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Should the BBC be privatised?

From David Telford

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

As my new friend Tim B suggested, I have started a new thread for this pressing subject.

The BBC and the financing of it should in my opinion be restructured. The BBC provides a decent product, many of it's services are revered and there is no doubt the services are valuable. That is not my concern.
The elephant in the room is the licence fee, it must be cancelled as:

  • It's fast becoming uncollectable, technology has moved on so that the tellybox is no longer the only (and soon not even the foremost) method of receiving it's services.
  • It's easily avoidable
  • The service is available (with a little technical expertise) around the word for free
  • The licence fee is unfair, it hits the poorest in society who consume the fewest of the BBC services and favours the well off with expensive equipment and consume a great number of it's content.
  • It criminalises the poorest in society.
  • A simple transfer to adverts and subscription is easy and will create more money for services.
  • The need for policing the licence system is expensive.
    The BBC should be privatised because:
  • It's a very strong brand that can compete worldwide creating more jobs and tax income for the treasury
  • The sale will raise billions for the treasury and the economy will benefit.
  • Currently, the BBC crowds out private enterprise.
  • The covenants are not clear and BBC output is artificially restricted and the skills of it's staff are curtailed.

From Andy M

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

From a purely content point of view - and that's what, as a consumer, I'm interested in - if selling the BBC off were to make it more like the commercial channels then I am 100% against it. It's dumbed - down enough already. And no I don't feel like I'm discriminating against anyone because I want to watch reasonably intelligent programming!

From H Gregg

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Of course we should - preferably to Murdoch. Give it a bit of integrity :-)

From Christopher Reason

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Good god, no.

If there is anything on Sky or ITV that's worth watching (and there isn't much) it's only because the Beeb keeps them honest - or at least makes them feel obliged to look as though they're honest.

Take away the last broadcaster with a public service remit and you'll have wall to wall reality nonsense and talent shows.

Maybe that's what the contributor wants?

That said, there is probably a case to be made for funding the BBC in a cleverer way. But not advertising. There must be some part of our discourse that remain free from its pernicious influence.

From Jonathan Timbers

Thursday, 15 December 2011

It's a good point about how the licence fee is avoidable, but that can be fixed by putting a paywall on the wesbite. However, it tends to contradict the subsequent point (crocodile tears imho) about those on low income having to pay for the service.

In comparison with private providers, the BBC (along with Channel 4) is excellent value for money. For example, I haven't been able to watch a day's play at a test match since Sky got the rights because it would cost me at least £400 per year to do so. How do you afford that if you're on a low income or even on a moderate houshold income like ours? You can't. The BBC is much better value and provides better programming for our child than all the other channels put together.

Who wants to subsidise Murdoch and his mucky empire anyway (think News of the World and the hacking scandal)? Let the BBC continue to crowd out the s**t on commercial channels! In fact, let's close half of them down and regulate the rest strictly. Who wants to subject their children to yet more hours of advertising? They're under enough pressure from over commercialisation as it is.

Tell those employed by the s**t media to get proper jobs, as teachers or nurses or librarians, or engineers or agricultural workers or homecare workers. Something useful!

From Gena C

Thursday, 15 December 2011

No, no!

I absolutely do not mind having to pay the license fee and having, in return, the BBC and ad-free, quality television (especially when compared to other advertisement-filled channels.)

I come from the USA so I am quite used to TV channels that are filled with 10+ minutes worth of advertisements, where half-hour television shows are actually only about 20 minutes long because of all of those commercial breaks. You have free channels, i.e. CBS/NBC/ etcetera, where however there is the odd quality program, overall it's terribly annoying with the advertisements and not even close in comparison to the BBC (in my opinion.)

To see the BBC, something I have always appreciated in its programming, be privatised would just be awful.

I just cancelled my Sky subscription. Who needs it when you've got the BBC/BBC iPlayer/4oD?

My mother, when she visits here from the US, loves the BBC and its programming. She loves BBC news. Everything is much more... genuine? She thinks so, anyway.

When you involve advertisers, that also means you are involving them into every aspect of the programming.

There is a time and a place, and the BBC is not it.

Restructuring and finding a way to improve it without privatising, yes - go for it. But selling it off would be a bad idea. More private money doesn't always mean better.

