The bandwagon is gathering momentum. Yesterday it emerged that a BBC executive, Ann Davies, has questioned whether the corporation should “help break the constraints of the PC police” after audience research found it was out of step with much of mainstream public opinion. Another BBC boss, Richard Klein, commissioning editor for documentaries, told staff it was “pathetic” for the BBC to pride itself on being “of the people”.
They’re all spot on. It’s high time the debate moved on from narrow notions of political bias. Far harder for the BBC to gainsay is that it has a liberal cultural bias, one that envelops pretty much all programmes, not just news and current affairs. If you want to find the most solid evidence of partiality, look at the BBC’s entertainment output – its dramas, comedies and arts programmes. This is where its guard is down, where the BBC editorial police are not watching out for “balance” weak points. And it’s also where, arguably, the partiality is far more subversive.
I wouldn’t know where to start in tackling the political correctness of BBC drama, but I think the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves would go to Spooks, BBC1’s flagship series about impossibly right-on MI5 agents. The series was originally praised (by the BBC) for its accuracy about the real work of the Security Service. So what did it kick off with on the first episode? A pro-life extremist bomber out to cause mayhem. Come on, you must know about them! No? Well, what about episode two, which tackled the equally pressing issue of racist extremists in league with Right-wing politicians plotting mass murder of immigrants? I lost interest in Spooks, but tuned in again a few weeks ago for the start of the fifth series. It was about homegrown al-Qa’eda terrorists taking over the Saudi embassy and murdering innocent people. Except that they weren’t British Muslims at all, but undercover Israeli agents. Once again, the villains are a million miles away from the ones you might expect, and top-heavy with the forces of reaction.
Bookmark the permalink.