Hold the Shreddies, it’s a BBC wish-fulfillment fantasy!

I was just decanting the milk-sodden leavings at the bottom of my offspring’s breakfast bowl onto Thursday’s Times prior to putting them in the bin when I noticed this:

Bush to get Mashed

By Adam Sherwin

THE BBC has persuaded the creator of the 1970s television series M*A*S*H to turn his fire on the Bush Administration.

“The BBC has persuaded … to turn his fire on the Bush Administration” It can only have been my shock at this unprecendented act on the part of our national broadcaster that caused me to emit a most unladylike snort.

President Hillary Clinton is in the White House, and George Bush is on trial for crimes against the American people …

By this time a second snort, that some misunderstood as laughter, had caused an errant Shreddie to entangle itself in my nasal membranes. In fact my distress was solely a result of my deep sympathy for members of the “reality based community,” as I believe they term themselves. Poor lambs. These recurring fantasies are a great comfort to them.

…in Abrogate, a one-off radio comedy written by Larry Gelbart. Radio 4 is rushing the “merciless” satire to air in tomorrow night’s Friday Play slot. Radio Times acclaimed the play, saying that “every line is a barbed swipe, a dazzling barb that hits home”.

Every single line! So there! With a write-up as jut-jawed as that we can safely assume that it was awful and the Radio Times knew it was awful.

Gelbart was the developer and chief writer on the M*A*S*H television series which ran from 1972 for 11 years.

Gelbart has grown angrier with age. Abrogate is set during an imaginary congressional hearing which is “sifting through the debris of the post-Bush regime to discover what, if anything, went right”.

UPDATE: Richy in comments says, “You’ve got to hand it to the BBC. The originality required for this kind of drama and the sheer fortitude necessary for battle against pre-existing stereotypes really does enforce upon you the value of public broadcasting.”

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26 Responses to Hold the Shreddies, it’s a BBC wish-fulfillment fantasy!

  1. Richy says:

    You’ve got to hand it to the BBC. The originality required for this kind of drama and the sheer fortitude necessary for battle against pre-existing stereotypes really does enforce upon you the value of public broadcasting.

    You lucky Brits.


  2. dumbcisco says:

    I listened to the first 20 minutes. It was a total rant, totally unfunny.

    They had a trailer for this “play” the other morning – I posted about it on an earlier thread. Subsequently I was pondering – I believe this is a put-up job. Leftie radio in the US is financially bust, so the BBC has been seen as a patsy that will fund this programme so that it can be used on networks in the US and Canada.


  3. Carl says:

    All part of the BBCs plan to get Hillary elected…..they think.

    They are still emabarassed beyond belief about calling it WRONG on the night of Bush’s re-election….watching their faces turn from happyness to utter dispair was the best TV I’ve seen in years…..I’m still laughing in their little inbred faces….

    But they are throwing a little fit now, and are determined to get Hillary in……of cuorse, the BBC “knows” that Americans are stupid…so they feel that this simple left wing proaganda will be enough…..

    But Americans don’t give a shit about the BBC…..lol. No body listens……..

    The BBCs power is fading, and they grow more desperate…..



  4. Ralph says:

    President Hillary Clinton is in the White House, and George Bush is on trial for crimes against the American people

    I have to pay the TV tax so that BBCers can broadcast their wet dreams?


  5. gordon-bennett says:

    Remember the Ian Curteis play about the Falklands War which the beeb cancelled because it was considered too adulatory of Mrs Thatcher?

    Although it was broadcast some years later the point had been made.

    They wouldn’t tell the true story where it might help a right-winger but are happy to fantasise to help a leftie, despite her murky past as a “finance expert” and as the molester’s wife.


  6. dumbcisco says:

    Bias in the media ?

    Some RoP nut has been using a Reuters PC to send threatening mail to a blogsite. The IP trail MAY lead to one of our favourites, the PR guy at the MCB.


    Alleged, of course !


  7. Rob Read says:


    I googled bungle walahs name for the bbc site, he has 262 mentions.

    If he get’s arrested for death threats and the ‘B’BC don’t mention it then we know how rogue the organisation has become.


  8. Rob says:

    Presumably this programme was as funny and original as “The Now Show”, in other words not at all funny or original, in fact purile and adolescent.

    Still, top marks to the BBC for fighting the Establishment in getting a programme like this made, very dangerous of course but then again someone must “speak truth to power”, and who would be more appropriate than a gargantuan media organisation which extorts billions of pounds from citizens on pain of imprisonment?