From Olivia K

Thursday, 15 December 2011

I totally agree with the above comments. The BBC is well worth paying for - the radio and the television. Radio 4 and BBC6 Music are worth the fee in themselves - and anything good on tv is a bonus. I only have basic television and will always remain that way for as long as the BBC exists. Dark comedies like Nighty Night are BBC gems!

From Paul W

Thursday, 15 December 2011

I think what's missing from this debate is a sense of perspective. The BBC is the only telly channel that sends its goons round to intimidate the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable. The licence fee is extremely regressive and unfair, as well as being expensive. Not only that, there is no choice in the matter. Whatever you think of Murdoch, at least Sky TV don't send their heavies round and criminalise the poor.

Many people have been imprisoned for default on fines for TV licence evasion, and a disproportionate number of them are women. The people that the TV licence inspectors are most likely to catch out are the elderly, unemployed and young mothers.

Why are people so afraid of adverts? The BBC has adverts, but only for its own products (cash in books, DVDs etc).

The fee should be scrapped and the BBC paid for by taxation or adverts or both. If you want your BBC4 documentary about Mongolian yoghurt knitters, this shouldn't be at the expense of the most vulnerable in society.

There. I've said it. It's just a channel on the telly. They should hang their heads in shame for the harm their licence fee evasion policy has done to many hundreds of people.

From David Telford

Thursday, 15 December 2011

I think I haven't made myself clear in that I don't think the BBC's service is bad, there are some great programmes.

I don't think there should be an assumption that ownership change would mean a worsening of output. When Volkswagen took over Rolls Royce, Rolls Royce did not ditch the luxury cars in favour of hatchbacks, instead the product maintained the quality and improved. Similarly when British Gas & Telecom was privatised the service improved immeasurably and price went down. Business owners do not tend to take over another brand in order to do what they could have done with their own brand so it's unlikely ITV would buy it only to run repeats of Coronation St, X factor and I'm a cleleb . In private hands, the owners would be careful to protect the goodwill in the brand but I'd have thought the money would be made in exploiting the brand by expanding its content beyond the UK.
The assumption that Murdoch would buy it is also a big leap. I'm sure he'd like to but it'd be very expensive. Privatisations have tended to be sold to UK shareholders and over time, it will be up to them who they sell the corporation to.

Adverts on the BBC would not be a bad thing. They are a very fair way of raising revenue as the viewer pays by accepting adverts into his / her viewing area. Digital telly allows those who object to adverts to pay a subscription and receive the content ad-free it's not likely to be a problem. As for adverts influencing service, this is not true of BBC worldwide of UKtv nor has it effective Ch4.

From James Baker

Thursday, 15 December 2011

My view is that we should reduce the amount the BBC spends on entertainment. Why for instance should we as licence payers have to fork out the £6m a year that Jonathan Ross was on with his last contract. Then there are all the executives and board members on salaries £300-600K.

Keep the BBC but keep it as a public service broadcaster doing news, factual programs such as the wonderful Frozen Planet and a radio service for things you can't get on commercial stations.

Licence fee payers shouldn't have to supplement entertainers they can watch on commercial channels. I would be happy for all the entertainment side of the BBC to be privatised.

From Jim M

Friday, 16 December 2011

I must admit that I do not like the idea of privatising the BBC- but is there is a practical objection. Could advertising fund the BBC at its present level of excellence ?

Commercial traditional media, including television, is struggling as advertising spend migrates to the net, so I am told. A look at ITV seems to confirm this. And I am suspicious that lots of anti BBC opinion is encouraged by those with other agendas - such as the Murdochs or climate change deniers.

I for one am prepared to keep on paying the Licence Fee.

From David Telford

Friday, 16 December 2011

Paul W has it right in that the TV tax is really an unfair tax and the alternative to the TV tax isn't just privatisation, adding a few percent to VAT or income tax would certainly be fairer. The BBC run adverts about itself saying the "unique way it is funded" sometimes things are unique because they are bliddy stupid! For me, privatisation would be netter because privatisaton unlocks the potential for the BBC to generate real income on a global scale. Instead of being a burden on the public, the BBC could be a net contributor through the tax take.

