You see this kind of thing from time to time.

TV Will you people leave the BBC alone? Phil Redmond this time at the Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture:
"Redmond said his plan, outlined during his Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture at the Royal Television Society's Cambridge Convention today, would see the BBC retain editorial control of BBC1, BBC2, BBC Parliament, and children's output, while Channel 4 would take over BBC3 and BBC4."
Say, indeed, what?:
"Channel 4 would take over BBC3 and BBC4"
I like Phil Redmond but I can't imagine why he'd say something so, well, bizarre. You see this kind of thing from time to time. Such and such says that Radios One & Two should be commercialised. BBC Online is state run journalism. Whatever. And always it becomes apparent that the person making the rash statement doesn't have much of a clue about the thing they're making a pronouncement on. My guess is that Redmond seems to think that E4 is analogous to BBC Three, BBC Four much the same as More4. But they're really not. For one thing BBC Four doesn't show fifteen episodes of Come Dine With Me or Grand Designs on a Saturday and doesn't treat such things as classical music as a novelty.

Either that or in his mind the two channels could become a version of what Channel 4 was when it first began broadcast, even though that's sort of what they are already. Though without Naked Yoga, Kabadi and Paula Yates threatening to say the fuck word every five minutes. To be fair the linked article isn't very clear on that point, doesn't shine a light into Redmond's head. Neither is it clear how merging Channel 4 and the BBC saves kids tv considering that Channel 4 doesn't make much kids television these days. Schools television perhaps, but the old slots are taken up by imports and racing.

All Channel 4 needs is a sense of direction, a proper idea of what it's supposed to be, across all of its channels. A stream of managers across the past decade have left it looking like a billboard were someone has torn sections of the adverts away. You can see elements of what used to be there peaking out, and although the resulting pattern is pretty, it's no substitute for a sense of unity, even if it's an advert for Argos. It needs for someone with a singular creative vision to decide what made the channel great and make some tough choices and risk alienating parts of its audience in an attempt to salvage its identity. Like Leo in that episode of The West Wing where he sits an office for days staring at a flip-chart and just thinking.

With the Big Brother house closing after next year the space is available to experiment, try new things. But please, please, leave the BBC alone. It isn't perfect, it's a rough diamond, but it is still a jewel but unlike the Koh-i-Noor, the more you take from it, the weaker it will become. The corporation isn't strong because it's paid for by the state. It's strong because it's good, because people like what it does, even if it's just one section of it. But if you start to strip those sections away, parcelling off to other organisation which are dying it won't reinvigorate them. They'll simply become infected too, like an organ being transplanted into a body with some other undiagnosed ailment and the public will be left grieving about what they have lost.

No comments:

Post a Comment