Good morning. Here is the news. Beginning with Jeremy Paxman in The Daily Telegraph:
For so long a world leader, the BBC has grown fat and metropolitan, increasingly scorning the views of the parochial people who are forced to pay for it. When given its head, the BBC can still produce brilliant shows like Strictly Come Dancing but, at an institutional level, it behaves more and more like an embarrassing relative deciding to dance with the kids at a wedding. It’s hard to resist the impression of smug people who think they know better than the rest of us. The consoling glory is that none of us has to tune in any more.
And here's Simon Heffer, also in The Daily Telegraph:
No-one over the age of 55 who tries to watch BBC television or listen to its radio services will be surprised to learn, from Ofcom’s latest report on the Corporation, that people in their demographic are gradually giving up on it. As one in that age group, my own consumption of what the BBC offers is largely restricted to Radio 3, which shines like the proverbial good deed in a naughty world.
Elsewhere, Radio 4 appears to have become Victim Radio, with an endless stream of programmes featuring people, usually from minorities, complaining about some injustice, usually inflicted on them by the state. This schedule of gloom is punctuated by profoundly unfunny Leftist comedians (I use that noun in its broadest, often unintentional sense). My wife likes Gardeners’ World, but that is becoming ostentatiously woke and in any case is now off for the winter. Other than that, little else appeals: the world our age group really wants to see on television is best represented on the Talking Pictures channel, whose success, believe me, is not coincidental to the BBC’s decline.
Incidentally, in the same article, Simon Heffer laments the state of BBC drama and blames it on "the virtue-signalling of overpaid, self-righteous white executives", but BBC News is hardly immune from that. Head of Newsgathering Jonathan Munro, for example, recently said, "We don’t want all our editorial meetings to be dominated by what white people think" - despite some 85% of the UK population being white. He also complained that when he joined the BBC in 2014, every person on his team was a Caucasian male - including him. Their predecessors he'd previously blamed for creating “male, pale and stale” output. As others have pointed out, it's staggering how people like Mr Munro can say this kind of thing yet cleave to their own jobs, as if doublethink allows them to be doubleplusgood while all the rest are part of the problem. He's been in place for six years now. Why doesn't he lead by example and resign?
Anyhow, in The Times today we hear that "an influential group of peers" - The Lords' Communications and Digital Committee - is recommending that Ofcom has its remit expanded to cover the BBC News website and that it should also have a role in monitoring the accuracy and impartiality of social media posts from journalists employed by public service broadcasters. That will keep the ex-BBC folk at Ofcom busy!
Meanwhile, as Charlie noted yesterday, the papers are reporting that TV licence evasion accounts for one in three women's criminal convictions, according to new figures, with women being convicted for non-payment of the licence ten times more than men. There were 84,000 licence fee offences by women, representing 74% of 2019 convictions for this type of offence. One for Newsnight and Woman's Hour?