the BBC isn't it time we just got shot of it?

(427 Posts)
southeastastra Thu 22-Nov-12 22:51:42

it's very middle class blue peter biased in my view

not to mention the cover ups of late

i know that the majority wouldn't agree but a subscription service for radio 4 etc would ensure that's continuity

Autumnalis Thu 22-Nov-12 22:55:00

The BBC is ok. The licence fee is minuscule. They could get rid of Jeremy Clarkson, though.

hiddenhome Thu 22-Nov-12 22:55:27

Yes, we should get shot of it. They think far too much of themselves. The cover ups have appalled and sickened me. People keep going on about it happening years ago and times have changed, but I don't buy that. I think they're a bunch of fuckers and I begrudge every penny of the licence fee. We hardly watch the damn thing as it is, and hardly ever watch the BBC anyway.

valpollicella Thu 22-Nov-12 22:55:33

How could they fund the quality output with a subscription service?

FabulousFreaks Thu 22-Nov-12 22:56:24

Their bias is shocking

Bunbaker Thu 22-Nov-12 22:57:35

Most of the programmes I like to watch are on the BBC so YABVU.

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 22-Nov-12 22:58:09

YABU in my opinion, the beeb is just about the only channel i watch - do you really want an end to reasonable dramas and decent programming in favour of X factor and im a celeb? because i dont.
i never watch itv. rarely watch ch 4 these days either.
i watch alot of bbc 1, 2, 3 and 4.

i do not want rid of it and i think the government has just been waiting for an excuse to get rid tbh.

i want quality programming. not shit reality tv thats churned out endlessly on the other channels.

BeautifulBlondePineapple Thu 22-Nov-12 22:58:48

Dunno about the whole BBC but can we at least dump Steve Wright? He is so goddam smug and incessantly talks over the music. If he had been within reaching distance last week when he talked over Nirvana's Lithium I would have throttled him!

...and breathe...

ArtexMonkey Thu 22-Nov-12 23:01:45

I love the Bbc, we don't know how lucky we are to have it IMO, even with all the shit that's gone on, and bollocks like eastenders and all the shite on bbc3. itv is largely unwatchable, the dross on there makes Help My Dog's As Fat As Me look like the Wire.

OddBoots Thu 22-Nov-12 23:02:34

No, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. They stuffed up but it's not like they've even come close to a Murdoch style brushing under the carpet and they are the ones who will benefit if the BBC gets closed. I shudder at the thought of that already near-monopoly controlling more of our screens.

TooMuchRain Thu 22-Nov-12 23:06:11

The BBC is amazing and so much more than the sum of the saville story that is being very obviously exploited by the Murdoch media.

Getting rid of the BBC would be getting rid of the baby with the bathwater IMHO.

Winston Churchill said “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” I reckon that the BBC is the worst broadcaster except all the others.


hiddenhome Thu 22-Nov-12 23:06:45

What are people watching on the bbc then? I can't find anything worth watching sad I catch Holby City once a week and that's it.

LadyBeagle Thu 22-Nov-12 23:10:38

I watch a lot of the BBC, and their world service in countries that are unable to access anything else is a service that can change lives.
I feel they're well balanced in their news reports, though the whole Jimmy Savile thing and the cover up has shocked me.
But then again, where were the Sun, The Mail, ITV, and Channel 4, nobody did anything.
And yes I like shite telly, I watch X Factor and I'm a Celebrity, but I trust the BBC, they're like a comfort blanket.

musicposy Thu 22-Nov-12 23:11:19

The idea of a compulsory licence fee is antiquated, in my opinion, a relic of a time when there were only a couple of channels to watch. I can't see it is so much better than anyone else that we have to pay for it. And the licence fee is most certainly not miniscule! It's a lot of money if you're only on a very average wage.

I agree, OP. It's had its day. Make them advertise/ get subscribers like everyone else.

Flatbread Thu 22-Nov-12 23:12:40

I agree. Get rid of public funding for BBC. It is obsolete and has mediocre programming.

I watched the US election coverage on BBC and Sky News. On BBC, they had an old fat guy with some boring guests and a rambling commentary. On Sky they had interesting interviews with people in the ground and iinformative statistics in the screen on voter demographics etc. BBC seemed so 1990s in their coverage style.

Plus I find a lot of their documentaries of very average quality. Not surprising as their production budgets are slashed while useless management line their pockets with our money.

I would willingly pay for Radio 4, though.

