Sunday 12 July 2015

"Please do not touch!"

From this morning's paper review on the BBC News Channel:

Gavin Esler: Let's move onto somebody else who's on the naughty step, which is the BBC, it would appear. The Sunday Times...

James Rampton, The Independent: The whole BBC!

Gavin Esler: The whole of the BBC! "The Tories give the BBC reform ultimatum. Demands for broadcaster to stop chasing viewers" and very interesting kind of panel of people who are going to comment to the Culture Secretary on how the BBC should function in the future...

Shyama Perera, journalist: And do you know, Gavin, I'm old enough to remember when the BBC was told to become more populist because actually it wasn't earning its licence in viewing figures. So this again is this kind of daft 'swings and roundabouts', 'let's attack the BBC'. 'sometimes they don't get enough viewers', 'now they're getting too many.' I would argue...and they picked out The Voice as an example of the sort of programme the BBC should not be doing. I would argue that programmes like The Voice educate, entertain and inform, which is what public service is about - in many, many ways, because they are absolutely geared to public and social and culture life today. And they are extremely instructive as well as being joyous. It's almost like the government wants to suck joy out of the BBC. And, you know, there's this bizarre British way of thinking, which is that if you do anything public service it should be miserable and it should {indecipherable} money. Do you know what I mean?...

James Rampton: Eat your greens!

Shyama Perera: You should not have enough to live. If you're a teacher you should not have enough to live. If you're the BBC you should have enough to make  programmes. It's a ridiculous misconception where joy and know, things that educate and inform the public are considered very low compared to selling cans of fizzy drink and creating lots of wealth on computer screens somewhere in the city.

James Rampton: I absolutely agree with you, and I think this idea we should only have Open University programmes presented by men with beards and sandals is absolutely absurd. The BBC. I think...and I'm not an employee of the BBC, so I can say out greatest institution after the NHS. I think people feel incredibly proud and passionate in defending it, and I think there are certain newspapers with vested interests that attack it every single day, and I find it really tiresome. And the government seems to be taking up that cudgel. But if you threaten the BBC I know, British people are generally quite calm, we've never had a revolution...they would be outside this very building with placards and very polite posters saying "Please do not touch!" because people feel very fondly towards it.

Shyama Perera: Yes.

James Rampton: All of that passionately.

Shyama Perera: Yes, and I think that's absolutely right, and actually I'm usually quite sympathetic to these people who are beating up the BBC, because I do think it's a bit soft, I do think it's a bit left, I do think, you know, sometimes it takes on the role of nanny...but it's already now really been made into the nanny. You know, we've got to look after the elderly over 75 because the BBC now has to take the responsibility for that, and now the BBC has to take the responsibility for, you know, dull stuff...You know, Channel 4 tried that. It didn't work, did it?

James Rampton: It's also very patronising because everybody pays the licence fee, therefore everybody should be served. To say you can't have programmes like The Voice or Eastenders because people who went to Oxbridge or who are MPs don't like them is incredibly condescending.

Gavin Esler: Well, let's quickly look through...the Mail's got....

It could almost have been Dateline London. Everyone agreeing with each other.


  1. So many straw men, so little time to knock them all down.

    1. "Straw men" is exactly the phrase I thought of too, David. It was like a mass rally for scarecrows.

      I posted it to let it stand as an early example of what we're going to hearing a lot of in the coming months/years.

  2. Comes to something to make Steve Hewlett, his shows, specials and of course guests, seem almost objective. But Gav has done it again.

    These 'review' shows are getting a bit silly now, with the guests doing the reviewing seemingly almost all sourced from a very 'safe set of quotes' box.


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