Saturday 14 May 2016

Saturday morning reading

Some Saturday morning reading (before we all head out into the sunshine):

And so it is with the BBC. At the recent puke-inducing Bafta awards ceremony, a lot of attention was paid to an impassioned and even tearful diatribe by one of the winners, the film director Peter Kosminsky. Peter won his award for the period bodice-ripping sludgefest that was Wolf Hall, which always induced in me a coma as soon as the title was sonorously announced by the continuity monkeys. So allow for a bit of private payback. An archetypal luvvie leftie, public school-educated, well-heeled and impeccably liberal, Kosminsky used his speech to lambast the government’s supposed proposals for ‘eviscerating’ the BBC — and, in particular, for announcing an intention to directly appoint the members of the corporation’s board. It will end up like the sort of media service you get in North Korea, Kosminsky wailed, while dressed in what appeared to be a quilted smoking jacket. 
Au contraire, Pete. It will be the opposite of that. Right now it’s a bit like that, isn’t it? Where the senior panjandrums of the quango-cracy cheerfully appoint people with views identical to their own to run every-thing in the country. Show me a social conservative on the BBC’s board right now, Pete. Show me someone who thinks Israel is perhaps a victim as well as an aggressor, or that gay people shouldn’t marry in church or that we have already let in too many migrants, or that a transgendered person’s gender at birth is more definitive than the one which he or she has subsequently assumed. What the Culture Media and Sport Secretary, John Whittingdale, proposes will increase diversity of opinion within the BBC. Hell, who knows, this openness may even be reflected, one day, in the Ten O’Clock News.
From Julian Lloyd Webber at the Times:
Tomorrow night the BBC will screen the final of its Young Musician 2016 competition. This will probably come as news to you as the BBC has been systematically downgrading its invaluable showcase for young classical musicians to the point where it now comes and goes almost unnoticed..... 
In its heyday the contest was truly The X Factor of its time. Shown live on BBC One on a Saturday evening, the final would attract more than 12 million viewers, ensuring that the winner became a household name overnight. In 1988 it was moved to BBC Two and by 2002 the heats were taken away to BBC Four, with only the final being shown on BBC Two. This year the entire competition has been farmed out to BBC Four and the final won’t even be shown live.... 
You don’t have to be a cynic to wonder if the corporation is paving the way to kill off its own creation. If that happens, declining viewer numbers will inevitably be cited, as the BBC continues to remain absurdly in thrall to ratings despite its hefty licence fee. Television ratings are no more a measure of success than police figures telling you how many criminals have been arrested while people feel unsafe to walk the streets.... 
With a charter that demands “promoting education and learning” and “stimulating creativity and cultural excellence” the BBC has an obligation to do far more than tick licence-fee boxes and should be far more proactive in reaching out to the majority. Diverting classical music to BBC Four, a channel that has less than 1 per cent of the viewing public, might be enough to satisfy the letter of the charter but it surely fails to embrace its spirit.
BBC refuses to reveal how much was spent on Top Gear's infamous Cenotaph stunt as critics accuse broadcaster of holding back information 'out of embarrassment'
  • BBC has said it was 'not obliged to provide information' on how much was spent on the Top Gear Cenotaph stunt 
  • It comes after MailOnline sent a Freedom of Information Request asking the broadcaster for a breakdown of costs
  • Critics accused BBC of holding back information 'out of embarrassment' saying the 'secrecy doesn't help anybody' 
  • BBC provoked fury in March when presenter Matt LeBlanc performed wheelspins and doughnuts by war memorial


  1. A Kominsky: As in "doing a Kominsky". The act of putting on an impassioned performance alleging that something that is not about to happen is nevertheless outrageous, even though it will never occur.

  2. JLW is correct. It puts the lie to the BBC's claim to operate to a higher standard. The only excuse not to show the final live is ratings. Unfortunately, ratings = quality public broadcasting was written into the last version of the Charter & Agreement, so this was inevitable.

    This also reveals the personal bias of controllers and upper management. That awful Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer show got abysmal ratings, but was renewed because the Beeboids liked it. Even though the competition field has been tear-jerkingly multicultural, and a black kid has made it to the finals, Classical music is still considered to be an upper class pastime, and so is unworthy.

    It's the hypocrisy that grates. They're always saying the Proms needs to be more multicultural or the audiences won't come, yet here is a very multicultural group of young people playing the music of living and dead white men but they can't be bothered.

    PS: Clarkson wouldn't have done that.


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