Call me naive, but I’ve always loved the Beeb, and its wet liberal ways. I loved the fact that it takes money from everyone and tried its best to please everyone, even if it failed, but disenchantment has set in, and I fear it is permanent.
It has been the case for several years that there really isn’t much on BBC Television that I actually like, unless it’s an import, in which case the BBC can hardly take credit. I quite liked The Killing, but only because it was a TV cop show without the same old familiar faces, the Sarah Parishes, the Juliet Stevensons and the David Dimwits. Even then, I didn’t bother with the third series, which I found dreadfully dull. Turns out that Danish television has the same problem with the same old faces turning up over and over again.
Just about the best thing the BBC has going for it is its archive of musical performances, seen most recently in their Totally British 70s Rock ‘n’ Roll compilations. Even then, they were so fucking bad at sound mixing, they often got things completely wrong, so there are people frozen in time with a terrible mix, and that’s all the film that exists: and in mono.
This archive is typical of the problem: it’s in the past. Where is the archive of today’s pop and rock acts? Jools Holland’s Later is unwatchable to me, and so horribly trendy and selective, you’re never going to find any of the weird and wonderful stuff in the Whistle Test and Top of the Pops archives. I’ll hate watching it in a few years’ time as much as I do now. And as to that archive, we have to remember that some of these shows were presented by fucking Savile. It was the BBC that kept giving him work, even though the audience was largely repelled by him.
I barely watch anything on mainstream BBC TV channels, and in terms of radio, I can live without everything, give or take Eddie Mair. But I would live with all that, on the basis that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the me, and I would forgive the BBC its terrible, repetitive storylines in EastEnders, and it’s badly written half-baked attempts at science fiction, and its dreadful David Attenborough programmes. Some people like them, apparently.
But their news coverage of late has been unforgivably bad: wrongheaded, biased, sycophantic. Whether they’re sucking up to the royal family, or boring the tits off us over some irrelevant religionists, or looking so far up their own arsehole that they disappear into a singularity, they spend too much time covering non-news. As to the real news: the dismantling of our welfare state, the creeping privatisation of the NHS and education system, or the endless lies about the failed economic policies of this unelected government, they’re too chickenshit to tell the truth. Or report it at all, in some cases.
Even with something as niche as technology news, they’ve become completely untrustworthy. Via daringfireball, I cam across this complete bilge of a story, a regurgitated Samsung press release from Samsung’s advertising and PR agency, which purports to give the Samsung “news” that people are more “inspired” by (take a wild guess) Samsung than they are by Samsung’s major rivals Apple, who are not Samsung. This is not the first time that the BBC has repeated, without challenge, a press release masquerading as a news story. And if they can’t be bothered to do that in this era of “post-industrial journalism”, who can?
Why would I defend an institution which makes no programmes I deem worth watching (I hated myself for trying to watch Dancing on the Edge), sucks up to a disgusting government, supports the position of an established church and a sickening monarchy, and can’t even be bothered to give us straight reporting on tech/business news? Why do I want to preserve an institution that’s just as infected with public school/Oxbridge graduates as our political system?
Fuck ’em. That’s it. Abolish them, bring on Fox News. I’ll use the off button.
- BBC accused of ‘self-indulgence’ over Television Centre farewell (telegraph.co.uk)
- Chaotic, toxic, frantic: how Savile crisis engulfed BBC (guardian.co.uk)