Monday 31 August 2015

The Great European Disaster Movie Part II

It looks as if the BBC has got some serious questions to answer today.

You will doubtless recall BBC Four's controversial pro-EU 'The Great European Disaster Movie':

The incendiary claim that the BBC had received EU money to finance this pro-EU 'mockumentary' was strongly denied by the BBC at the time:
A BBC spokesman responded to the accusations over EU funding and bias saying:
"No EU money was used in the making of the programme being aired on the BBC. Impartiality is of paramount importance for the BBC. 
This fictional programme reflects the author's vision. BBC editorial guidelines do not prevent the acquisition of independent programmes which approach subjects from a particular perspective."
And then, as is the way with such things, almost everyone forgot about it. Until now.

According to research into EU spending by the TaxPayers' Alliance, however, it now seems as if that BBC spokesman was talking out of his lying posterior and that the pro-EU 'mockumentary' was funded by the EU after all.

Here's the relevant bit from the TPA's press release:
Europe: Who Do You Think You Are?, a mockumentary set in 2060 originally planned to star Eddie Izzard as an archaeologist, given £71,000 (€96,991). Izzard was to narrate a "dystopian future" in which "the EU has disintegrated." The feature film - described as a "documentary" in the official description - was designed to argue "that despite the many flaws of the European Project, the case for togetherness remains overwhelming." This was shown in the UK on March 1st 2015 on BBC4 as The Great European Disaster Movie, starring Angus Deayton rather than Izzard. 
How will the BBC try to wriggle out of this one? 


  1. The Wake Up Foundation. a charity whose trustees include Piras, Emmott and ex-Beeboid Richard Sambrook, declared voluntary income of £70,147 in 2014. This amount is awfully similar to the £70,975 the TPA say was given by the EU to help finance the film. I'm wondering if these amounts are one and the same.

    More worrying is one ;Wake Up's' objectives:

    c) A civic education course for schools and universities based on a documentary about the European Union, to be made during 2014/15 by Piras's Springshot Productions. Following public broadcast of the film, the intention is that the Foundation would take over the educational rights to the film material, in order to produce this course.

    Would that documentary be The Great European Disaster Movie? My God, I think it is.

    1. Ah, the same Richard Sambrook who co-authored a Cardiff Universtiy report for the BBC which 'found' (unbelievably) that the BBC has an anti-EU bias:

  2. Shocking! I'm not sure I knew Izzard was supposed to be part of it but you can see why they had to drop him - a zealous Labour Party functionary was not good cover in the run up to the election. They must also have made it intentionally to sneak up to the boundary of the "purdah" period before the election.

  3. BTW this is definitely the way the EU operates - funding via what can be presented as "arm's length" agencies like "Creative Europe".

    The Migration Observatory in Oxford - which likes to present itself as a disinterested academic research body - also receives European Union money but it's all at several removes so difficult to track.


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