Enough of the BBC 47

I am trying to watch the Open on TV, but for some reason the BBC feel the need to interpose some fool with an estuary accent, who has no apparent connection to the sport. We missed Tom Watson’s second to the second because this idiot was interviewing somebody from Celebrity Come Dancing.

It reminds me of the ruining of Panorama by populism, exemplified by it being fronted by the deeply unpleasant Jeremy Vine, who has also been introduced to election coverage, just in case we miss estuary accents there also.

If the BBC exists in a popular culture where current affairs must be explained not by intellectuals but by diamond geezers, and golf presented by unqualified chirpy chappies, it really no longer does anything that the private sector cannot do. It is time to close down BBC Television and abolish the license fee. Radio three, four and the World Service are genuine public services, and could be funded by a small sum from general taxation. A small grant from general taxation should be given to producers of highest quality TV drama. The rest of the populist rubbish should be cut adrift into the private sector, and 97% of the vastly expensive bureaucracy sacked.

47 thoughts on “Enough of the BBC

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  • Kit Green

    Yes, a plague that dumbs down and distracts.

    I think you mean Jeremy Vine. Not quite as bad a Kyle.

  • dreoilin

    “Diamond geezers” and “estuary accents”?
    Two nations divided by a common language 🙂

  • ingo

    Craig this is an excellent suggestion, I agree, we do not need little Goebbels, egged on by MI’s in the next office, to try and pull the wool over our eyes, ther’s plenty of others out there. The BBC has clearly failed to scrutinise the media or Government, they have been led to beleieve that their news reports must tally with Government propaganda and their franchise system makes them dependent little oiks who have to take their cue from the party in power.

    What next? a boycott of license fee? a dedicated website counting down the steady demise and publicising their supreme cohabitants and propaganda merchants? Sending lorry loads of TV’s down to their headquarters, so they can save on letters saying ‘how come you haven’t got a TV?’.

    This is fun, how can we reform the BBC, whilst watching golf? hmmm

  • Richard Turner

    While Stephen Fry is very clever and Jade Goody probably wasn’t, and while it is true that the BBC is guilty of dumbing down, I don’t think there’s necessarily a direct link between intelligence and having an RP accent, or a link between stupidity and having a regional or lower class one.

    Your last post has sad a whiff of plain and simple class snobbery.

  • mary

    A chance here before July 19th to tell the BBC what you think of their News service. You can have fun with this. It didn’t take long. There is some anonymity given on the final questions – m/f, age bracket, where you live England, Scotland etc. but no name or e-mail address is asked for unless you want to see the results of the questionnaire. Crafty. I bet they know anyway via cookies.

    I had great fun.

  • mike cobley

    The Birt regime casts a long and corrosive shadow – the outsourcing of program production was a main cause of the BBC degradation across all its output. Fixing it would call for rootandbranch reform, and significant managerial sackings, and the enactment of a BBC News Charter, whereby BBC News would be legally guaranteed editorial independence with a remit to investigate and report the vital matters of the nation. It would be a tough thing to formulate (and may well make a rod for the back of the government that put it in place) but it would be worth in the long run.

  • mary

    I liked this letter sent to: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected];
    cc media lens
    Subject: The Lobby.
    Dear Nick, Alan et al, greetings,
    Let the Hacks carry away their abuses in the only possible manner, namely by carrying off themselves. Their “Lobby”, and their “exclusives”…one and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope , clear out from the province they have desolated and profaned. (after W. E. Gladstone, “Speech, May 7, 1877, on the Occupation of Bulgaria by Turkey”).
    I hope you aren’t too embarrassed about your volte-face over The Digger. It’s going to take skill to appear to be reporters instead of journalists (‘people who collect press releases from the Lobby and pass them off as work’). You need to kick Rupe when he’s down to please your owners and work off some public-school resentment of a parvenu but not so obviously that you look like a rabble of opportunists (“journalists”). Have you thought of a tactical withdrawal like Johann Hari’s? Being kicked upstairs could be advantageous too….
    in response to the piece written by the Medialens editors
    Avalanche! Media Hyperbole On News Corp, The ‘Free’ Press And A ‘Berlin Wall Moment’

  • Bill

    Hi Craig
    I think BBC staff are on strike today over imposed voluntary redundancies. That’s perhaps why you are listening to a 2nd rate stand in?

  • Walk Tall Hang Loose

    The pleasure of watching programs uninterrupted by advertisements is well worth the licence fee.

  • Scouse Billy

    Thanks, Mary

    What fun – a couple of my answers for the record:

    Q1 “Apallingly – smiley smug “presenters” regurgitating press releases mirrors a “democracy” more beholden to powerful lobbies than the electorate.

    The BBC “green” pension fund is a prima facie conflict of interest and renders the BBC in breach of its charter.