Flatbread Thu 22-Nov-12 23:13:43

On the ground

Nancy66 Thu 22-Nov-12 23:13:57

God no. They have their problems but they are still world class broadcasters.

Whenever I come back from places like the US or Australia I am always so glad we have the BBC

hiddenhome Thu 22-Nov-12 23:15:06

Radio 4 is the only half decent thing they churn out, the rest is utter cack. They've become complacent and arrogant. Get rid of them, they suck.

Confuseddd Thu 22-Nov-12 23:16:32

Yes, they need a shake up. You're generally only allowed to be on tv as a female if you're young and decorative. It's part of the old boy's network. And can I nominate Jeremy Paxman, Jeremy Clarkson, John Humphries and Johnathan Ross to be first to go. Their arrogant and insensitive posturing makes me fume.

Ahhhh, thanks. I feel better now

Bunbaker Thu 22-Nov-12 23:18:23

BBC programmes that I have enjoyed/am enjoying:

The Great British Bake off
The Paradise
Inspector Montalbano
The Killing
The Secret of Crickley Hall
Mock the Week
Have I got New For You
Great Continental Railway Journeys
Various cookery shows

Nancy66 Thu 22-Nov-12 23:19:55

Question Time
the recent Jimmy McGovern series of dramas
Good Cop

I love Paxman and Humphries! Clarkson should be shot at dawn isn't worth a damn, and hasn't Ross already gone to commercial TV?

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 22-Nov-12 23:22:28

I never appreciated the BBC until I lived outside the UK.

It is brilliant. I never want it to go. YABVU

Flatbread Thu 22-Nov-12 23:23:03

Bun, which of these programmes are of compelling Public Interest that they need to be funded by taxpayers?

hiddenhome Thu 22-Nov-12 23:23:31

Ha, ha, they got rid of Angus Deaton on HIGNFY for snorting a bit of coke and there was JS and his cronies raping and abusing vulnerable people like that and nobody batted an eyelid hmm

Fuckers angry

and that bloody dancing programme they have on with that dreadful fossil presenting it.......<shudder>.....'orrible.

NekoChan Thu 22-Nov-12 23:24:01

YABVU! It is worth paying the licence fee just for the joy that is 6 music; no commercial radio station would ever play the eclectic, often underground music that they play.
Subscription or advertising would destroy the BBC as we know it and it would eventually end up as shit as ITV (shivers). I love the BBC and you can't destroy such an amazing organisation just because of two mistakes. The op clearly doesn't watch or listen to much of the Beeb's output or wouldn't be so quick to get rid.

Heroine Thu 22-Nov-12 23:24:38

I wonder if there is a way to stop Sky/Fox employees from posting on MN?

Confuseddd Thu 22-Nov-12 23:26:05

They're a pair of dyspeptic old dinosaurs whereyouleftit. Evan Davis is so much more lovely. Humphries has NO discernible sense of humour.

TheFarSide Thu 22-Nov-12 23:28:41

I'm a bit pissed off with the BBC today after hearing that they've just appointed a new DG without an interview - no other publicly funded organisation would be able to get away with this.

Heroine Thu 22-Nov-12 23:29:45

Oh don't be naive, most public sector organisations operate like this...

MrsGrieves Thu 22-Nov-12 23:31:03

I do resent the licence fee tbh, I wouldn't care if it had adverts, I would slightly miss it if it disappeared completely watching QT. I don't think the quality of the programming is very good lately, the documentaries (barring some on bbc4) are very dumbed down, just why do they have to have fucking Brian Cox strolling down a beach in Antigua gurning and emoting, he could that in Tooting.

The last thing I was compelled to watch on the BBC was Torchwood:Children of Earth, hmm thinking about it maybe they should just cut the amount of channels they have, really concentrate on decent drama/documentaries etc.

Any corporation which shows "Sinners and Saints" cannot be accused of being impartial fgs, I didn't watch it, I don't think my blood pressure could stand it.

Collaborate Thu 22-Nov-12 23:31:06

So, the head of the BBC should resign because JS was a monster. Despite the fact that the police couldn't stop him.

The Murdoch press (and Sky etc) were very vocal over this. Short memories. Old Rupert didn't offer to resign over illegal phone hacking and corrupt payments to the police, but hell, what are they when compared to having an employee commit crimes.

Flatbread Thu 22-Nov-12 23:31:31

Neko, can't you get similar music on Spotify? Would be cheaper than Beeb, I think.

hiddenhome Thu 22-Nov-12 23:32:08

Cash In The Attic hmm Tragic
Young Apprentice hmm Dull and repetitive
Eastenders sad Yucky....people arguing non stop Jeremy Kyle style....thoroughly depressing
The One Show........just....totally....S-A-D
Strictly (why do they call it that?) Come Dancing On Ice whatever.......<yawn>
Panorama - default programme - let's knock care homes/elderly care...nasty, evil carers the lot of 'em......Grrrr......lazy programming hmm
Pointless........yeah, like totally, so why do it?

Confuseddd, that's why I love them so much! But I must agree about Evan Davis, he is fab. Incisive, and such a lovely voice.

musicposy Thu 22-Nov-12 23:33:28

I would agree that I would happily pay for Radio 4. But that would be my choice, not something foisted upon me to line the pockets of their overpaid management.

Nancy66 Thu 22-Nov-12 23:33:51

The charter compels the BBC to provide public value in a wide range of varied, educational, diverse programming. I think it does this

stargirl1701 Thu 22-Nov-12 23:34:52

How quickly you forget the fabulous coverage of The Olympics. YABVU.

hiddenhome Thu 22-Nov-12 23:35:02

When I was growing up, BBC2 used to be the place for intelligent programmes and documentaries, but there's just nothing now sad

MrsGrieves Thu 22-Nov-12 23:35:26

They should bring back heart of the matter too, I liked that, they always gloss over important topics on QT and spend more time than is healthy discussing wind farms who the fuck cares.

Nancy66 Thu 22-Nov-12 23:36:33

There have been two amazing documentaries this week alone.

Four Born Every second

and Storyville the other night about the Jonestown massacre

TheFarSide Thu 22-Nov-12 23:37:23

And they've just given away £450k of our money to pay off the old DG.

hiddenhome Thu 22-Nov-12 23:37:27

Do they still do those daft live wildlife programmes with Bill Oddie whittering on about cute birdies in their nests and red squirrels?

plutocrap Thu 22-Nov-12 23:37:45

I love the BBC, for music, drama, news and documentaries. I think the license fee is excellent value.

As for covering up Jimmy Savile, at least they had a reason to do it: frantically and, yes, pusillanimously covering arses! What's the excuse of other so-called journalistic organisations?

"Strictly (why do they call it that?) "
A jokey combination of the name of a previous programme,Come Dancing and the name of the film Strictly Ballroom.

louisianablue2000 Thu 22-Nov-12 23:39:10

YABU. I watch more BBC4 than anything else. What other station in the world would have a programme about Statistics followed by a Food History programme. And the stuff the kids watch on cbeebies, we get home from school and they see programmes on health, wildlife and then social history (plus Grandpa in my Pocket but we'll ignore that!). The BBC is great.

TheFarSide Thu 22-Nov-12 23:40:25

The BBC could be even greater still if it got rid of all the overpaid dead wood managers.

joanbyers Thu 22-Nov-12 23:42:25

I wish we would. It's so up its own arse.

They go on about how the World Service is so popular in Timbuktu or something, but the World Service probably costs us about 5p a year, and the rest goes to pay Chris Moyles and his ilk.

ToffeeCaramel Thu 22-Nov-12 23:47:22

No way! The other channels are dross compared to the BBC ones. Radio 4 is brill.

ToffeeCaramel Thu 22-Nov-12 23:49:53

It's great having children's channels without adverts. I would hate to lose that option. They are the best quality children's channels too.

Flatbread Thu 22-Nov-12 23:51:31

Pluto, the thing is I can boycott all these other organisations, withhold my money by not watching their programmes. But I am compelled to pay for BBC.

I think even people who like BBC programmes should be in favour of removing the compulsory license. If they provide half-way decent programmes, people will pay for it voluntarily.

The way it is set-up now, there is every incentive for executives to bloat their own ranks and take as much as they can, because there are no consequences for their actions, they have a captive market.

RyleDup Thu 22-Nov-12 23:53:16

I like the BBC.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 22-Nov-12 23:56:22

>Do they still do those daft live wildlife programmes with Bill Oddie whittering on about cute birdies in their nests and red squirrels?

you mean spring/autumnWatch? Bill oddie hasn't been on it for years (I think because of illness) but its a seasonal treat, one of DDs absolute favourites (for a few years the only things she bothered watching at all was those, Dr Who and - oddly - an occasional Top Gear.

The fee is worth it just for all the Attenborough stuff, Dr Who and Radio 4.
And the news reporting is very good.

Having lived in the US made me realise what a treasure the BBC is.

joanbyers Thu 22-Nov-12 23:58:54

The notion that we need a telly tax to protect us from the horrors of commercial TV looks increasingly outdated in the internet era.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 00:01:23

Grimm, NPR is pretty good in the US. And no compulsory license.

piprabbit Fri 23-Nov-12 00:04:10

Please don't leave me to the tender mercies of the smug gits on ITV.

Spons Fri 23-Nov-12 00:05:11


CaliforniaLeaving Fri 23-Nov-12 05:18:50

I never appreciated the BBC until I lived outside the UK.

It is brilliant. I never want it to go. YABVU
I completely agree, I love BBC shows, they keep me going.
It would be a complete over reaction to get rid just because of JS, I always thought he was a creep when I used to see him on Top of the pops when I was a kid.

gettingeasier Fri 23-Nov-12 05:26:58


Hyperballad Fri 23-Nov-12 05:30:33

I wouldn't want to lose the bbc, I watch quite a lot:

Dragons den
Master chef
Egg heads
Brazil (Palin)
The Indian Ocean (totally loving this!)
The Apprentice
Don't tell the Bride

Listen to:
Radio 4
Radio 1
Radio 1 extra.

That said, I think the breakfast news programme is terrible and news in general, it is fantastically biased and unprofessional. I can't stand how 'relaxed' the presenters have become, I think I'm watching 'not the 9 o'clock news' then it dawns on me I'm watching the real thing!

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 05:44:17

I don't watch that much TV, but when I do it's not BBC that I watch. I really resent paying a licence for something I don't use. I think it should be an opt in service - and I can't believe that the technology isn't there to produce TVs or Sat Receivers that have BBC blocked.

I have lived overseas a lot, but even then didn't miss BBC or use World Service. Even the Olympics didn't bother me - we were on holiday for most of it, but caught the bits we wanted on Eurosport.

Right now I have no choice but to pay my licence, but in a couple of years I won't - I'll be taking my chances then.

I think it's really wrong that the BBC can charge us for something we don't want or use, and even worse that you can be fined or jailed for not doing so.

Stonefield Fri 23-Nov-12 05:58:43

Of course the Beeb aren't perfect but it would be a sorry state of affairs without them. I would rather they binned ITV and Channel 5.
And as many posters have already said, most of TV abroad is appalling in comparison.

disparatefishwife Fri 23-Nov-12 05:58:55

I love radio 4, radios 6 & 2 and classic. Also enjoy bbc4 Friday night music specials but I think after everything murky that's happened lately our fee should be seriously reviewed. I think I'd rather have advertising than line their pockets any further.

echt Fri 23-Nov-12 05:59:51

BBC is well worth it. Try living abroad and you'll see how valuable it is.

disparatefishwife Fri 23-Nov-12 06:00:30

Also cheebies is pretty good although not sure about treefu and Mike knight, more suited to channel 5 imo.

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 06:05:41

Add message | Report | Message poster echt Fri 23-Nov-12 05:59:51
BBC is well worth it. Try living abroad and you'll see how valuable it is

I have. I didn't miss it, didn't watch it. Didn't notice a change when I came back to UK.

I think it depends on how much TV you watch. If you are like me and watch a max of 2-3 hours a day, then it's easy to do without it. If you watch more, then you may be more dependant on it.

I'd rather pay on subscription, or have adverts.

LucieMay Fri 23-Nov-12 06:50:44

Not scrapped but the licence fee should be scrapped and replaced with voluntary subscription or adverts. I would probably still pay for it but I resent being forced to.

volley Fri 23-Nov-12 07:09:22

What annoys me is, we pay the license fee so all these programs can be made, then alot of them are released on DVD and sold again. My question is where is the profit sharing?! We helped pay for them, shouldn't we get a share of the profits ;)
And don't even get me started on the amount of repeats that are on EVERYDAY!!
We do love cbeebies though, would have cracked long ago without it smile
What always seems crazy to me is that it still costs £73 to have a license if you're registered blind!

Badvocsanta Fri 23-Nov-12 07:16:37

Compared to other countries the bbc is the diamond standard of braodcasring but you dint realise that until you have to watch what other people in other countries watch!
German TV....shudder!

mummybare Fri 23-Nov-12 07:18:30


Cozy9 Fri 23-Nov-12 07:20:49

The licence fee seems to have increased at the same time that the quality of programming has decreased.