Whilst I see James Baker's point that Frozen Planet is a great program & begrudging the licence fee paying for Jonathan Ross or Graham Norton. This comes down to personal preference, for those who like Graham Norton & see Frozen Planet as a waste of money, there would be a counter argument, the bottom line is you still get thrown into prison if you don't pay a TV tax regardless of whether you like all the BBC's output or none of it, the fact you've dared to pay £20 for a 2nd hand Tellybox means by law you will pay £200 of your gross salary per annum or it's jail.
I'm making an assumption of the wealth of other contributors but it's great for the middle classes to say that £200 of their salary on telly programs is great value but that should be a personal choice. For some, £200 takes a lot of earning and they don't take any BBC services. I have a rather well off friend who will tell me the £55k he spend on a Range Rover was good value for the ride quality alone which is fine because it's his choice, it would be different if I was forced to hand over £55k too just because I have the chance to access such a vehicle when all I ever drive is a Nissan Figaro.

Paul is also right about adverts, we have the guys on wheelchairs, the plane going around the Angel of the North and countless trailers for up & coming BBC shows, DVDs, books & magazines. Would it really be so bad that we swap that for someone selling shake 'n vac?


From Jason Elliott

Friday, 16 December 2011

I'm not sure how David Telford can possibily put forward the suggestion that BT is an example of a company that provides good service and products! He obviously has had very little dealings with them.

They recently left my business without phones for ten days, entirely due to their own incompetence and inability to communicate internally, causing a £15000 cashflow shortfall for which they are entirely unaccountable.

If he thinks that it would be a "good thing" for the BBC to go down this route he obviously needs to go for a long lie down in a dark room.

On the other side of the coin, Sky on average get £40 a month from their customers which is considerably more than the BBC, and with plenty of adverts.

As a parent, I take great respite in the fact that there are channels my kids can watch which don't constantly bombard them with advertising.

Considering the quality of the programming, the broadness of the range of services, and the relative lack of political bias in their reporting, the BBC licence fee represents excellent value for money.

Who we are used to be defined by what we did, not what we owned, so any attempt to corrupt and change an advertiser-free media channel and pepper it with commercial messages telling us that our lives are unfulfilled unless we buy this or that product will never get my support.

Long may the BBC continue and thrive.


From James Baker

Friday, 16 December 2011

My argument David is that you should retain the public service aspect of the BBC, but privatize the entertainment parts of it. The education and news aspects ensures that even people who can't afford an expensive sky project have access. I don't think the market would supply things like the open University or GSCE Bitesize to those on the poverty line. Although you could perhaps create government grants and allow private providers to bid for public service broadcasting

I like the market to do most things and consider myself an economic liberal. The entertainment side of the BBC is essentially a luxury and I don't think the state should be in the business of providing entertainment services.

I also think the TV license is a stupid way of paying for the BBC. How much is wasted on threatening letters when it could be taken out something related to income such as income tax.

I think the BBC already sells things overseas. I'm led to believe Clarkson and top gear does very well.

From Graham Barker

Friday, 16 December 2011

The strongest argument against privatising the BBC can be summed up in one word: Berlusconi. Own the media, then own the state. And nobody need buy the BBC outright. A Murdoch or a Google might gain a controlling interest with only 33 per cent of the shares.

The licence fee should be a lot lower, the BBC's own expansionism should be reined in and grotesque management salaries and bonuses should stop. But most non-Murdochs who advocate privatisation don't want improvement; they just want to save themselves the cost of the licence fee and don't see or care what we all stand to lose. That biblical expression about selling your birthright for a mess of pottage comes to mind.

From Myra James

Friday, 16 December 2011

No, the BBC shouldn't be privatised and I can't add much to what everyone else has said. I disagree with James Baker's proposition that the BBC should become purely a public service broadcaster, concentratingon news and documentaries. I think the very broad range of broadcasting is essential to the success of the BBC. A few years ago the Beeb went a little too far down the line of copying its commercial competitors, with a host of "makeover" and similar programmes, but learned from the response to those and now, I think, has a better balance. Has BBC radio been mentioned? I'd support the licence fee just to keep Radio 4 going!

