Friday 27 August 2021

Unsurprising news

Richard Morrison, writing in The Times, notes the result of a survey conducted among nearly 200 TV programme-makers and executives at the Edinburgh TV Festival, doubtless involving large numbers from the BBC. 

They were asked to divulge their views about a variety of social issues and the results were compared to a poll of nearly 3,000 TV viewers.

Unsurprisingly, while the majority of TV viewers were 'proud of the UK', thought political correctness has 'gone too far' and are NOT 'ashamed of the British Empire', the vast majority of TV-makers and executives thought the opposite. 

Only 27 per cent of TV executives and programme-makers are 'proud of the UK', only 23 per cent think political correctness has 'gone too far' and just 19 percent are NOT 'ashamed of the British Empire'. [And my guess is that most of those aren't the ones working for the BBC].

As Mr Morrison says, that's a ''sociopolitical gulf between them and the majority of the public''. 

He talks of ''TV’s mad scramble to be woker-than-woke'', with independent producers ''having to supply evidence of cast and crew diversity when they pitch ideas to networks'' and ''storylines for soaps, serious dramas and even Doctor Who being manipulated so that issues can be given far greater prominence than they would if the dramas strictly mirrored reality'' and ''current affairs programmes and documentaries being skewered to favour the viewpoint of what’s usually labelled the metropolitan liberal elite''.

But he suspects this doesn’t happen ''because programme-makers are passionate about championing social justice'', given that ''most of them live in Holland Park in London on salaries well north of six figures'', but that it happens ''because they are supinely following quota rules issued from above''.

What has happened, Richard Morrison argues, is that the pendulum has swung too far, 

...possibly because of the “must please management” mentality ingrained into every organisation - even one where employees imagine themselves as creative and free-thinking. Pragmatism, common sense, moderation and subtlety go out of the window. Then programme-makers find themselves way out of step with the public, and people start asking themselves why they should pay the licence fee. 
A population as stubborn as the British will never respond well to arrogant preaching or their favourite shows being hijacked to represent views they don’t hold. Quite the reverse. People switch off. Government ministers sniff blood. Views polarise and harden, and fundamentally worthwhile institutions are threatened with break-up.

And he ends with a question:

Those delegates in Edinburgh did well to expose the sociopolitical gulf between themselves and the majority of the public. Now who’s going to be brave enough, clever enough and humble enough to bridge it?

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