WidowWadman Fri 23-Nov-12 07:22:23

hiddenhome "Do they still do those daft live wildlife programmes with Bill Oddie whittering on about cute birdies in their nests and red squirrels? "

There's no Bill Oddie anymore, but Springwatch and Autumnwatch are fantastic!
I hardly watch any channels apart from the Beeb.

JakeBullet Fri 23-Nov-12 07:32:14

I don't watch live TV anymore...for no other reason than no time. I do love BBC iPlayer though and thinkk the quality of BBC programmes far superior to most other stuff.

BBC News in the morning versus GMTV....I rest my case. Far better reporting and less shallow nonsense. Worth the licence fee on its own....and yet apparently as I don't watch live TV I don't need to pay it.

marshmallowpies Fri 23-Nov-12 07:32:30

What I'm watching on the BBC recently:
Thick of It
The Killing
Only Connect
University Challenge
David Attenborough
An Island Parish
Lots of 6 Music

I stopped listening to Today a few years back (sick of Thought for the Day more than anything) and I do think the news programming has got a bit stale & needs a bit of a shake-up. Newsnight is very far from the show it was 10 years back when I watched it religiously.

I hate TV with adverts (only things I'm making a point of watching on C4/E4 at the moment are Fresh Meat & Big Bang Theory) so I couldn't live without the BBC. I think the licence fee is worth every penny.

merrymouse Fri 23-Nov-12 07:39:24

This year, I am happy to pay the license fee for (among other things) Alphablocks, Radio 4, 5 and 2, all the information on their website, Horrible Histories, random documentaries on BBC2 and BBC4, at the moment 'Hunted' and the Olympics coverage.

I think all media organisations are going to have to review how they fund their services over the next few years, whether websites, newspapers or TV. However, at the moment, for me, the license fee is a bargain.

EauRouge Fri 23-Nov-12 07:43:17

I don't get a lot of time to watch TV but when I do it's almost exclusively BBC channels. Only Connect, HIGNFY, Pointless, QT, documentaries and yes, Top Gear and the F1 coverage. Not to mention Cbeebies, which DD1 loves.

I would probably stop watching TV altogether without the beeb or just stick to DVDs because adverts are migraine-inducing, all those flashing images and shouting (I know I sound like my dad, but he is right ). There's some good stuff on channel 4 sometimes but ITV is just utter crap. Is channel 5 still going?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 23-Nov-12 08:08:18

Volley, it doesn't really work like that.

Kudos the production company makes Spooks. Before they make it, they might take the concept round to several broadcasters, DVD publishers etc. They will sell various rights in advance to cover the production costs, often to more than one company to spread the costs. So the BBC may not get much or any of the profits from, say, DVD sales of Spooks as they need to be split between the rights holder and the production company

People are letting themselves get whipped up into hysteria over the JS thing. Yes, what he did was terrible. But to advocate getting rid of a good service (and it IS a good service, even if you personally don't like it) because of something that happened decades ago and is extremely unlikely to happen again is madness.

marshmallowpies Fri 23-Nov-12 08:17:57

TheDoctrine yes good point about DVD rights - I don't think the BBC even got the rights to repeat Spooks, and whilst I don't want box sets gathering dust in my house I'd love to watch the early series again. Maybe they'll be on Netflix someday. It always annoys me in particular when a DVD is out before the series has ended!

merrymouse also has a good point - realistically, the way we watch TV is changing and in 15 or 20 years time I doubt the BBC will exist in the way it does now (but then neither will Sky, or broadsheet newspapers). I just hope some ad-free TV and radio will still be available somehow...

EasyFromNowOn Fri 23-Nov-12 08:20:20

And, Volley for DVD sales where the rights are owned by the BBC, the sales are via BBC WorldWide, and the profits go back into the BBC to fund further programming. If the BBC did not get funding from Worldwide as well, the licence fee would need to be higher than it is for the same level of programming, or the BBC would need to do less.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 23-Nov-12 08:28:38

I am happy to pay the licence fee...there are so many decent quality programmes made that we would lose if tv went totally commercial.

It's one of the things about GB that I am most proud of.

AuntieMaggie Fri 23-Nov-12 08:31:07

They do fantastic dramas such as Hunted which are better than a lot of films imo.

To add to those already mentioned:
Dr who
silent witness
have i got news for you
graham norton
live at the apollo

to name a few...