    BBC News (sic) has abrogated its responsibility to its “stakeholders” (license fee payers) and is redundant.”

    Q3. “Poorly – you were slow on Greek and more noticeably the Spanish protests.

    You have not exposed the CIA/Al-qaeda operation which is obvious in Libya.

    You failed to expose the Libyan “rebels” creating a Central Bank (of Benghazi) back in March – look like you are just an adjunct of the FCO and SIS in particular.

    As for poor Frank Gardner – does us a favour – this is just SIS embedmnent within the BBC.”

    Funnily enough I was able to complete the questionnaire via TOR so I appeared to be coming from Russia 😉

  • mary

    There’s a male stand in presenter on the 24 hour BBC channel today. I do not know his name. Solo he is much better at the job than the usual power dressed harpies they have on in pairs with their bleached hair and expensive jewellery and outfits. They look bored, sound bored and are boring. Sweep out the lot of them on their hyper inflated salaries.

  • Dunc

    You’re going to throw the entire BBC – makers of the finest TV documentaries ever, anywhere in the world, by several orders of magnitude – under the bus because you don’t like their coverage of the stupid fucking golf?

    If there’s one class of programming that the BBC should undoubtedly hand over to the private sector on the grounds that it isn’t really a public service and the private sector can do it just as well and make a profit on it, it’s bloody sports coverage. Buy a fucking Sky package already. (OK, all that crap on BBC1 can go too – except Dr Who).

    Take BBC2, BBC4 and BBC Alba away and I will cry. Then I’ll cancel my cable package and sell my TV, because that’s about the only programming that’s worth watching that I can’t get anywhere else. Seriously, you’re trying to claim that all the world-beating educational content provided in association with the Open University, or the Gaelic programming provided by BBC Alba, isn’t a public service, but the bloody golf is? In what alternate universe?

    Fucking golf indeed… That’s you down several notches in my estimation. Might as well watch flies climb a wall. Hell, you might as well just get a lobotomy and have done with it. Fuck your fucking golf, sideways, with a rusty spoon, and get that stupid pointless crap off my TV and into the ghetto of Sky Sports where it belongs.

  • John K

    Be careful what you wish for.
    For all its many faults, the BBC is streets ahead of the rest.
    You’ve clearly been around the world, would you really want TV “choice” like the USA, where there is almost nothing worth watching and dozens of channels run by religious nutters; the stultifying blandness of French TV; or the endless adverts on cable / satellite TV in Asia?
    Just cos some overpaid idiot salks too much on the golf coverage, is not a reason to ditch the BBC.
    “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…”

  • Andy

    Hmmm… yes… mixed feelings about this. Could be considered odd for a left-liberal (you are?) to be so critical of real accents. I assume you’d be okay with suitably qualified people with “estuary” accents presenting?

  • mary

    Scouse Billy – You little tinker! You were more brutal than me. And tell us how many years ago your photo was taken!
    Dunc – Why don’t you say what you mean.
    Where’s Suhayl? Not watching the golf I hope.

  • Scouse Billy

    Mary, it amuses this little tinker to use another little tinker’s photo.

    I assume you recognise the “innocent little boy” (c.1899) 😉

  • ingo

    Duncan, we get the distinct feeling you don’t like golf at all.
    Is that not the test for a true Scotsman? Not ecveryone can climb the munro’s, or stalk a deer for hours on end in dour conditions.
    I agree with your point on documentaries, but what Craig is on about is these stupif cometition programs, the cheap crap that has milluions ringing in and goping at dancing hamsters. The BBC has had one of its best years, made loads of money, over a billion worth of contracts, but their news coverage is biased and sad, they have no scrupels either when it comes to reporting, using pictures that hurt to make a point over Rupert.

    My sad case programme is Holby, but I can’t stand their harassment of people, their strict policy of punishing those repeat offenders, who can’t pay, with jail.

    Why has anybody got to justify themselves before them, who are they to be able to do this? They are the only entity allowed tax gathering, a sheriff of Nottingham authority which frequently harasses its peasants.?

  • deepgreenpuddock

    Difficult this one.
    In the US the BBC channel is execrable. It is awful beyond words, and ‘the Inbetweeners’ and Graham Norton progs, which are heavily promoted, look incredibly crass.

    Over in blighty it was becoming very clear that the BBC had lurched even deeper into their role as propagator of the truth according to the established hierarchies interpretation of how best to please the dominant political players+various long-standing memes and themes that transcend partisan politics, but are no less dishonest.

    Something (the independent bit) in the BBC, died after the kicking it got from Alistair Campbell and Nulab as a result of Campbell in undoing the story and the terrible aftermath of the death of David Kelly. (an unforgiveable piece of savagery from the Nulab gang.

