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Monday, September 24, 2007

BBC Cutbacks

The BBC are facing budgetary cutbacks. There have been calls for the Beeb to axe one of its digital channels instead of making "damaging cuts to core programmes" from big name presenters like John Humphrys.

Humphreys argument is that the BBC can't cater for everyone. But that is the fundamental dichotomy at the heart of the BBC. As it is funded by the tax payer it will always be under some pressure to cater for large chunks of the population or face calls for it to be funded by advertising.

Since I have had freeview I find myself watching more programmes on BBC3 and 4 than I do on BBC 1 and 2.

According to Sir Michael Lyons chair of the BBC Trust

"BBC Three is targeted at young people, which we know to be an audience the BBC doesn't adequately cover, and BBC Four tries to capture what we might call the best-informed viewers,"

"This is part of the BBC's ambition to touch every part of the audience, to offer something special to every single licence fee payer."

"It mustn't back off from that, otherwise I think it puts in jeopardy the very nature of its role in this country."

Humphrys said it was a "fundamental fallacy" that the corporation could cater for everybody.

To me the BBC should be doing things that the other broadcasters aren't doing. Programmes like Map Man, Wainwright's Walk and Sandrine Voillet's Paris. They are programmes you can't see appearing elsewhere.

Now this may surprise you but if I'm honest I'd scrap programmes like Autumnwatch and Springwatch and commission more programmes like Wildlife on One/Two. They don't have to be ultra serious. There was an excellent episode about Robin's in a Dorset garden. I'd tell Bill Oddie's producer to stop producing comedy programmes and sending him out with his bins. Birding with Bill Oddie was brilliant.

The BBC should stop cheap Aussie imports and do more like Who Do You Think Are.

I think you will find that large chunks of the British Public actually do like to watch intelligent programmes. Intelligent doesn't have to mean dry. Morecambe and Wise was intelligent, Dad's Army was intelligent, Blackadder was intelligent.


Mary said...

I find I watch very little TV nowadays as I really have no interest in soaps or reality TV.It seems now we have more channels , they are mostly showing repeats of the same commedy shows, which even if good, you can only watch so many times.
I agree spring watch spends far too much time on Bill and too little on the nature.I do like Natures calendar, but often I am preparing the evening meal when it is on.

st said...

yup, hit the nail on the head.

Kate said...

I agree! Comedy, natural history and drama have been the best thing about the BBC for years, but they have started to slide. Whoever commissions new programmes should look at the success of the channels which show repeats of the best BBC series and see how popular they are. That is what we want from Auntie.

Oh, and I agree, Spring/Autumn Watch would be more interesting with less Bill and more critters.

Mo said...

I'd agree about Naturewatch - so much of it is just waiting for something to happen. How many hours have we spent watching the entrance of a badger set! I loved Birding with Bill Oddie but these days he's more focused on trying to be funny.

And yes, Sandrine Viollet's Paris was brilliant as was Wainright's Walks.

Nature programmes are one of the few things I still watch on telly. Even Michael Palin has got jaded.