From Jonathan Timbers

Sunday, 18 December 2011

I think it is worth mentioning that the 'entertainment' side of the BBC provides a showcase for our best dramatists and comedians. Entertainment also embraces music of course, including classical music. Which other network would have supported someone like John Peel for decades (or Whitworth-born Andy Kershaw, now on Radio 3!), with his enthusiasm? The BBC also supports two world class orchestras and provides opportunities for our brightest and best young classical instrumentalists.

The entertainment side of the BBC also provides a bridge over which people of different classes can cross into different cultural landscapes. It certainly helped me a lot when I was young. James is probably too young to remember the complete Shakespeare that the BBC did or the kind of lives and issues it highlighted through Play for Today? Or more recently, brilliant comedies like Royle Family or Ideal (its subject matter so familiar to those of us who were around here in the 1990s)

I just wish they'd get cricket back on the Beeb! Although some might prefer endless makeover programmes to Geoff Boycott explaining how his gran could bowl better!

From David Telford

Monday, 19 December 2011

Jonathan, the output of the BBC and privatisation are not exclusive. The fact is as a state broadcaster, there is a conflict in it's role of "star maker" for the highly commercial music industry.

There is a huge problem with the BBC using public money to broadcast cricket when its proven that the private sector will provide that service (& in the case of football and cricket) do it far better than the rather staid BBC. BBC showing the likes of football and F1 is a classic case of crowding out.

The BBC must either:

Remove it's commercial output and become a true public broadcaster of content that commercial channels will not touch.


Compete fairly and accept prvatisation

From Paul Clarke

Monday, 19 December 2011

I can give you one simple reason why the BBC shouldn't be privatised . . . Rev.

I was sat watching this beautifully written and acted sitcom with Mr Telford's robotic and boring addiction to the free market in mind.

It was clear that it would never get made on a commercial station because it is the classic slow burner that needs time to find an audience.

Compare this series of sheer brilliance to the tripe masquerading as original programming on Sky and it is clear it would never find a home there.

As a life long atheist it might surprise people to see someone like me watching Rev but it has a humanity I find lacking in Mr Trelford and his mini me Cllr Baker.

It is a programme that show us faith - god or the free market - should never lack reflection or consideration of how we can help our fellow man. This week when Rev was faced with the choice between his faith and his wife was utterly heartbreaking as was the final scene.

Does anyone seriously think the Murdochs would understand any of that let alone commission it?

The BBC can be utterly irritating - Alan Yentob mostly - and wasteful - Alan Yentob mostly - but is also the home of this life affirming show and some the greatest programmes ever made and continues to produce magical shows like Sherlock.

We pay the licence fee so the BBC can take risks on our behalf and and the few quid a month I pay is well worth it.

I don't like paying for BBC 3 and 4, which I never listen to, but supporting the local middle class is a small price to pay for a last bastion against free market fanatics like Murdochs and messers Telford and Baker.

From Mick Piggott

Monday, 19 December 2011

We've lived through more than three decades of increasingly right-wing governments that seem to think that everything should be privatised. (Shamefully, this includes Labour governments.)

British Gas, BT, British Rail were all subjected to the argument that privatisation would make businesses more efficient. All have proven that the opposite is the case: privatisation is imposed so that a bunch of parasites can suck profits out of the community while providing a more expensive and much worse service.

My question is, why should anything be privatised? At the very least, utilities, major industries and public services (especially the NHS) should remain in the hands of the public.

The only area where I might find some agreement with the more right-wing correspondents is in opposing the imposition of the anachronistic license fee. The ABC in Australia has no license fee and the service is financed out of general taxation. And the service is no more subject to Australian government pressure or even control than the BBC is, for all its much-vaunted 'independence' bought by the license fee. Nor is the service noticeably worse.

That's not say that the bloated salaries of the BBC's top bureaucrats shouldn't be drastically reduced. Of course they should! So should those of useless, rubbishy so-called 'entertainers' such as certain talk-show hosts, some of whom get millions. That's totally stupid.

Subject to that, the BBC should, most certainly, remain in public ownership.

From David Telford

Monday, 19 December 2011

It's lovely that you enjoy Rev but it's a wild assumption that Rev can't be made by commercial TV. The fact is does come from a commercial TV production company puts a lie to your argument (not for the first time). It's also just an example of you wanting your own preferences subsidised by people who are not as well off than yourself.

You are also making a mistake by assuming that privatisation automatically means it will be sold to News Corp. That is the most unlikely thing to happen given the monopolies & mergers issues. Privatisation will mean that shareholders own the media company and they will decide on how to best deliver it's product in exchange for the creation of long-term wealth.

There have been alternatives put forward:

  • The tv tax is unfair, perhaps it should be funded by general taxation. Put an identifiable 1% on income tax would leave an average earner no better off but the likes of your good self will have to pay a little more.
  • Simply pare back the BBC to be a public service broadcaster and restrict it's activity to only produce content that truly would not be producted by another telly / media business.

I prefer privatisation because it will maximise the income to the treasury thereby allowing to keep the core-services and the BBC can be set free. I take James Baker's point that government could provide grants and allow all private providers to bid for public service broadcasting.

Mick Piggott, I'd just turn your question around because in a liberal democracy we ask "is there a good reason for the state to provide a service?" The valid reason for the state to provide service is market failure. When TV was invented, there was good reason for the state to provide the service. It was cripplingly expensive to produce a TV programme with a tiny audience and seemingly impossible to create income from TV.

Only the state could afford to throw enough money given the state was able to earn so much in propaganda is was worthwhile for the state as opposed to advertising income. Nowadays, the opposite is true, we can all produce a fairly decent ? hour of entertainment with a camera and software costing less money than Paul C spends on luxuries in a week. The telly & radio market is now huge with many players and it's easy to join the market. Nobody is priced out of the market in that the consumer either swaps money fo r viewing or accepts advertising. In any measure, the media market is not one which is failing.

I'm not so sure that you can say privatisation has been a failure. BT has delivered a vast array of better services and drastically cut prices since privatisation. Similarly, Gas & water has been far cheaper in the post privatisation era. Rail has had a mixed success but the cost to the treasury has fallen dramatically per passenger and the number of passenger miles has gone through the roof compared to British rail days.
I think most independent observers would agree that for public services, we need the best universal service for as little money as possible, if that means private companies so be it, if it means the state provides, again, so be it.

From Jonathan Timbers

Monday, 19 December 2011

John Peel, picking winners for the 'highly commercial' popular music market? Get with it, David, which planet have you been on for the last thirty years? Oh yes, the Planet 'Free Market', where no human life can be detected.

BTW, I know you're averse to facts outside of your world view, but since cricket went to Sky, audience figures for Ashes tests went down from 7 to 2 million! That was innovative, wasn't it? A triumph for capitalism! It just goes to show that private enterprise is dynamic and vibrant and er . . . .

Clean bowled!

From Paul Clarke

Monday, 19 December 2011

David is now bullying me by suggesting I am a closet multi milionaire which I'm not..I wish.

Only joking as I'm not so stupid that I think someone disagreeing with me constitutes
playground bullying as has been suggested.

Yes, it is true that Rev is made by an independent producer as part of the quota demanded of the BBC to create a mixed economy in production.

But it is commissioned and paid for by us via the BBC. A BBC prepared to take risks as I pointed out.

I don't assume that Murdoch would buy the BBC but selling it off would mean a rapid drive to the bottom and the outraged middles classes of Hebden enduring ads during the self important Today programme.

David accuses of me of not caring about poor people - as if he does - but then suggests instead of a licence fee that is affordable to most we should subscribe to more expensive and inferior services like Sky.

I used to work in TV - private and public - and saw first hand the impact on quality when budgets were slashed. Sure we can run round with camcorders but the result is rubbish. Look at the decline of quality of regional TV on BBC and ITV for an example of that. BTW...tell ad driven ITV that TV isn't suffering in this recession.

All David wants is a headlong drive to the bottom where we know cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Surely only David can think our present rail system is better than British Rail. I pay a huge amount of money every (flogging off publicly owned companies doesn't always mean cheaper prices for the consumer) to travel on an overcrowded system reliant on outdated rolling stock. The direct result of the profit motive. It might costsGideon less but it costs me much more.

In David's world we would be able to access inferior TV at a greater cost...what a wonderful place that would be.

Mind you, I should stop 'bleating', grab my camcorder and shoot Rev on my street. It would save money but it would be utter crap.

