Comic Vapours About The Charter Review



The BBC are pushing hard to make sure that criticism of the BBC and any projected change is seen as dangerous meddling by vested interests both political and commercial.

This BBC article gives us chapter and verse on those who voice support for the BBC…BBC facing ‘root-and-branch’ reviewand though published after the revelations of media manipulation by the BBC there’s no mention of Danny Cohen organising that Luvvie letter.

The BBC reports, quite often, the hyperbole of Tory Lord Fowler (isn’t he a politically ‘vested interest’ then, all Tories being anti-BBC?) about the Panel set up to look at Charter renewal, and Lord Patten (another Tory…more of those politically ‘vested interests’?)…

‘Special interests’

The panel was criticised by conservative peer Lord Fowler, who warned in the House of Lords on Tuesday that the BBC was “under unprecedented attack”.

“I must warn those who support the BBC that we have something of a fight on our hands,” he said.

“The cards are marked and somewhat stacked against us. The advisory group advising the Secretary of State clanks with special interests and past opinions.”

Speaking at the same debate, Lord Patten, a former chairman of the BBC Trust, called the government’s advisory panel “a team of assistant gravediggers” who would help the culture secretary “bury the BBC that we love”.

No need to comment on Tory wet Patten but what of those people who are ‘Clanking with special interests and past opinions’ on the review panel?  Fowler is not himself immune to such charges…and an additional one of hypocrisy with his own special interest and past opinions….he being a great fan of the BBC and its unbiased reporting….so why does he think his comments are untainted by possible bias whilst others are doing the satanic work of Rupert Murdoch?

Here he is in 2009….

One of the easiest ways of winning a cheer at this week’s Conservative party conference will be to attack the impartiality or extravagance of the BBC. The corporation has never been a conference favourite but over the last decade the Conservative view has not counted for very much.

One of the achievements of the BBC over the years is how it has resisted government interference and, above all, maintained impartiality in its reporting. [Fowler’s contention of no bias rests on the BBC’s attack on Labour over the Iraq War….but that is absolute evidence of its bias…against the war…a stance that has helped recruit Muslim radicals for Al Qaeda and now ISIS]
My advice then to the new ministers who are likely to take over is reject the Murdoch path of cutting back the BBC and concentrate instead on making it more effective.

Pretty clear where he stood in 2009….for the BBC.

Fowler back in 2012 said this…..admitting the BBC had massive political influence but you know what…it’s not really a problem… his real target is Murdoch…

 The challenge remains to devise a system where nobody – Murdoch or anybody else – has a disproportionate share of the British media.

What about the BBC with its plethora of television channels and multitude of radio stations and programmes? Surely the corporation has a massive political influence, for why else would cabinet and shadow cabinet ministers queue up to be interviewed on Today or Andrew Marr’s Sunday programme?

As it happens my own view would be that BBC reporting is some of the best in the world, but that is not how everybody sees it.  Any new rules on share of voice cannot be directed exclusively at News International. The BBC must come within the net as too must the other media giants like Google.

The BBC faces stiff competition on all its television channels. The same however is not true for national news radio. Today, World at One and PM have a far too clear run. That kind of radio programme cannot be supported by advertising, but of course the BBC has the licence fee. One solution here is to make a portion of the licence fee contestable so that a new provider like ITN or Channel 4 can be attracted in to compete.


Fowler demonstrates much confused thinking.  He tells us that Murdoch is bad for the Media landscape because he owned ‘almost 40% of national press circulation and a big chunk of a successful television company’…however ‘Now all that is changing. We are into the post-Murdoch era.’  So Murdoch’s not a problem now?  And yet he, and others, mention him relentlessly.

And yet Fowler has little problem with the BBC dominating the news with its ‘ massive political influence‘?


What of that Charter review panel? 

Is it really a hit squad specially picked to be the BBC’s  ‘grave diggers’?

You would have thought so from much of the rhetoric flooding out from the BBC’s defenders and the BBC itself.  Here’s BBC comedian Stewart Lee with some wit and wisdom….

The government’s witch-hunters are ready to reform the BBC to death

He tells us that ‘Due to its legendary nose for news, last week’s Sunday Times was first to reveal the “eight experts” chosen by culture secretary John Whittingdale to “help decide the BBC’s future”, the Murdoch empire barely able to wait to share its horror at the venerable institution’s latest humiliation.

And what a golden shower of talent Whittingdale has stitched together, a veritable human centipede of business-minded entities, in order to safeguard the nation’s cultural heritage.’

