As the effects of that enormous Christmas turkey continue to wear off (and, no, I don't mean Still Open All Hours), here's a little pre-New Year BBC-related reading from the newspapers to while away a few minutes of your tedious post-Christmas Saturday morning. I leave you to form your own opinions.
1. Sir Tim Berners-Lee banned from having atheist on Radio 4's Thought for the Day (Daily Telegraph)
The BBC has banned Sir Tim Berners-Lee from having an atheist deliver Thought for the Day as he guest edited Radio 4’s Today programme, saying it must be spoken by a believer.Sir Tim, who was invited to edit the flagship news programme on Boxing Day, had intended to employ an atheist to read the traditional Thought for the Day, in order to best represent Britain as a whole.But, he has disclosed, the move was prohibited by the BBC, which insists the slot must be filled by a religious leader.
2. 'The BBC think we are a Neanderthal lot' (Daily Telegraph)
Sir Barney [White-Spunner, head of the Countryside Alliance] is particularly exercised about the BBC and its coverage – or lack of it – of rural issues. “We do not think the BBC is balanced or fair. It gives a view of rural England as seen from central London and when the BBC say we try to give a balanced view they mean a balanced view between two people in central London, not between central London and the countryside.”The Countryfile programme, for example, gives a “metropolitan view” of rural England, and skirts around important farming issues such as shooting. He wants the BBC to appoint a rural affairs editor to rebalance its coverage. The corporation, he complains, is “redolent of an attitude that says we are in some way a rather Neanderthal lot”.
3. Blunkett calls for new rules on TV satire of politicians (The Times)
David Blunkett has suggested that comedy shows such as Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You should be reclassified as current affairs programmes in order to face tougher scrutiny from libel lawyers.The former Home Secretary said that the line between what is considered comedy and what is targeted abuse towards politicians has become blurred and may now require tougher regulation.Mr Blunkett said: “The protection that broadcasters in particular have is ‘Well, everybody knows this is comedy don’t they?’ So it’s not libellous, it’s not dangerous in the sense that it’s targeted and therefore vicious towards an individual. And I think we need to watch that.”The Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough told the Radio 4 documentary, When Comedy and Politics Collide: “Sometimes actually it isn’t comedy, it’s comment and current affairs in the middle of what is supposed to be a comedy programme. There’s a bit more of that going on at the moment.”Mr Blunkett’s blindness was targeted in the BBC comedy Mock The Week two years ago. A joke in a 2010 episode said: “Sometimes Ministers would break up boring Cabinet meetings by convincing David Blunkett he was black.”
Lord Patten of Barnes is a “busted flush” and must resign as the chairman of the BBC Trust after being damaged by scandals over Jimmy Savile and payoffs to executives, according to Greg Dyke, the broadcaster’s former director-general.“The BBC has a problem in the sense it’s got a busted flush as chairman,” he said. “I am surprised (Patten) is still there. It would probably help if he wasn’t.”Mr Dyke, who ran the corporation between January 2000 and 2004 and is now chairman of the Football Association, denounced the confusion in the BBC’s leadership and called for its supporters rally in its defence.He is the second former director-general to round on Lord Patten after Mark Thompson, who left the job last year, accused him of misleading Parliament over payments to departing executives.
5. OLD HEFFER'S ALMANAC 2014: As is traditional at this time of year, Old Heffer brings out his trusty crystal ball (Daily Mail)
January:Latvia becomes the 18th nation to adopt the euro with a promise of huge bail-outs if its economy fails.
February:Six weeks after entering the euro, Latvia applies for a €5 billion bail-out.
March:The first same-sex marriages take place in Britain, with Sir Elton John going top of the charts with his new song, Kiss The Groom.
June:The first same-sex divorces take place in Britain.
November:David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband pose for a ‘selfie’ in front of the Cenotaph on Armistice Day.
December:On the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s death, the BBC repeats all 100 programmes it had broadcast to mark his passing in 2013, and screens several dozen specially commissioned new ones.