From David Telford

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Oh Mr Timbers, sweets from a baby time! I'm afraid the music business is 'highly commercial' and the bbc has been guilty of ruining careers for those who didn't fit in with the whims of the BBC, Status Quo found themselves off air whilst bing in the charts, Gary Newman was playing to full houses and ignored by the state broadcaster. Sometimes it didn't work, radio one tried to ban this filth with fgth but they were straight in at number one.

John Peel's hands are clean of course (sarcasm coming up) whilst he was playing his discs, they earned critical acclaim and commercial success it would have been suspect if the majority of those artists were signed to his strange fruit label, you know the one he ran with your very own Andy Kershaw. With a rather ironic twist, as shareholders, they sold out to another "star maker" label BMG owned by the one chap who'd honed the art of promoting his artists on his own show, that's right, Mr Simon Cowell! It would seem the planet I've been on has been renamed Planet 'smell the coffee'.

From Jonathan Timbers

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

David, I love your neo-stalinist reasoning, 'in a liberal democracy we ask "is there a good reason for the state to provide a service?",. So, in a democracy you're going to tell us what questions about the economic order we can ask? That's not really democracy, is it?

Well, sorry to disappoint, David, it's not coffee I smell, but obsession, carried to convoluted lengths as your posts shows.

Nice to see you standing up for Status Quo though! Not so sure about Gary Numan! Is he a special favourite of yours?

I regret to say that you do write as if you never actually listened to John Peel, but, hey, I wouldn't want reality to stand in the way between you and your beliefs! Who needs a sense of proportion in Hebden Bridge anyway!

From David Telford

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Paul Clarke I only suggest you are a "closet multi milionaire" by taking your comment that the VAT increase would cost you £500 pm. That means you spend over £20k on luxuries, that's the spending of a man of some means.

The assumption you make is that privatisation results in a rapid drive to the bottom. This is very unlikely as anyone investing in the BBC is not going to remove it's USP of strong programming and worldwide brand. An investor is going to exploit this not throw it away. An investor is likely to look at cost savings in the background. It's long been a gag that when we ask hte question 'how many people work in the bbc? the answer is 'around 10%', like most gags, ther is more than a hint of truth in this.

I'm sorry if i missed this decline in regional TV but where is it?

It's not surprising you wish to keep the gravey train running with the BBC as it is if you've worked for them before, given the nepotism and 'who you lnow' culture within the beeb, it's not the time to upset the hand that feeeds you, especially as are universities seem to only produce hey nonny nonny media students these days.

I'm afraid I do think our present rail system is better than British Rail. The fact that the rail system carries more passengers than at any time under nationalisation (except wartime) I'd suggest the public pretty much agree with that, their voting with their utility.

In my world, we would be able to access TV at less cost, whilst that is a wonderful place to be, I don't really think the TV is that importand is it?

Jonathan, I think you've ran yourself out there, possibly in the confusion of mourning the death of your dear leader. I'm not sure how my youthful listening habits can be gleaned from my post. Status quo & Gary Newman were unlikely to feature in a Peel session nor will he find a DAT demo in his postbag but the point is, be it Hairy Cornflake DLT through to John Peel they, as were able to promote, make or break an artist in a very commercial world. It does not matter if that is a bland pop act being plugged by the likes of EMI through or Steve Morris sending in a demo of Joy Division to Peel , the point is the BBC or it's Disco jocks are able to promote the artist and in Peel's case, sign the artist to his own label on the side and help the artist achieve commercial success. At least Simon Cowell is up front about it and not taking the public's coin by force of law in doing so.

Paul Clarke, I assume you're wealthy because of your post here.

The point you don't take on board is that any investor in hte BBC is not going to throw out the BBC's USP and damage it's worldwide brand. I'd expect an investor to bring in managment that can exploit the brand accross the world and find efficiencies. We all know the joke about how many people work in the BBC? th eanswer being about 10%, there must be efficiencies to gain. That does not mean a "rapid drive to the bottom" it means that the Today programme will gain listeners it will make money. I've not noticed this decline of quality in regional TV you talk about and if there is, sure;y privatising the BBC will give it a lease of life. I'd agree that ITV would not really welcome a private Beeb and perhaps they'd take a stake to share costs etc but it doesn't matter too much.

Privatisation does improve things in many cases, I'm not the only one to "think our present rail system is better than British Rail.", the network has more passengers now than British Rail ever did as a state owned enterprise with the exception of war-time when the passengers were troops. What does that tell you?

