Sunday 7 December 2014

Danny, the Champion of the BBC

And talking of Rod Liddle's piece in today's Sunday Times...

...but I'm going to recommend the rest of his section on the BBC above all, as it's very good indeed. It begins: 
It is with enormous pleasure and, indeed, humility that I bring to you the latest utterings of Mr Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of television. Danny last made an appearance in this column back in March, with his considered opinion that he could earn at least twice his £320,000 BBC salary if he deserted the public sector and joined a private company.
I laughed so hard at this that I strained a muscle in my neck, and had to wear a brace for two weeks. It occurred to me then that Danny was a comedy jewel, to be treasured — certainly a lot funnier than the comedians he commissioned to make shows for the corporation, such as the vapid Russell Howard.
And now, as the days narrow and the rains come down, Danny has lifted our spirits again. In an impassioned outburst, he has demanded that the country’s journalists must — absolutely must — hold the BBC to account. How right he is.
But in what way should we do this, sir? Danny had the answer: “Stand by the BBC. Support it. Make the case for it. Speak up for it. Celebrate its achievements.” Well, it’s a tall order, Danny — all a bit rigorous for me, and at my age I get cramp if I bow too frequently. But I shall do my best. Here goes.
That, of course, refers to a speech made by Danny Cohen this week, in which the senior BBC manager appealed to each and every one of us to give the BBC a break:
So I make a direct and open plea to you tonight.
It is sincerely meant and acknowledges that the BBC doesn't get everything right, that it makes mistakes, that it is imperfect.
But despite these imperfections I ask you to stand by the BBC in the year ahead - support it, make the case for it, speak up for it, celebrate its achievements and help us make sure we can keep offering such an extraordinary range of programmes for all audiences.
Of course, you will always hold us to account - and so you should.
But if you ask yourself whether the UK and its audiences would be better off with a diminished BBC, unable to deliver the range of quality programmes in the coming years that I've just outlined, then I feel confident you will agree that a BBC that can flourish in a world of globalised media companies is the right thing for the UK and the right thing for audiences.
Perhaps this is time for a little less of the critical friend and a bit more of the friend.
So, "let's be friends!" says Danny Cohen. 

Now, thousands upon thousands of Danny's would-be friends who haven't been quite good enough friends to pay for their licence-fee-funded friend's funding mechanism have been taken to court by their would-be friends at the BBC in a none-too-friendly fashion. Maybe, the BBC should think about its responsibility as such people's friend too and be a good deal less heavy-handed. 

Anyhow, I don't think think we've made any efforts here at Is the BBC biased? to hide the fact that we do like a fair amount of what the BBC does (especially me!). We've even celebrated it from time to time here. But if Danny thinks that we're going to stop being critical and instead start angling for invites to Danny and Noreena's dinner parties and going on holiday with them to the Maldives then he's got another think coming (unless he's paying).

1 comment:

  1. Somebody's a bit scared of something. Difficult to tell exactly what, but this is a rather unseemly display. Is there another report due I'm forgetting about?


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