Thursday, 18 September. The polling stations in Scotland close and the BBC's 10 o'clock news gets underway. Before we head off to hear "the news where you are", we are treated to a montage of clips summing up the referendum campaign. Alex Salmond features twice for a few seconds, the first clip being from what appeared to be an SNP conference with the Scottish First Minister saying "delegates". The second clip was even less memorable.
Moments later we were shown a longer excerpt from Gordon Brown's much-hyped speech from earlier in the week.
And then it was all over.
Even Alex Salmond's harshest critics would concede that he is a formidable and exciting speaker. There is no shortage of good material to choose from, and the most obvious clip in this context would have been the passionate summing up he gave at the end of the second televised debate against Alistair Darling. Instead the BBC contrived to make him look dull. Even though the polls had closed, the Corporation's bosses were determined to show that they were toeing the line right to the sour and slanted end.
Brown, it should be remembered, entered the fray at the last minute having left the leg work to lesser beings. After a short and spectacularly unsuccessful stint as Prime Minister, Brown is now a backbench MP. The BBC says he is loved in Kirkcaldy, but it seems to be a bit of a one-way love affair because although the people of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath elected him to be their MP, he rarely shows up to represent them in Westminster.
According to They Work for You he has taken part in just 12.78% of votes in parliament and has spoken on just 5 occasions in the last year. Alistair Darling is not much better than his old boss. He too has taken
part in just 5 debates in the last year, "well below average among MPs",
notes They Work for You. Even Dai Havard, Labour's comatose MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, managed to say something in 13 debates, and he has one of the worst parliamentary records of the lot.
The BBC has come in for an enormous amount of criticism for its coverage of the referendum, and at one point thousands of people gathered outside its headquarters in Glasgow to protest. Alistair Darling was outraged. People power criticising the BBC? Whatever next?
Darling was a minister in a government which ripped the guts out of the BBC in the wake of the row over the "Dodgy Dossier" and the death of David Kelly. Never again would the BBC be allowed to go off script. Heads rolled, and Blair said the findings of the Hutton Inquiry had completely exonerated him.
Now, the BBC is a big place with some of the best journalists you will find anywhere. James Cook, its Scottish correspondent, has emerged well from the referendum campaign with objective and balanced reporting - on Twitter. Cook it was who disclosed that it was the Treasury which had sent an e-mail to the BBC saying that RBS would up sticks and move its brass plate to London in the event of a victory for the Yes campaign.
The one question which nobody asked was why Scots should be anything but joyful at seeing the back of a financial sewer which nearly dragged the whole of the UK over the precipice. Sir Fred Goodwin, the disgraced former boss of the bank, was one of Gordon Brown's favourite advisers, it will be remembered.
The problem with the BBC, especially post-Hutton, is that whenever there is consensus between the main unionist parties on an issue, particularly one involving wars or matters of state, editorial policy will be determined in Whitehall.
Some years ago I had the pleasure of working under a veteran editor called Manfred. Manfred was a stickler for quality and accuracy, and woe betide anyone who fell short of his standards. One night during the Falklands War Manfred was the duty editor when a very irate rear admiral phoned from the Ministry of Defence.
Our crime as an international news agency was to have reported things the MoD would rather not have had reported. "Where is your patriotism man?" asked the rear admiral who clearly believed that the media's job is to be flag wavers.
"I am German", replied Manfred.
And so it was during the Iraq war that we were told British troops were wildly popular in Basra. They may have been welcomed for a short while, but things changed rapidly. The rapport between "our boys" and the locals resulted in the murder of Baha Mousa, an innocent hotel worker and father of two young children. Baha Mousa died in custody with at least 93 separate injuries inflicted by a large number of soldiers after what amounted to torture. One soldier was convicted and jailed for a year.
A few years later and listeners to the BBC's Today Programme on Radio 4 could have heard public school educated senior army officers telling the public how we were winning the war in Afghanistan.
Or have you ever heard a peep of criticism of the royals on the BBC? William and Kate, memorably described by David Jones MP as "an Angelsey couple", recently spent some £4.5 million on doing up a 21 room apartment in Kensington Palace before deciding that they would rather live in a mansion in the grounds of Sandringham House in Norfolk. Anmer Hall is now being renovated at an estimated cost of £1.5 million, although we should remember that the original cost estimate for the work at Kensington Palace was a paltry £1 million. Even the Daily Mail was upset.
Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell and Lord Hutton made sure that the BBC would have to think twice before daring to question matters such as these, and you won't have heard a dicky bird out of the BBC about Kate's kitchens, gawd bless 'er.
Of course, the Scottish referendum was not a war, but it was about the survival of the British state. No surprise then that Paul Mason, the former BBC Newsnight journalist now working for Channel 4, should comment that "Not since Iraq have I seen BBC News working at propaganda strength like this. So glad I am out of there."
If it is balanced and objective reporting you are after these days, Channel 4 is the place to go. Here is Jon Snow on the resignation of Alex Salmond - a rather different Alex Salmond to the bully boy character we usually see portrayed.
And while the BBC found some restaurant staff excited about earning £8 an hour (by 2020, terms and conditions apply), here is Ciaran Jenkins, another former BBC journalist now with Channel 4, neatly summing up Labour's much-hyped initiatives announced at its party conference over the weekend: