.
The corporation is keeping schtum about the practicality or possibility of such an arrangement but questions have to be asked about whether London would want to continue Sunday morning repeats of the Beechgrove Garden or base production of flagship politics show Question Time in Glasgow, as it does now, should Glasgow be in a foreign country.
If a joint venture couldn’t be agreed there are other ways of getting the BBC. The SNP are right when they say CBeebies and Eastenders would be available in an independent Scotland they might just not be received in the way they are now.
For example, there’s always the option of taking the full range of BBC TV and radio channels via a satellite or cable service that carries them. Sky, run by Alex Salmond’s current chum Rupert Murdoch, might step into the void.
Or the BBC puts out international channels for viewers outwith Britain that carry adverts.
The SBS could buy in some BBC hits, but that would leave less money for homegrown productions and the budget would already be limited.
Currently Scotland pays around £350 million in licence fees, roughly a tenth of the entire BBC budget or enough to pay for half a BBC2. SBS television output would be no match for the quality or range of BBC1.
The White Paper doesn’t consider other things the BBC does such as its online presence. Even if the proposed joint venture was agreed it’s unlikely the iPlayer service would continue for free, for example.
The BBC fiercely guards it’s massive internet operation. Europeans, including in Ireland, must pay around £6 per month for the iPlayer.
In an age when viewers, especially the young, watch shows on demand rather than when the schedules dictate, that’s going to be a pain in the neck and the pocket.
Just getting access to the internet could be affected. Westminster is pouring money into rolling out broadband to rural areas, spending £100 million in Scotland alone.
The current schemes are unwieldy and poorly administered and the White Paper sensibly talks of streamlining.
Yet with a greater proportion of the nation made up of rural areas the government of a separate Scotland would find paying for that programme a greater burden.
That large rural element of Scotland lovely to look at but tricky to deliver services to is a headache for postal services too.
Internet shoppers in the Highlands are already well aware some firms discriminate against them, charging more to deliver to their goods.
The Royal Mail isn’t allowed to follow suit because the universal service obligation means everyone pays the same for a stamp no matter the destination. The Scottish Government says it will maintain the current level of service.
Opponents say that to do so either the cost of postage will have to go up Labour have done research claiming a stamp would need to cost £1.45 to maintain the USO or the difference will have to come from general taxation.
The latter would be smoothed by Alex Salmond’s vow to take Royal Mail back into public ownership, a popular policy but one carrying a price tag estimated at well over £1 billion.
Then there’s the question of whether sending mail to England would be charged at a premium given it would be a foreign country, or vice versa.
The Scottish Government says it wants to keep the cost of posting to the rest of the UK the same as posting within Scotland.
But while 1.5 million items are mailed in Scotland each day at least twice as many are delivered to Scottish addresses from elsewhere so folk on both sides of the border would be affected more by what the rest of the UK Royal Mail charges to deliver to Scotland than what it costs to mail from Scotland.
The Post Office network too would be unbalanced by independence. Around two thirds of Post Office branches in Scotland are in rural areas compared to around half across the UK.
Those country counters make less money and need more subsidy to survive. Yet they are the ones that are the most vital to the people that use them not just for the services they provide but as a keystone of community cohesion.
Many of those branches already face an uncertain future given recent UK Government closure programmes. The economics wouldn’t be any better in an independent Scotland but an Edinburgh government might be more concerned with the social aspects.
The Scottish Government has already set up a Rural Connectivity Commission to consider just those sorts of issues.
Many people still pop to the Post Office to renew their car tax or pay for their TV licence. A new Scottish TV licencing authority would need to be established.
The Scottish Government says the DVLA would continue to be responsible for administering motoring matters for a few years until a Scottish body could be set up.
Just as posting a letter to England would become an international transaction so would making a phone call.
It’s unlikely you’d have to add an international dialling code to phone relatives in the rest of the UK America and Canada share the 001 code for example and a Westminster claim that mobile phone roaming charges would apply when you crossed the border was comprehensively demolished.
Finally there’s the National Lottery played by 70% of Scots. The Yes campaign has been bankrolled by Euromillions winners Chris and Colin Weir but would others get a shot at such riches if Scotland separates from the UK?
A Westminster factsheet on the issue eschews civil service language for the rather grotty statement of the obvious: “It’s called the National Lottery not the International Lottery.”
London says Scotland won’t get to join in while Edinburgh asserts it would.
Perhaps more important than playing the lottery after all the chances of winning whatever nation you’re in are tiny is the funds it pays out to cultural, historical and sporting projects.
Landmarks like the Falkirk Wheel, the new Bannockburn visitor centre and the V&A museum currently being built in Dundee have received lottery support.
It’s claimed the Heritage Lottery Fund spends 30% per head more in Scotland than in the rest of the UK though hard figures are tricky to come by as the various awarding bodies don’t generally break down where the handouts have gone.
Both Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown have warned that voting Yes could turn off the taps of lottery funding.
It would be a gamble. But then if 70% of Scots are willing to take a punt on the lottery now with such small chances of success they may not be put off by that risk.