Naturally out of the woodwork crawls the man with no thoughts of his own, Jon Donnison, to applaud this public display of prejudiced stupidity and ignorance by Lee….(H/T Craig at Is the BBC Biased?)..

Jon Donnison retweeted Chris Hamilton


Chris Hamilton @chrishams   In which Stewart Lee gives it both barrels re BBC debate – then re-loads & gives it a few more

The problem is that the mouth frothing and eye-ball rolling are somewhat wasted.  If they had the slightest intent of providing an intelligent and informed comment instead of scaremongering bombastic exaggeration they would have told you what the Government actually says and what others, such as ‘Broadcast’ magazine, which is very pro-BBC,  says about the panel.

Firstly is the Panel the sole source of information and reference for the government?  No.  The BBC itself, through Hall and his executives and via the BBC Trust, will be having a huge say in what goes on and the Trust will be gathering information and data to support whatever case it decides to proffer….

One of the creations of the last Charter was the BBC Trust – set up to represent the licence fee payer. The Trust will, in thisrole, also be consulting on proposals for the future of the BBC. We will take full account of the Trust’s work and work with them on a range of public and industry events to explore in detail the important issues in the coming months.

The Public and whoever else is interested and concerned are also invited to contribute their views and opinions…

Reviewing the BBC’s Royal Charter is not just a case of publishing a consultation. We want to engage with the public and with industry to make sure that all views are given proper consideration. This is why we are engaging with people across the UK in a number of ways to make it easy for everyone to respond.

Not only that but other experts will be engaged to provide comment and relevant expertise…

There are also some areas where studies, reviews and research are needed – to add technical expertise or independence from Government. We will be commissioning these in the coming months.

Not only that but as well as the eight people on the review Panel other people or groups will be asked to join the panel as when the situation requires it.

Hardly the cosy little stitch up by a government in hock to the Murdoch empire as excitedly claimed by Fowler, Patten and Lee & Co as they paint a doomsday scenario for the BBC.

The only stitch up seems to be that organised by the BBC itself knowing full well that the review process is a long and involved one using the knowledge and ideas of a wide range of people, the BBC itself not being the least contributor to that process, and yet they set out with a deliberate policy to whip up the rhetoric and exaggerate, if not invent, the ‘danger to the BBC’ in order to attempt to cause a storm of protest and antipathy towards the government position…trying to intimidate the government which know that the Public ‘loves the telly more than the Tories’!

Here is what Broadcast Magazine said of the panel…most are pro-BBC despite having some critical thoughts about it…they are broadly supportive by default, even Alex Mahon who worked for Murdoch.  Some of them have worked for the BBC, one has the ex-head of the BBC iPlayer as his company strategist, one is the head of the Arts Council who has provided reports on Music education for both Labour and Coalition governments, and bound to be a good mate or acquaintance of Tony Hall (from the Royal Opera House), another is head of ‘Diversity UK’ who tweets approvingly of BBC programmes and has an MBE for services to the creative industries.  Another was head of Ofcom and is now president of the Voice of the Listeners and Viewer.

This is what the chairman of the VLV said….’

“We welcome the opportunity the Green Paper will provide for the public to be involved in the debate about the future of the BBC. The recent licence fee settlement did not allow for any public debate and was an unacceptable raid on the BBC’s income to fund government social policy, namely free licence fees for the over 75s.

“The preamble to this debate has not been edifying, with leaks and political point scoring. The BBC is too important an institution to be a political football. Now citizens must have their voice.


Hardly sounds like a bunch intent on wrecking the BBC or its connections to the creative industries and educational services….it would seem a lot of their ‘vested interests’ are actually aligned with the BBC’s.

Lee moans that he isn’t on the panel despite his own, self-admitted, brilliance…

Like it or not, and I am not sure that I do, I am objectively the most critically acclaimed British TV comedian this century, and every one of my BBC series of the last decade has been either nominated for, or won, multiple Bafta, British Comedy and Chortle awards. Any panel on the future of the BBC that includes a phone app bloke over me is clearly not worth the beer mat it was hastily drawn up on.

Trouble is that ‘phone app bloke’ has created a billion pound company and it is his knowledge of how to exploit the internet, what the public like to listen to and in what formats, and how to combine the two, that the government wants to utilise in order to contemplate and predict what a future BBC might look like as it adapts to the new digital media landscape around it.  Don’t know if Lee has that knowledge but the phone number, email and snail mail address is on the government website...feel free to give them your considered opinion instead of taking the easy route, whilst taking a big cheque for your troubles, of using the BBC’s outhouse journal, the Guardian, to air your grandstanding uninformed whinges.