SuffolkNWhat Fri 23-Nov-12 08:33:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wilding Fri 23-Nov-12 08:41:19

Another one here who'd happily pay the licence fee just for Radio 4 <middle class emoticon>

I hardly ever watch TV but when I do it's always the BBC. Of course there are some programmes that are utter shite but compared to the sort of dross that's on ITV the BBC is amazing. And their flagship programmes - the big dramas, the documentaries - are always fantastic.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 23-Nov-12 08:44:34

Am I the only one to see the irony of a previous poster complaining about the quality of Eastenders by describing it as 'Jeremy Kyle like'.?

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 08:49:02

The programmes I am watching at the moment (not on BBC) are:

Australian Masterchef on Watch
The Walking Dead on FX
The Mentalist on 5
Jungle Gold on Discovery
QI on Dave
The Simpsons on 4 and Sky 1
The Middle on Sky 1

Currently on Season Break, but watched otherwise:

NCIS LA on Sky 1
Hawaii 5-O on Sky 1
Bones on Sky 1
Rizzoli & Isles on Alibi
Castle on Alibi or 5
CSIs (LV and NY) 5 or Fiver
Criminal Minds on Sky 1

DD watches The Middle, The Simpsons, Cartoonito and Boomerang (and whatever channel she can get re-runs of Mr Bean!). DH watches what I watch but also Sports on a weekend and weird Discovery stuff during the day.

Nothing I'm watching should mean that I pay the Licence Fee. Some people prefer their children to watch CBeebies/CBBC to cut out the adverts and that I understand, but those people should pay for the priviledge (and do). I don't see why those of us that don't care should pay?

When we lived overseas we paid for sat/cable of whatever country it was. MyVision from Cytanet in Cyprus was excellent - and a darn sight better than BFBS which was bloody wall to wall soaps. In Germany and Norway it was easy to get Sky.

I must admit I don't like the snobbery that is shown when people say they don't watch BBC. All TV is dross, we only watch it because it is there - BBC or Commercial. If we didn't have TV we'd find something else to do.

ConferencePear Fri 23-Nov-12 08:56:03

Abolish the BBC ? I think anyone who suggests this has never experienced TV in other countries. Would they really prefer TV as in the USA where they can't really report the news impartially because of the sponsors, or is largely state-controlled as in France, or Berlusconi controlled in Italy ?
The BBC may need reform, but abolition ?
They can't be serious.

MissWooWoo Fri 23-Nov-12 09:06:31

I'm with Conference

BBC 4 is worth the licence fee alone.

JugglingWithPossibilities Fri 23-Nov-12 09:11:25

I love the BBC !
CBBC and CBeebies alone have been life savers and are fab smile
I love my telly and so much of what I watch is on the Beeb - Michael Palin, and a good costume drama, interesting documentaries, Strictly Come Dancing, Radio 4.
You must be crazy (YABU) to think of getting rid of the whole BBC because of the horrible crimes of Jimmy Saville and mistakes made following this.
Putting things right and making sure it can't happen again (as far as possible) is surely a better way forward.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 09:19:44

I have lived in many countries and find nothing special about BBC anymore. The golden days are over. The quality of news is terrible, other sources are far superior with better coverage.

In the US, I loved NPR, Jon Steward, Bill Maher et. al. None of these were funded by a tax-payer license.

The problem with BBC is that it is bloated with too many people lining their pockets. Why are we paying almost half a million to Ex DG who resigned and is not contractually due this? It shows the culture, money is no object when it cones to paying management. Yet they have been cutting budgets for documentaries. No wonder BBC has such average to poor quality programmes.

Kevin MacDonald, director of The Last King of Scotland said in an interview "Documentary making has become harder than ever. When I started doing documentaries in the early Nineties the budget for a Channel 4 documentary was £120,000 on average. These days if you had £120,000 for a documentary you would say that's unbelievable. Today, 18 years later, you are expected to make something for BBC4 on the same subject for £40,000, which is the equivalent of £20,000 back then."

Where is our license fee going? How can they pay £450k to a guy who resigned, and yet plead poverty in making programmes? They can, because they get £4 BILLION from us irrespective of the mediocre crap they churn out.

Go live abroad, watch their incredibly awful TV then reconsider whether you think the BBC is quality broadcasting.

You'll find it is bloody amazing compared. In fact, just compare it to ITV.

UrbanSpaceManBaby Fri 23-Nov-12 09:20:55


Ask your self why commercial organistions are so keen to see the back of the BBC, you may not directly watch their programmes but it's existence acts as a brake upon the comeercial world. Without the BBC you would probably see:

More adverts, The US has them before/after the credits, ten minutes in, then another set...
Sky subscriptions would dramatically increase.
Little new childrens programming, so heavily merchandising, limited brands.
Less UK tv, more stuff created for a 'global' audience, this without doubt would be inoffensive and bland.

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 09:26:01

Go live abroad, watch their incredibly awful TV then reconsider whether you think the BBC is quality broadcasting

I have, I did, and I don't think the BBC is quality broadcasting. Not any more.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 09:30:46

BBC hardly spends money on quality programming. The big bucks go on dubious celebrities.

From a Guardian report:
The report shows that total BBC turnover topped £5bn for the first time last year, with revenues reaching £5.09bn in the year to 31 March 2012, up from £4.99bn. Of this £3.6bn came from the licence fee, with 25.7m households due to pay the £145.50 compulsory annual levy.

The media focus is on Jeremy Clarkson's pay as top BBC star, and that data is in the report too:
• Alan Hansen and Chris Evans are also likely to be on the top earning list, after the BBC confirmed that the combined pay of its stars earning £1m-plus a year fell to £9.7m from £14.7m a year ago
• One person – speculatively identified as Jeremy Paxman – earned between £500,000 and £750,000, taking home £823,000 in a bracket whose members last year shared £3.3m
• Between nine and 12 were paid between £500,000 and £750,000 with the total amounting to £6.01m, a group likely to include the outgoing Radio 1 breakfast presenter Chris Moyles

This group's combined pay is up from £4.08m last year, although that reflects BBC efforts to trim the amount it pays its best-known names by about 20% when deals come up as it contends with a flat licence fee.

Yet it has cut down budgets for BBC news and Radio4 and documentaries. Why on earth are the taxpayers paying millions to entertainers?

Iggly Fri 23-Nov-12 09:39:14


I do not want a service like Sky thank you very much. You pay a fortune yet still have to put up with adverts left right and centre and the quality of programming is, to be blunt, shit.

I'm sure the argument for entertainers is that these are market rates etc etc.

flatbread, what do you propose?

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 09:44:52

Morning Flatbread - looks like we finally found a subject we agree on grin

I think people that want the BBC should pay for it on subscription.

I think the people that don't want the BBC should only be allowed to watch commercial TV.

How easy was that? grin

forgetmenots Fri 23-Nov-12 09:45:14

Yabu. Don't want news to be bought by the highest bidder like in America. The papers have gone that way. If we lose the BBC then all the other broadcasters will be under far more financial pressure to bow to advertisers and companies. No thanks. and I love Sherlock

MoreBeta Fri 23-Nov-12 09:47:57

Cut it back to BBC 1 and BBC 2 with Radio 1, 2, 3, 4. Make it just taxpayer funded with no licence fee and a strict public service and education role.

It has become a huge organisation that is far too diverse to manage effectively and needs a staff and revenue cut of at least 50%.

ppeatfruit Fri 23-Nov-12 09:48:50

YABU BUT you have a point;IMO The beeb should change its whole management ethos; it does need a shake up in the RIGHT way though (far too many important programming content decisions are left to very young and inexperienced producers) .

There is too much running after the yoof listeners and viewers . When people grow up they want something intelligent to watch not just the dross that Sky et al give out. (though also Downton Abbey actually gave BBC a kick in the head) because Paradise is not quite in that league.

BarbecuedBillygoats Fri 23-Nov-12 09:52:57

Spooks is on Netflix btw
All of it

prettybird Fri 23-Nov-12 09:55:06

"The BBC spends hardly any many on quality broadcasting" hmm

You then go on to complain about the megabucks paid to some of the presenters (I'd hardly call them "dubious celebrities" even if I personally don't like many of them, many others do) accounting for 0.37%, ie less than half of one percent of the BBC's budget. hmm

I am still happy to pay the licence fee for the breadth of broadcasting we receive unfettered by advertising and relatively free of political meddling.

Iggly Fri 23-Nov-12 09:55:53

So MoreBeta, where does your figure of 50% come from?

And Dallas that isn't easy because of things like the iplayer.

I think the license fee is definitely an outdated model. However I want an organisation which makes decent programmes and I've yet to see a commercial company do that.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 09:56:15

Iggy, if they want their pay based on a free market rate, then they should operate in a free market, no? Why mandate taxpayer funding for celebs?

