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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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We need the BBC to recover

The contract between the BBC and us is something of a complicated, highfalutin thing with charters and trusts, too many chiefs and not enough indians.

I prefer to think of it as a marriage. The ‘for better or worse’ kind. Not always happy, rarely without its differences, sometimes close to door-slamming fury.

But most of the time it’s better than nothing – and all of the time, it’s better than Phillip Schofield.

So, while many a bitter critic is relishing the idea of the BBC in meltdown, I’d like to throw in my threepenneth... which is my right as a licence payer and signatory to that contract.

Times are surely tough and we’re going to be stumbling over very rough terrain for some time to come. Voices will be raised, skeletons will fall from cupboards. But divorce is simply not an option. For better or worse is the deal.

Though we’d all benefit from the BBC being better, sooner rather than later, there’s a strong sense things may well grow worse before storms subside.

What went wrong with the Beeb didn’t start with Newsnight foul-ups, the humiliating on-air massacre of director general George Entwistle by one of his not so humble hacks John Humphrys, nor did the downhill slide accelerate necessarily when the DG resigned.

Wheels started to wobble and fall off years ago when, for no good reason, the BBC decided to engage in a ratings race with commercial media for the lowest common denominator of audiences.

State funded, come what may, the BBC has no reliance on advertising sales, audience figures or private investment. We get what we get from the corporation whether one person loves it or five million hate it. That’s what always led us to trust it.

When it was decided that getting news first – rather than getting it right – was to be a priority; that game shows, sitcoms, unreal reality shows, celebrities and soaps should beat ITV at its own game, dignity and gravitas left the building.

The new acting director general, Tim Davie has promised to get a grip at the BBC now George Entwistle has gone.

He’ll have a job. Already there’s anger that the outgoing DG is being paid £450,000 of our money for quitting a job he’d held for only seven weeks. Already there’s deep disappointment that chaos at an oversized institution gone wrong is occupying more minds than victims of child abuse, once so central to everybody’s concerns, now shifted to the margins – the inconveniently suffering side issues who inadvertently brought powerhouses tumbling down.

Maybe now, as restructuring and overhauls are promised, some lessons of latter years will be learned. The BBC is a valued institution. We own it, prize it and behind all the current bluster and blunders, actually love it.

Like a marriage. Bad patches come and go. The trick is to work through them, remember what was first so special and find it again.

Not all can do that. My sincere hope is that the BBC can and will regain the trust and respect it deserves.

Have your say

The government needs it more than us. It's just another way to spread lies and tax. Watch Russia Today for a better source of information. 6 Music is ok for tunes at certain times, but the propaganda broadcasts make me feel sick.

Posted by Shaun on 5 December 2012 at 01:40

It's not a legal requisite to have TV licence it is a scam, for only if you watch 'live' broadcasts but then nothing to say you gotta open your door or post is there? So what about Repeat programmes. think about it.

We the people should stop this Corporate rip off,in fact everyone should stop paying their licence in light of current and past bad behaviour but people are too spineless to do anything about it.

Let them go to the dogs or advertise like other channels and leave our poor pockets alone.

Search the internet asking if it is a legal requirement or even lawful.

Posted by Pete on 22 November 2012 at 13:36

View all 13 comments on this article

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