  9. Andrew says:

    dumbcisco, Rob Read, Rob (and everyone else who can’t resist commenting on the top thread just because it’s at the top) please keep comments on topic on Biased BBC topic threads (like this thread by Natalie).

    Use the most recent open thread for non-Biased BBC post related comments, even if the most recent open thread isn’t at the top of the blog.

    The idea is to make Biased BBC comments easier to use and to understand – instead of having half a dozen completely separate conversations split randomly across half a dozen unrelated threads.

    There are two great reasons to respect this request:

    1) Open threads will get moved to the top in due course (for the benefit of all those who either can’t read or can’t control their urge to comment on the top thread), so you’ll end up further down the blog again;

    2) Off-topic comments on non open threads are likely to be deleted.

    Thank you.


  10. dumbcisco says:


    Why not keep the open thread at the top all the time ?

    The site does not put headings on each post, so it is not quick and easy to see where to post a comment.


  11. Gary Powell says:

    Gordon Bennet
    You hit the nail on the head. It is not what the BBC do show that is the magor problem. It is what it does not also show that IS. If it is OK for the BBC broadcast this play, why was it not OK for the BBC to broadcast the Falklands play? Even though the war had finished. This one has not even started properly yet.

    It is not up to the BBC to deside what is true and what is not. Drama is drama and can safely be shown to be this by simple disclaimer. The BBC does do this when it suits them. Unless it is a drama concerning a British victory for democracy inter-national law, self-determination and freedom, it seems.


  12. Gary Powell says:

    I agree with your reasons “WHY”. AS there is little apparent reason for the BBC to affect political opinion here, on this matter, right now. One might hope that some political organisation in the states apart from Bill on Fox will alert the American people to this outrageous intrusion into their own countries democracy. Why are the BBC broadcasting plays about contempoary AMERICAN politics at all?

    As you say the American public in general pay very little attention to the BBC.

    However, what would concern some members of the American voteing public is how Americans are being seen abroad. The BBC gives Americans the impresion that most Brits dont like their president, them, or their countries policies. This, as even opinon polls show, is not true.

    I believe that most thinking voting people in Britain are still not sure what this war is all about,(thanks to the BBC) and are giving their leaders the benifit of this doudt.


  13. Umbongo says:

    I am in awe of the courage it took for Gelbart to write this piece and the BBC to broadcast it. Now where on the BBC website(s) can I find the Mo cartoons?


  14. Angie Schultz says:

    I can no longer watch M*A*S*H, which was one of my favorite shows, back in the day. There’s too much hand-wringing about the evil, evil war and what terrible things we’re doing to these poor people and why are we even here…

    If Hawkeye Pierce had had his way, all of Korea would be like North Korea today.


  15. Lurker says:

    Angie – same here, used to think it was great, now the slushy emoting ickiness of it leaves me cold.

    Ive heard it said that MASH was “really” about Vietnam. Also that in turn Catch 22 was “really” about Korea.


  16. Anonymous says:

    Yet another left/liberal ‘satire’ gets the nod from the Beeb and yet again the silence from the Conservative machine is deafening.

    Why does HM’s Loyal Opposition protest too little about the abusive practices of this anachronistic monopoly? You’d think that in Charter renewal year the Tories would have the ‘Tristrams’ on the back foot but there’s barely been a peep out of them.

    I think there are two reasons for the unspoken tactical alliance between the Conservatives and the BBC’s governors and management.

    Firstly, the Tories can’t afford to make an enemy of the corporation in the run up to the next election. So far, the BBC has almost been falling over itself to assist ‘Daz’ Cameron in the rebranding of the Conservative Party.

    Secondly, the Beeb’s Bush bashing is bad news for New Labour rather than the Conservatives. The electorate associates Blair with Bush and pretty much disregards the ideological differences between them. The Tories turn opportunist and claim the intervention in Iraq to have been a disaster, knowing there will be a new administration in Washington by the time they are in office.

    So ye of too much Tory faith, next time you feel moved to complain about BBC pinko bias don’t trouble the grandee’s…

    remember that in all kinds of ways they like this well.


  17. Gary Powell says:

    I can assure you that I have not met a Tory member that liked the BBC as it is….. ever. Margaret Thatcher hated every word that came out of it. It was a testimant to her liberal nature that she did little to control the BBC while in office, as the BBC never had a good word to say for her or her government.

    However I do believe that the BBC has always had a role in the election of Conservative governments. When they take their eye of the Ball like in 1979, and give to much air time to Trade union leaders and other leftist loony tunes.

