So, according to this report in The Times, the BBC is going to make a range of cutbacks over the coming year, allowing everyone everywhere to marvel as they:
- SCRAP! Two radio stations
- CLOSE!! The good bits of their website
- STOP SPENDING MONEY ON!!! Quality imported TV shows and sport
There are a number of reasons why these actions are about as wrongheaded as agreeing to be driven home by a pissed chimpanzee, some of which I will briefly outline below.
1) It was all the Tories’ fault
Aware that a newly elected Conservative government would seek to prune the Corporation in much the same way as a napalm strike might prune a small bush, the BBC has chosen to pre-emptively scale back its activity.
If we feed this into the analogy machine we can see that the BBC is an octopus and that they’ve decided to rip off several of their most attractive tentacles because they think that there’s a shark nearby which is about to bite them off anyway and by doing it first they can show the shark that it doesn’t really need to do any nibbling and should probably leave the other tentacles attached.
2) The Kids will suffer
Apparently the BBC also plans to get rid of BBC Switch, its ‘youth strand’, leaving open the door for commercial competitors. Have you seen the kids content made by ITV et al? No neither have I, but most of it is probably rubbish cartoons and stuff about cooking that they put on Saturday morning by accident. Anthony Worral Thompson is hardly a suitable replacement for ‘Grimmy and Maccers’.
3) 6 Music has Adam and Joe on it
Until their recent hiatus the sixth station was the only place you could hear the popular speaking and music show made by Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish. It was amazing, as was the accompanying podcast. Now that it is gone, who is going to be funny on the radio? Certainly not ‘Sarah Kennedy’. Apparently 6 Music also played music, which everyone is bemoaning the loss of (#SAVE6MUSIC), although with blogs and the ability to right click/save as it’s not clear why you’d really need a radio station to discover music.
4) The viewers will suffer
The BBC has said it will stop spending as much money bringing US TV shows to these shores. Have you seen British TV? No neither have I but it is rubbish. Apart from Take Me Out, obv. Sky, of course, will relish the opportunity to snap up yet more of the best shows, forcing Freeview peasants everywhere to cry into their EPGs. The BBC effectively deciding to relinquish what little sporting rights it does have will have similar effects but with more slippers and ‘jerseys’.
5) They will cut from the bottom
Instead of trimming back the heaviest branches and getting rid of high-salaried bloaters, cutbacks to the Beeb’s web operation (The Times are quoting a 25% reduction in staff) will see the loss of jobs from the bottom of the pile, which is just about the most despicable thing about all of this.
6) Conor McNicholas’ position would look a bit shaky
If BBC Worldwide is forced to jettison its publishing arm, the future of Top Gear magazine, where the former NME man recently took the helm, would be at stake. Do we really want to live in a world where this is considered acceptable?
The whole thing, if indeed any of it is true, is a sorry mess. And if it isn’t true, it is still a sorry mess. Perhaps the final word on the matter should go to level-headed Times Online user Ben Lythgoe, who has the solution:
“Close the BBC I say. No more licence fee. Why do we pay it? We are the only country who allow ourselves to pay excessive amounts for a mediochre [sic] service. Will someone please start a Facebook campaign, lobby your MP. When the country switches over, just switch off the BBC. Cancel direct debits, on mass. One voice in union, no more licence fee.”