That cantankerous old sod Stewart Lee’s article about the BBC is so good I’m posting it for the second time today


The comedians have had their say, now let’s get on with the job and let the people with intelligent, informed views have their say.

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18 Responses to Comic Vapours About The Charter Review

  1. The spider in my bath is a philosopher says:

    “…BBC facing ‘root-and-branch’ review…”

    No, just the trunk, pollard, or better still, coppice it, now.

    Pour acid into the stump, for ever.
    Then stand on its grave til we’re sure that its dead.


  2. Demon says:

    “The cards are marked and somewhat stacked against us.”

    Unfortunately not true whatsoever. BBC control the story by being oppresively dominant in the broadcasting arena, otherwise one can’t explain why Labour have still more than 10 seats after their 2008 debacle.

    The BBC is too powerful and monopolistic, and they control what most of the media says so the odds are stacked against those trying to bring them down to their appropriate size and status. Good luck to those trying to improve demoicracy in this country by reducing the megalith BBC.


  3. dave s says:

    All worthless posturing. Until the BBC understands that to enforce payment of it’s revenue with the use of prison is not acceptable in 2015 every word uttered by it’s apologists is so much hot air and must be ignored.


  4. Geyza says:

    Quote: “And what a golden shower of talent Whittingdale has stitched together, a veritable human centipede of business-minded entities, in order to safeguard the nation’s cultural heritage.’”

    Lefty “Comedian” Stuart Lee clearly does not do irony. Who is currently doing more to trash and destroy this nation’s cultral heritage than the BBC and their political acolytes in the labour and wet end of the tory party?


  5. s.trubble says:

    The activation of the luvvies followed by the loony left “comedians” underscore the bBC will use emotion versus facts in the fight to come.
    At each turn they must be reminded of

    1) Saville
    2) mass criminalisation of British society unwilling to pay their tax
    3) rotherham and its under-reporting
    4) climate change facts manipulation
    5) gross over-manning

    All of above are facts which alone are enough cause to snuff it out.


    • dave s says:

      And add .
      Pro EU propaganda
      Refusal to look at immigration realistically
      Refusal to take a neutral stance and allow a critical look at religious matters and we all know what that means.
      In short acting as the media wing of the Left liberal alliance of the bodysnatched.


  6. Nibor says:

    Blimey , I didn’t realise I was a Vested Interest . I thought I was just a lorry driver who was fed up with the BBC s ignorance .


  7. LostOverThere says:

    And now Stephen Moffat steps into the fray

    All I know of him is he was once a great writer on Channel 4’s Press Gang, and the beeb’s Coupling. Once he got his mitts on Doctor Who, it sank into half-arsed plotlines that were too clever by half and you could drive a bus through

    Sherlock started well, but the last series sank into the same smug, self-satisfied routine Dr Who found itself in. He’s a world class detective – let’s see him solve crimes, not plan a wedding. But, as usual, dear ol’ Auntie bheeb keeps on flogging a dead horse


  8. RJ says:

    The Media Show this afternoon interviewed Rona Fairhead about the Green Paper. There were repeated attempts to get her to criticise the government, which she dodged, but no mention of the ethics of enforcing the TV Tax with threats of imprisonment.


    • Guest Who says:

      The Media Show should be renamed the Medium show, as they seem to have but one obsession.

      And it also neither rare nor well done.


  9. Teddy Bear says:

    BBC Trust asks the public: what should we do now?
    Public consultation asking people to give their views on future of Corporation is launched

    The BBC Trust has launched an online questionnaire asking the public to suggest how the corporation should be funded and what programmes it should stop making.
    Viewers and listeners are offered a series of questions including “what one thing would you like to see the BBC do less of?” and “how important is it that the BBC operates independently from Government?”

    They are also asked to rate three methods of funding the BBC: retaining the current licence fee system, bringing in a universal household levy or making some services subscription-only.

    It’s obvious from the options given by this questionnaire that the BBC want to avoid the one that most might choose – Subscription ONLY.
    Yet when it suits them they are quick to tell us just how valuable they are to the licence fee payer, and also according to them the majority want to keep paying the licence fee.
    We know it’s a lie when they say it, and from the options they give – so do they.

    They’re dead scared of having to be pushed into the real world, and for good reason.


    • Merched Becca says:

      A sort of of Hobson’s Choice ?


    • Guest Who says:

      ‘It’s obvious from the options given by this questionnaire that the BBC want to avoid the one that most might choose – Subscription ONLY.’

