Burial of Respect

Melanie Phillips has an article about the Tories’ new policy on marriage and the family. Towards the end she writes:

“A two-part programme for the BBC by the respected journalist John Ware about ‘The Death Of Respect’, which identifies family breakdown as an important reason for the rise of aggression, incivility and crime, has been moved by channel controllers from a prime 9pm slot to the ‘graveyard’ 11.20pm time because it is considered to be ‘too dark’.”

I couldn’t find any more about this cowardly decision by the ‘channel controllers,’ but if this is true it’s pathetic.
I did find:

“What a pity, therefore, that the BBC have chosen to schedule this show in a graveyard slot instead of putting it on earlier opposite Big Brother, for instance.”

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19 Responses to Burial of Respect

  1. Scott says:

    John Ware has himself been critical of the scheduling in the post-Newsnight slot.

    I haven't been able to find any evidence that it was actually moved from a 9pm slot though, or any comments from the BBC on the record saying that the scheduling decision was due to the content. It may be true, it may not, but unfortunately without evidence either way it becomes easy to jump to the most negative conclusion.

    I'd be wary about taking Mad Mel Phillips's word for anything, though, quite frankly. After all, even the PCC recognises that when she uses the words "the fact is", you have to take it as a matter of opinion and not as actual fact.


  2. sue says:

    First, would you agree that the ‘graveyard’ scheduling of such a programme sounds unfortunate?
    Second, the ‘Mad Mel’ spat over her careless use of ‘the fact is’ is a bit OTT. After all, what does she mean by ‘virtually’ ?
    I can’t see anything wrong with it on the whole except that her attitude annoyed some people.
    The fact is, there were virtually no reasons for all that fuss.


  3. Working Class Tory says:

    I can't be sure of the identity of the person, but I think someone else said the same thing regarding the new timing.


  4. Anonymous says:

    "Respected journalist" – surely there's a contradiction here?


  5. George R says:



    "Senior judge attacks BBC for putting 'dark' documentary in late-night slot"

    "Sir Paul Coleridge, interviewed in documentary on family breakdown, accuses BBC of stepping away from vital issues."


    "The BBC's decision to relegate a documentary about family breakdown and the fragmented society to a late-night slot just before midnight because it is allegedly 'too dark' has been condemned by a senior family court judge.

    "Sir Paul Coleridge, a judge in the high court's family division, who appears in the two-part documentary The Death of Respect, criticised the decision to screen it at 11.20pm next month.

    The documentary's producer, the veteran journalist John Ware, joined the criticism, telling MediaGuardian.co.uk that the decision was 'letting down' licence-fee payers.

    "Sir Paul Coleridge, who features prominently in the programme, which will air on BBC2 after Newsnight on consecutive weeks next month, accused the BBC of avoiding vitally important social debates.

    "In a speech given this week to a charity, the Family Holiday Association, Sir Paul said that the programmes would screen at the 'extraordinary time of 11.20 pm'.

    "'What is the explanation for this change of heart about these important programmes? I have sought to make enquiries with the producer and Mr Ware. The only response I have had is that those in charge think that they are 'too dark'. 'What,' I inquired, 'does "too dark" mean?' The response was that they are not regarded as sufficiently positive or life affirming or the kind of programmes which the BBC like to make nowadays.

    "'So we have a situation, it would seem, where the biggest and most highly regarded, publicly funded opinion former in the land regards these vitally important issues as ''too dark'' to make a contribution to. Instead they avoid engaging in the debate. That, I suggest, is worrying. But it may be a symptom of the wider problem.'

    "Ware, who has been making BBC documentary programmes since the 1980s, finished the documentary in March. He told MediaGuardian.co.uk: 'We are all very disappointed about the delay and the late slot but more importantly I think it's the wrong call for licence fee payers. I think it's wrongheaded – vast numbers of licence fee payers are interested in the subject and it has enormous relevance for them.

    "'To be quite honest it was quite a coup getting a judge like Mr Justice Coleridge on air, particularly given how hard it is to have people in his position speaking openly, and we all think he is quite right about the scheduling decision and feel cross about it.'" (Ben Dowell, 'Guardian', 19/6/09.)


  6. sue says:

    I watched Revelations: Muslim School C4. Last night

    Damian Thompson in the Telegraph was pretty appalled at the indoctrination that was going on at the school, and thought more questions should have been raised by the programme makers.
    The review in The Times by Andrew Billen begins by recounting that he has been asked “if I shouldn't be more worried about the volume of “free advertising” for Islam that has been screened on the BBC and Channel 4.”
    Amen to that.
    He seemed more sympathetic to the school, if not to the programme itself, but he also wondered why: “film- maker Tanya Stephan, a good interviewer, did not inquire what the school taught about women and homosexuality and non-believers.”