From Christopher Reason

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

In nearly twenty years of writing for TV, I've worked for both the BBC and ITV extensively.

ITV might pay more but in every other respect they come off worse. And it comes down to the bottom line. I worked for a year or so for the late and entirely unlamented Bill. They had a ludicrous 'rule' that a police officer had to be in 'jeopardy' before every ad break, quite regardless of the story you were trying to tell. Why? Because they were terrified that the viewer might switch channels if they weren't.

Proof for this? There was none. Just commercial paranoia.

Furthermore, ITV think nothing of altering a writer's work without their knowledge or consent. Because they've bought you off with the big fee, they feel entitled to treat you with something bordering on contempt.

Now the Beeb ain't perfect - but taking Rev as a good guide, I'd be intrigued to hear David T quote one example where ITV has taken a risk with something a bit outre and backed it in prime time.

We might be in for a long wait.

From James Baker

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

"As a life long atheist it might surprise people to see someone like me watching Rev but it has a humanity I find lacking in Mr Trelford and his mini me Cllr Baker."

It's ok Paul I have enough humanity to forgive your rudeness.

From Jonathan Timbers

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

You caught me, David! Yes, the great leader is dead!

I refer, of course, to Vaclav Havel. You will enjoy reading his expose and analysis of the corrosive mind control of bureaucratic state run communist societies in his essay, 'The Power of the Powerless':

It's worth reminding ourselves that there is good reason to be thankful that we live in a society where people are free to own property and consumer choice offers a valid - if limited - form of accountability for those who provide economic, cultural and social activities.

From David Telford

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Christopher Reason, Independent TV takes risks, the porn channels take risks that would never see the light of day on BBC, Channel 4 is far better than BBC2 and it has adverts. Even in the mainstream, Coronation Street is far better written and takes far more risks with it's plot and humour compared to the BBC's poor imitation. Brookside went with the lesbian kiss whilst Eastenders wouldn't do anything with their gay characters. When the BBC was giving us 'My Family' ITV took risks on 'Benidorm'. Go back a bit and the BBC's safe London centric Dixon of Dock green was trumped by ITV's Z cars.

Now, I'd agree with you ITV's output is patchy but it's up against BBC1 which, for the best part, knocks out poor imitations of it's commercial rival. Compare ITV's TOWIE withthe BBC version, X factor compared to popstars or strictly dancing? All the BBC 1 output could be privatised, there is nothing special in it. The apprentice is a Trump franchise, cookery programs are everywhere. I only knew BBC had replaced nationwide when Jerremy Clarkson did his (pretty good) gag on it.

From Christopher Reason

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

I don't quite know where to start with David T's last contribution.

His idea of 'original' and mine dwell in different universes.

I'll accept, however, that Z Cars was groundbreaking and ahead of the game.

But then of course it was (as any fule kno) made by the BBC.


From Paul Clarke

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

So David's latest argument for flogging off the BBC is that they should scrap nearly a century of excellence and ape the 'innovation' shown by the porn industry. Quite mad.

So his new schedule would include:

My Naked Family; Top Shag; MiLF's presenting the One Show; Strictly Come Bonking; Nude World Championship Darts.

David's brand of strange thinking is where a combination of an unhealthy obsession with the free market and ignorance ends up.

I actually hate My Family (the new Terry and June) but I'm willing to have it so niche programmes like Rev, Him and Her and Miranda find time to gather an audience.

I sat and watched the Xmas episode of Rev with tears in my eyes. I had the same reaction when I watched the Benidorm Xmas special but they were tears of self loathing for looking at it.

Public bad and private good is just a really silly position.

Unlike David I was lucky enough to work at the Beeb. I worked 14 hour days in the desert making programmes where every penny was watched but a hard working team pulled together to create programmes we could be proud and were viewed by millions. Maybe I was one of the 10% - David's unsourced figure - who work hard at the Beeb.

My experience was that the vast majority of BBC employees worked hard and kept an eye on spending. I also had a long career in the private TV sector and the same applied there.

Public - most good, some bad. Private - most good, some bad.

BTW . . . the London centric BBC produced Z Cars which was as early as 1962 was set on Merseyside . . . but, hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good old free market rant.