      Well, it is a BBC ‘poll’.

      So they only want the results they have planned.

      But they are all at it.

      Martin Lewis on his Money Saving site pulled the same stunt the other day… but got slaughtered for the attempt in the comments and twitter.

      It was blatant stitch-up.

      The BBC has more… ‘control’.


      • Teddy Bear says:

        We can also predict what mealy mouthed excuse they would make if pushed to answer why they didn’t include that option.
        “Because we knew the majority of the public want to keep the licence fee we didn’t think it necessary…”
        Or words to that effect.
        Much like they do with avoiding ‘climate sceptics’ on global warming/cooling or whatever is the flavour of the day.


  10. Glen says:

    The irony for me regarding the growing desperation the the beebtards is that they are becoming a victim of the very ideology they have been forcing on to the country for years.

    The liberal lefty agenda that has been the bane of decent UK citizens for years is in a roundabout way being turned on the bbc itself.

    They have helped force the British public to accept a new world order of mass immigration, freedom of movement, freedom of choice, freedom to do whatever you want. We live in a global village now? We don’t need to be tied to one way of life and the immigrants can come and go as they like.

    Yet, after the bbc has been one of the biggest purveyors of this forced multicultural ‘utopian’ change, they are asking the British public to keep them in a way of life that is now alien to us, a Britain of a bygone age when the bbc was the ONLY broadcaster available, a Britain of 1939-45 when we, and many foreign nationals due to Nazi tyranny, relied on the bbc for any information we could glean about the war.

    They now want to cling on to the good old Britain that they have helped destroy, no bbc would mean a poorer Britain, they say? It just beggars belief, it is comical, about the best comedy we’ll see on the bbc.

    Well now they have to accept that the world of television has changed, Britain has never had such a choice of TV providers…Sky, Virgin, BT etc,etc. Then there’s Netflix, Youtube and other online viewing. We have a freedom of choice, we can leave one and go to another.

    Why should we be forced to pay for a dinosaur of broadcasting, why should we accept the old way of life when they don’t expect us to do the same! Whilst the world of television has innovated and embraced the new world the bbc can’t, they stick to the same old long as we pay for it!

    Like typical lefties their attitude is ‘do as I say and not as I do’, bleating and crying because they have finally been found out and will eventually get what they deserve, the sooner the better.


  11. Gunner says:

    Rona Fairhead’s (Chairman, BBC Trust) ‘performance ‘ on BBC Breakfast this morning all too clearly underlined just how much the Trust is just another of the Beeb’s creatures. She was flogging the Trust’s own online survey of viewers opinions for the Charter review. Why, you might ask, does the Trust need its own on-line survey when the Government has already set up a consultation process for comments ( ?
    All is revealed when you go through the Trust’s questionnaire. This has been cunningly constructed to remove the opportunity to comment on the quality and balance of the Beeb’s previous output in any detail. Nor indeed whether licence fee payers feel they get value for money. Instead it only asks very generic questions about viewers opinions on “values” which of course the current Beeb honours to the nth degree (in Rona’s bubble that is). This is in other words, yet another set-up.
    We all need to mobilise those who share our views, including those who have signed the petition to bin the licence fee, to respond by email to the Min of Culture on the Green Paper . High on the list of comments I suggest would be a recommendation to ditch entirely the BBC Trust, which has proven conclusively its inability to serve any useful purpose. This alone would save £10 million of our money annually.


    • Guest Who says:

      ‘cunningly constructed to remove the opportunity to comment on the quality and balance of the Beeb’s previous output in any detail’

      Of course. But this is also how ‘The Future of the BBC’ inquiry went too, ignoring actual performance metrics and obsessing almost exclusively on how the poll tax continues to be funded, which is all we have seen from John W since.

      There was a muter or two about governance, and the Trust is a dead duck in its current form. Trouble is the new one that arises that will be the precise same outside ‘the club’.


  12. Stuart Beaker says:

    Talking about ‘root and branch’ reform. I see many trees that have become infected by one of the modern diseases that plague parts of this country. What is noticeable is that trees often go bad invisibly for years before they show reveal themselves as moribund. When the leaves, the bark and the rest are all curling,corroded, weeping or rotten, it is a sure sign of central corruption.

    Just so with the BBC – when every department from Current Affairs to Natural History, Comedy to Drama, are all producing ‘offensive emissions’, it’s a good sign that the corruption is central, ubiquitous and terminal. Best to bite the bullet and get rid of the whole thing. Then you can safely replace it with something else, which stands a chance of growing healthy (providing the ground’s been sterilised properly).