    But a point relating to this thread is that people are turning in desperation to this kind of education as a reaction to the breakdown of our society.


  7. Dazed and Confused says:

    OLD HOLBORN has a very interesting piece on the BBC that you may like to read.


  8. Anonymous says:

    The BBC are getting a shocking reality check, about the damaged caused by years of denigrating white, hetrosexual, middleclass Britain. Most of it caused by, or supported by, the BBC, Guardian et al.

    Instead of taking responsibility, or even acknowledging the facts, they're hiding, hoping no-one will notice.

    This is what you get for 40 years of left-wing PC crap.


  9. sue says:

    George R, 1:34 pm
    thanks for finding that, and the bit at the end:

    “A BBC spokeswoman declined to address the scheduling concerns and issued a statement which read: "The Death of Respect examines the issue of respect in Britain today and, as part of this, looks at the role that family breakdowns have to play. This is an important subject that BBC2 will be thoroughly examining in two hour-long documentaries. It has been scheduled to transmit after Newsnight and will benefit from inheriting a comatose current affairs audience."

    (I inserted a word.)


  10. Martin says:

    If it had been a programme about buggery I bet they would have put it out at a more family friendly time.

    The BBC does not promote marriage only homosexuality.


  11. Tom says:

    I expect the scheduling decision was down to a misunderstanding on the channel controller's part that this was a documentary about the undignified collapse of George Galloway's latest political venture.


  12. Cockney says:

    I've never seen a BBC programme about buggery at a family friendly time (not since they lost the rugby rights anyway).

    I'd be interested to see how they could stretch it out to fill 30 minutes though. Or maybe I'd rather not know.


  13. John Bosworth says:

    Scott says: "I'd be wary about taking Mad Mel Phillips's word for anything".

    As evidence Crazy Scott reduces Melanie Phillips to "Mad Mel" in an effort to demean her and directs us to a questionable blog which contains a discussion of a statement Phillips made which included the words the words "the fact is". The fact is, Nutty Crazy Scott, that "the fact is" is not only used in discussions as "these are the facts" but also as "look here, I really want to tell you this…"

    Note: the website in question has an illustration of it's author: Spiderman unzipping his flies. That's classy, isn't it!

    There are a lot of folks around like Like Nutty Insane Crazy Scott. They give their opponents nicknames like "Mad Mel", aimed at reducing their credibility. Well, Smelly Nutty Insane Crazy Scott, that doesn't work anymore. You see, the fact is, for every meaningless slander you throw out, people can throw one back. So Illiterate Nutty Insane Crazy Scott, I suggest you take your "ya-boo-sucks" comments to some lefty crazy site…and post them there. They use insults like a gardener uses shit and wallow in abuse disguised as comment. If you want me to take an attack on Melanie Phillips seriously I need chapter and verse, more than comments you supply from an unzipped Spiderman.

    Meanwhile I hope Melanie Phillips (with whom I don't always agree) continues to add to the discourse of the nation.

    (By the way, on the subject of name-calling, I absolve our friend Martin from anything I have said in this post, because every name he has thrown at Gordon Brown has been justified because Martin is FUNNY!)


  14. Umbongo says:

    John Bosworth

    But you see Mel is a lefty apostate who has (mostly) seen the light. Apologists for the BBC – of which Scott is fairly representative on this blog – regard apostates from its (and the Guardianista) world-view as lower even than Nick Griffin. Hence the abuse and name-calling which substitute for engagement in any discussion.

    For a similar reason – the avoidance of discussion of inconvenient facts – MMGW sceptics are routinely described as "climate change deniers" by Roger Harrabin et al and thus, by association, their views and arguments are consigned to the ideological dustbin reserved for "holocaust denial". Now I think about it, it's worse than that. David Irving has probably had more air-time from the BBC in the last couple of years than Freeman Dyson which gives you some idea of the fear generated at the BBC by those who refuse to worship at the Church of Anthropomorphic Climate Change.


  15. Anonymous says:

    Not often you hear of the bbc claiming something is "too dark"


  16. Martin says:

    Cockney: Have you never watched Dr Who or Torchwood?


  17. John Horne Tooke says:

    "too dark"? What in hells name does that mean? I suppose that if it was filled with profanities it would be allowed on CBBC and described as "edgy."

    I also wonder if the programme had reached the conclusion that family breakdown had nothing to do with the sickness in todays society or that one parent families and transgender adoption made the country a wonderful place the BBC would have swithched the programme time. Somehow I doubt it.


  18. George R says:

    This is what the BBC is hiding:

    "The Death Of Respect"

    BBC 2, Thursday, July 16th,
    11:20pm to 12:20am.


  19. Anton Vowl says:

    I watched it last night. Perhaps it was shoved to that slot because it was a crock of shit?