Provocative And Original

Provocative and Original

One of the lines I’ve been hearing a lot lately, in the wake of BrandRossSachsGate, aside from all the usual “It must never happen again – lessons have been learned” baloney one has come to expect from such furores, is the idea that the BBC must maintain its right to be “provocative and original”.

Which got me thinking… when was it ever? I mean, this is a station that won’t even repeat “It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum!” Indeed, the BBC is so uncutting edge you could rub your hands all over it for two hours without spilling any blood.

I suspect the supporters of this view also mean… “and good”. After all, trying to turn Ian Wright into a tv presenter was indeed both provocative and original. But when was this golden age? Or are we living in it now? Ross and Brand themselves don’t qualify as original BBCers, either. Ross was doing a Friday night tv chat show twenty five years ago. Brand started on MTV. So who do they mean?

Ricky Gervais? He was knocking around Virgin Radio and Channel Four before Aunty Beeb got her grubby mits on him.

Chris Morris? I’d say he was p and o ( and g ). But it’s fifteen years since he last appeared on the BBC.

So who are all these zany, extremist provocateurs who we all ought to cut some slack from time to time because they all make us all look at life in a new and edgy way? Chris Moyles? John Humphries? Brian Matthew? I’d love to know.

Russell Brand Writes For The Guardian

Russell Brand writes for the Guardian

No surprise there, of course. They’ve had some oddball columnists in their time, Myra Hindley, Osama Bin Laden, David Cameron, and they still employ George Moonbat. But the last time one of their sports columnists got in trouble for over the top plain-speaking was Big Ron Atkinson, and he got the red card from both ITV and the Guardian.

Will the same happen to Our Russell?

Diversity Of Opinion

A Diversity of Opinion

So I’m sitting there with my Horlicks, and a couple of digestive biscuits, watching Newsnight. The lovely Emily Maitis has convened a panel of three witty, cutting edge humorists to discuss the complex issues surrounding BrandRossSachsGate. First up, Jan Raven:

“They were out of order, but they are very funny and the BBC must not give in to the Daily Mail tendency”.

( I’m paraphrasing btw ).

Second, John O’Farrell:

“They were out of order, but they are very funny and the BBC must not give in to the Daily Mail tendency”.

( I’m still paraphrasing btw ).

I start to yawn. Where are those matchsticks that Tom used to use in the Tom and Jerry cartoons?

Third, and finally. We have Stephen K Amos. Great, someone to break the consensus. What do you think, Stephen?

“They were out of order, but they are very funny and the BBC must not give in to the Daily Mail tendency”.

( Yes, I’m still paraphrasing btw, but I was almost catatonic by then, and I don’t sit there with a notepad anyway ).

Gee. Thanks for that. Thankfully Virgin One were just about to start Sexcetera so at least I had something intellectually stimulating to go to sleep on.

Seeing off the Competition

As someone who likes to wake up with Alice Cooper and a bit of Zep and a touch of Rush, rather than the honeyed self-importance of John Humphreys, the news that my favourite radio station Planet Rock is to close comes as a bit of blow.
I also can’t help but notice that it has a bigger audience than the BBC’s Six Music. But, owing to the uniquely-funded… yes, you know how it goes. Planet Rock goes, and Six Music inherits a slice of its audience.

How I love paying my licence fee.

Return of the Yazzmonster

The disturbing right-wing drift of our beloved BBC continues apace, and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown ( aka “The Yazzmonster” ) files her latest report from the front line:

“Unlike me, my husband is not given to hissy fits or surges of flaming outrage”.

She begins. Hey, I can believe that. But she’s setting a pretty low bar, isn’t she?

“But last week he threw down his towel (literally) and finally gave up on the BBC. He thinks it has turned dilettante, is contemptuous of facts, of progressive politics and of its own responsibility to uphold decent values – its raison d’etre surely”.

Poor Mr. Brown. I wonder what he was doing. Had he just come out of the shower? Or maybe he was doing the dishes. I like to think the latter. If Mr. Brown was striding round his living room stark naked bellyaching about the BBC it could put me off my breakfast. Not in front of the children.

“I can completely understand my Englishman’s disillusionment, but I cling still to the noble idea of the BBC, to the breaking branch of a dying tree, though winds shake my faith every day.

