From Borders College to BBC and everything in between

Stuart in commentary box

Stuart McFarlane pictured second from the left.

As a former student of the College, we caught up with Stuart McFarlane to talk about his career and how his time at college gave him the foundation to go on and become one of TV and radio’s most in-demand presenters.

BBC Sports commentator Stuart McFarlane has an encyclopaedic sports brain, recalling facts and figures at the drop of a hat, which perhaps explains why he is never lost for words as a commentator.

His impressive career has spanned over 25 years, covering a wide range of areas, including sports commentary and radio presenting. Currently the Senior Editor with Press Data Ltd and a Sports Commentator with the BBC, he has a great passion for media and the game of rugby in particular.

Stuart started his career in the mid to late 90s, working for local radio station Radio Borders, where he covered all things sport, as well as the local common ridings in the Scottish Borders area. His love of radio saw him in the role for 25 years.

A regular voice on the rugby circuit, he has provided commentary for Talk Sport, FreeSports and RTE, and has previously commentated on the international stage, travelling to Japan to cover the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

Away from sport, Stuart has also produced a number of feature programmes which have aired in Canada and New Zealand. The Scottish Diaspora, The Edinburgh Festival at 70 and a tribute to the Stevenson Lighthouse legacy are just a few of the topics covered, giving ex-pats the chance to catch up with what’s happening at home.

Stuart commented on his career, saying:

“Working in the media sector has provided me with some fantastic opportunities over the years. I’ve had the privilege of travelling to many European countries and further afield to the likes of Japan. And of course, covering my local area with the likes of Radio Borders and Borders Rugby TV has given me just as much joy.”

Stuart attended Borders College as a student from 1995-97, studying HND Communications before going on to Queen Margaret University in 1997 to undertake a Communication Policy Degree, graduating in July 2000.

Talking about his time at Borders College, Stuart said:

“Starting out at Borders College gave me an excellent foundation in the media industry, as a lot of our work involved covering real events in the area. There was a good balance between theory and practical and we soon found ourselves out in the real world conducting interviews and filming on location.

“This turned out to be very beneficial in terms of making contacts and gaining employment in the industry at a later date.”

Asked if he had any advice for people looking to take up a career in the media, Stuart had this to say:

“Like most careers, you will deal with setbacks. You need to persevere and be prepared to take things on the chin. It’s such a rewarding career but you must work hard to achieve your goals.”

As a presenter of sports and entertainment functions, Stuart's work as a commentator for Radio Borders and Borders Rugby TV in the past has led to him being the number one rugby commentator for BBC Radio Scotland, covering the World Cup and being the commentator on BBC Radio Five Live when Scotland drew 38-38 with England at Twickenham.

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