    Also because.

    The best way for any Tory to get elected is say nothing do nothing and wait for New Labours wheels to fall off. The BBC showing it all happening, makes it all the more DAMMING..

    It bugs lefties and M*A*S*H* script writers big time that Korea is not now all communist. However not as bugged as a lot of them have been since 1945. Due to the large possibility that if America had not helped invade France in 1944 or 1945 we Europeans would all be speaking Russian by now. Just imagine how important the BBC would have been to the government then.


  18. archonix says:

    I wish cameron would stick to saying nothing.

    Oh well.

    Thinking about this, I recall the days when Spitting Image was on TV. NOw that was merciless satire. It was funny too, unlike the pap you see these days. Shame the cancelled it after Blair got it.

    I’m also reminded of the Dr Who fiasco at christmas. I didn’t see the episode in question so I can’t really comment, but I remember a lot of criticism about it being a “spoof”, for want of a better word, of the sinking of the Belgrano.


  19. Ralph says:


    Having spoken to Dave about the BBC I think they’re in for a massive shock if he becomes PM. Remember he’s from an ITV background.


  20. Rick says:

    BBC cannot do comedy, BBC cannot do satire. BBC is just political and seeking to feed anti-Bush programming to the US via the Internet.

    It is a real abuse of British radio time. Then again with the rubbish on File on 4 tonight about Kalashnikos being exported from Bosnia to Iraq to kit out the New Iraqi Army I was trtying hard to see why they were so indignant.


  21. musiclikedirt says:

    Do people really believe that the BBC is some vast lefty organisation plotting the downfall of Bush, and proping up the tory government!?
    Its hard to beielve that inteligent people would come to such a conclusion :s

    The Labour government is hardly a friend of the BBC, nor does is the Beeb toadying to it. You only have to look at the whole Hutton/David Kelly example to see that.

    The BBC more than any other UK broadcaster tries to be impartial and just report the facts. It doesnt always succeed, but its always a good sign when people on both sides critize.

    The israelis kick them out for a while, the palestinians accuse of bias. Torys and labour moan.. etc etc theu must be doing a good job if neither side is happy


  22. dumbcisco says:

    The BBC does not just try to report facts. Its programnmes are full of tendentious speculation and spin.

    It has a very evident bias against the invasion of Iraq, against capitalism, in favour of immigration and multi-culti nonsense, pro all the global warming doomsayers, and an aversion to calling anyone in the Middle East a terrorist.


  23. Michael Taylor says:


    The BBC has two problems. The first, and worst, is that the quality of its journalism has slipped, and slipped badly. On too many subjects, it simply doesn’t try, but contents itself to be fed its news from various NGOs. ON too many subjects, as a result, it can no longer be taken serious (cf, the frantic hyping-up of the Climate Chaos documentaries – I’d like to see what it did to the viewing figures). This is most probably a function of bad management – bad journalism is cheap and simple: good journalism is expensive and difficult to control/programme. If management doesn’t understand this, the quality will deteriorate rapidly. The BBC isn’t the only one with this problem – one can observe very much the same deterioration in, for example, the FT.

    The second problem is related: group think. The fact that it’s modish leftish group-think is annoying but not really surprising.


  24. Jack Hughes says:

    To Music Like Dirt,

    I do not think that the BBC is a vast conspiracy.

    But is does have its own views on many subjects and reporting often drifts into editorialising.

    For example:

    America is bad
    Bush is very bad
    Immigration is good
    Science is dangerous
    The british army is evil and unnecessary
    Islam needs promoting
    And so on

    This is not planned – as has been said above its group think.

    For example on the Today programme they keep saying “Iraq is descending into civil war”. Jenni Murray hears this then on her Womens’ Hour programme she introduces some Iraqi women with “As Iraq descends into civil war, we talk to …” THis then becomes the recieved opinion within the BBC. Nobody dares to challenge this – it could damage one’s career. This is how group-think operates.


  25. Bryan says:

    This is how group-think operates.

    Exactly. Paralysed by group-think, the BBC is on a downward slide. The current group-think has evolved into a curious mix of adamant leftism and Islam-friendliness. But it looks like it will increasingly be the case that whenever the two come into conflict, Islam will prevail and the unwritten rule will be that criticism of Islam is un(group)thinkable.


  26. dumbcisco says:

    Michael Taylor

    I agree with you that it is better to attack individual BBC reporters head-on. Criticise specific reports they make, cricicise them by name.