As an act of back-dated contrition, the BBC gave Alastair Campbell hours of free promotion for his diaries. Now Tony Blair confides in a trusted, hand-picked journalist,”

that’s David “Aaro” Aaronovitch, another running dog of capitalism, apparently.

“confessing his greatness and his closeness to the Almighty. Then came news that the unique Dateline London (News 24 and BBC World), on which highly respected international journalists discuss world events, a programme watched by 78 million people, is to be axed”.

And about time too. On the very few occasions I have ever seen it it invariably contains the blessed Yazza, babbling on about something or other, some French bird from Le Monde, the ageing ex-Observer hack Adam Raphael, and an Arab gentleman who talks more sense than the rest of them.

“This act of vandalism was followed by an announcement of a season of programmes on the “besieged” white working classes. Nick Griffin of the BNP could well be their consultant. Are migrants going to get their series titled “Scapegoats”? Sometimes I wonder if these bigoted attitudes chime with BBC producers in the way that Families Need Fathers do. Perhaps their daughters are bringing home unsuitable “ethnic” boys too often.

Public-service broadcasters must make uncomfortable programmes on any group or on immigration – and there are excellent examples of responsible, critical journalism. But a whole series propagandising against multiracial Briton? To validate the race hate that sloshes all over our isles, from playgrounds to football pitches? Some researcher rang to discuss one programme “re-appraising” Enoch Powell. What’s to reappraise? My money is being used to reassure people who hate people like me”.

But of course the old girl hasn’t even seen the programmes. She doesn’t know what the series contains. Ignorance is bliss, eh? Still, it’s a long rant, which ends on a tearful, some might say lyrical tone.

“But yet, but yet, there is the wonder of the BBC too, as I was reminded last week when attending an event to mark the birth of the BBC World Service, the best of Britain exemplified – as reliable and authentic today as ever. Its director, Nigel Chapman should be proud that he keeps the promise made in December 1932, to tell the stories and uphold the good and free society. We watched a video of the key moments in history when the world had no other voice to tell them what was happening. Many of us were tearful as memories were brought back of the Idi Amin coup, Vietnam, the trial of Nelson Mandela.

In the gorgeous Art Deco theatre, Gavin Esler (who also presents Dateline) introduced and interrogated three previous Reith lecturers – the writer Wole Soyinka, the US economist Jeffrey Sachs, and the philosopher Onora O’Neill – on free speech and journalistic ethics. Once upon a time the corporation understood these concepts”.

Ah yes. Freedom of speech. What a quaint idea.

“Today the corruption of populism and relativism seeps under the imposing doors, fouls up a once venerated institution. The BBC we knew and trusted is no more. It is a player in the marketplace of nastiness, and I can no longer argue with any conviction for a licence fee”.

Fine by me, love. Privatise it. If Yazza thinks the Beeb is right-wing, wait till it’s privatised. Bring back Dixon of Dock Green! Bring back the Black and White Minstrel Show!

And Strictly Come Hanging. One day, folks, one day.

“This Time it is Personal”

announces Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (aka ‘The Yazzmonster’):

“It is personal guys. Several BBC broadcasters tell me they are not interested in ‘Guardian and Independent’ points of view. We are passé, irrelevant, annoying, elitist, too middle class and soft. Fashion moves on, the culture is now noisy and intolerant and the Beeb follows, is too feeble to stand up to ugly populism.

Many of us have-beens are no longer invited on to the robust debates on programmes where intelligent political debate should take place. Belligerence is sought- bring on the alpha right wingers like William Shawcross and bombastic Jeff Randall. Soon a Jeremy Clarkson mascot will replace Pudsy. Have a box of pins ready.

It is serious too guys – it will shape the nation over the next ten years. They diss the only consistently left of centre papers in the country – and so ditch the European Union, internationalism, multilateralism, fair immigration policies, equality, regulation, redistribution, legitimate (as opposed to illegal) wars”.

So what do we think? Does Yazza, as always, have her finger on the pulse? Is it time to close down the blog? Or should we hand it over to the leftoids so that they can take over? It’s a difficult one.

The BBC wants to increase the licence fee, and, guess what, the Guardian agrees

The BBC wants to increase the licence fee, and, guess what, the Guardian agrees:

“At a time when many of our traditional industries have lost their international reputation, the BBC has managed to maintain a blue chip brand of global excellence by combining technological innovation with editorial independence. It has proved a winning combination that is well worth backing for the future”.

Well, it’s an opinion.