    On the other hand there is absence of adverts, which is such a bonus, and there are a few (but getting fewer and fewer) bright spots. e.g. I like Paul Mason of Newsnight and Adam Curtis produces interesting and challenging,material ( if often over-simplified by omission to the point where it loses much value). However, he raises consciousness and provides a good basis for discussion and amplification.

    And then there is the sentimentality of association with the past, and the cultural position of the BBC which, for both good and ill, has been so dominating, to the point of cultural dictatorship and hegemony, inhibiting diversity and alternative expression outside the confines of its self defining values, and great power.

    I also agree that the post does have the whiff of snobbery but it captures the point.

    The problem with the BBC is that it is rather out of date, but the need for quality, genuinely challenging and informative material has not diminished, and the idea that the private sector might provide that is just not credible.

    A large part of the issue is the technology of communications changing irrevocably, along with change in the audience. The idea of centralised, hierarchical and elitist organization, producing a body of output with similar or unified tone and quality, (an elitist, confined, wisdom), for an audience which was considered to be unified in all important ways,( i.e cultural imperialism) is now long out of date.

    Major change in the BBC is inevitable, and it can only go in one direction.
    However I do agree that the radio system should be carefully nurtured as a national asset. Radio is a more flexible medium than TV and makes fewer demands of social or cultural conformity on the audience , and can be experimental and challenging, more safely than visual media.

    I always remember the jewel that was the original radio version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which preserved many of the delights of a reading experience, and the disappointment of the TV version. It was well enough done, but TV inevitably reduces the richness of the imaginative experience and makes the humor less potent.

    My slightly reluctant (due to nostalgia mainly) sense of the problem of the BBC is that it will have to be exchanged for a more diverse range of providers of cultural material, not so focussed on TV. We should divert license funds to start funding and developing more regional cultural activities, maybe city orchestras, live concerts, more local drama activity, more intimate ‘film’ experiences, rather than recorded or commissioned big events with grossly overinflated ‘megastarism’ mentality. Surely Bruce Forsyth is the end point of this ‘reductio ad absurdum’
    way of thinking.

    The demise of NI may permit a loosening of the polarized nature of British cultural life, and provide a less threatening environment for the process of breaking up the Beeb-a sunny day, with a golden lining- win, win, win.
    Let’s hope.

  • Dunc


    I’m not a fan of televised sports in general (with the sole exception of snooker, which is a true gentleman’s game), but televising golf is absolutely ridiculous, unless you regard it simply as an employment programme for former WWII anti-aircraft searchlight operators. It’s just grass, sky, grass, sky, grass, sky… Sure, they say there’s a ball in there somewhere, but who can tell? I’d sooner watch live grandmaster chess.

    I have no strong opinions on the game of golf either way – it’s not for me, but other people seem to like it. As a TV spectator sport though, it’s utterly absurd – there’s nothing there to watch. Oh, look, there’s some grass! And some sky! More grass! More sky!

    There are single-celled algae that would be bored to the point of apoptosis by a mere hour or so of televised golf coverage.

  • glenn

    No professional sport is worth watching, money has totally corrupted it all. Well, there are a couple of exceptions – motorcycle racing, of course, and women’s beach-volleyball. Everything else totally blows.

  • Jack

    BBC? Might just as well call it Tass/Isvestia/whatever, these days. I haven’t trusted their political news coverage since the Falklands War.

    And it’s certainly high time the TV licence scandal was ended forever. Licensing arrangement of all kinds are almost always the most inefficient ways to raise money. And the need to have a licence for anything “capable of receiving a TV broadcast” is just a cynical way of obliging every home in the land to pay up whether they have a TV set or not. iPlayer – otherwise useless in my opinion – is just a gesture to justify this. Not to mention the implications of back-door licensing of computers – a wet dream of many Westminster rednecks for years.

    As for the TV Licensing unit – they’re little more than salaried thugs who demand money with menaces – often from the most vulnerable sections of society. Even where their victims are in the right (90% of the time in my own experience), trying to talk sense to them is a thankless exercise.

    Ultimately it’s about choice – and the denial of choice is a disgrace given the nature of TV these days. I have 200+ channels available on my freeview TV. I could have more if I wanted to use Sky or other subscription services. If I decline to pay for Murdoch & Co’s rubbish, why the hell should I be COMPELLED to pay for BBC channels?

  • Scouse Billy

    @ Glenn,

    The BBC even manages to ruin Moto GP.
    Eurosport’s coverage of Moto GP is IMO genius but we have unwittingly paid the BBC to get the main event exclusively live on the BBC. This means I have to listen to that Australian bozo, Charlie Cox alongside Steve Parrish and a bloody Blue Peter host type with his sycophantic shallow interviews.

    And have you noticed how the Sports Personality of the Year show has practically made Rossi a non-person when it comes to the Overseas award.

    Axe the bloody lot of them !!! rant over 😉

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