I suggest two option. First option, is to follow the US model for Public Service Broadcasting (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) both of which are excellent. They only get 20% or so of their funding from the government, the rest are through donations and foundations. See here

The second alternative is voluntary fees, and BBC competing like any other news and entertainment media.

ltEvans, I guess there is a first for everything grin

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 09:56:51
prettybird Fri 23-Nov-12 09:57:22

Oops - autocorrect changed "money" to "many" blush

larrygrylls Fri 23-Nov-12 09:59:37

It always amazes me that left wingers defend the anachronism which is the BBC. It is a retrograde tax on the poor to allow the wealthy to watch non economic but "high culture" programmes. At the same time it is an amazing public subsidy to a combination of untalented "talent" and mediocre non management which would have done any fatcat banker proud at the height of the financial bubble.

Come on. Time to call it a day. Maybe allow a small subsidised public service channel go forwards for a licence fee of £25 or so. As for the rest, let people pay for it if they want it, just like anyone else.

aufaniae Fri 23-Nov-12 10:00:50

Absolutely not! The standard of broadcasting will drop overall if we lose the BBC.

This kind of thinking makes me very sad sad

NUFC69 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:04:29

LtEveDallas - are you my twin? I can't wait for all those non-BBC programmes to start again, definitely my favourites. The only thing I am currently watching on the Beeb is Strictly Come Dancing, and this is only the second series we have ever watched. I did watch The Great British Bake Off this year, but I see that one of the Sky channels is now running repeats of previous series.

I think the thing is that the people who say it is fantastic value for money and wonderful programming, shouldn't expect those of us, who mostly don't watch it, pay for their entertainment. They would quite rightly get upset if I asked them to pay for my Sky subscription.

Quenelle Fri 23-Nov-12 10:04:51

There was a woman on the Today programme last week whose name I didn't catch (Culture & Media Select Committee perhaps?) who was banging on about how the BBC should stop making reality shows and only make wildlife programmes etc etc etc. Basically, she wanted the BBC to only show what she likes to watch.

The OP thinks they are too 'middle class'.

They can't please everyone all the time can they?

The BBC is local, national and worldwide. TV, radio and publishing. News, entertainment, information and education.

I love the BBC. I'm proud of it as a British organisation that leads the world in broadcasting. I dread what we would be left with if we lost it.

Iggly Fri 23-Nov-12 10:05:01

flatbread no, I dont think they should operate in a free market. Such a thing doesnt really exist as we've seen with banks being bailed out by the state. The idea of a free market is a lovely (!) one but it doesn't work. I don't think the BBC should be paying ridiculous packages to celebs quite frankly anyway.

Now the US isn't exactly known for its amazing television so I'm not sure about your proposal.

aufaniae Fri 23-Nov-12 10:08:11

Even if you don't watch the BBC, the other channels you watch are most likely influenced for the better by the BBC's excellence in broadcasting - no not every BBC program is excellent, but overall - as Quenelle says, they are world-leaders, and their existence raises the bar for everyone.

SugarplumMary Fri 23-Nov-12 10:08:21

There isn't a day that goes by where we don't use at least one of its services - so even though the licence fee is a lot I can't say it’s not worth it.

Can't say I watch BBC1 and BBC2 that much - we watch more the sky channels however the BBC children channels, webpages – children’s which are full of activities and learning support and news, pod casts, and Radio 4 are regularly used and are fantastic quality. I also like the I-player when the sky box is on the fritz again or when the DC want to watch more episodes of a series.

I think subscription to these services would cost so much more and I'm not sure how you'd have a sunsciption to accesses radio stations.

I also think the DC webpages and the edcuations stuff on there would no longer exist.

larrygrylls Fri 23-Nov-12 10:11:50

"I think subscription to these services would cost so much more and I'm not sure how you'd have a sunsciption to accesses radio stations."

I wonder why that would be? Could it be that a lot of poor people would decide NOT to pay this retrograde tax and subsidise your viewing? How is making them pay for what they do not want to watch remotely fair?

"I love the BBC. I'm proud of it as a British organisation that leads the world in broadcasting. I dread what we would be left with if we lost it. "

If enough people feel the same as you, it would not be lost, merely paid for by the people who love and want it.

BarbecuedBillygoats Fri 23-Nov-12 10:14:05

I would pay the fee for octonauts and horrible histories alone

I love a lot of bbc program's and I don't think I could bear to listen to radio program's with adverts all the time

fedupofnamechanging Fri 23-Nov-12 10:14:15

If we are going to continue bankrolling the BBC, then it should be forced to only make dramas, news and documentaries - as much as I like Don't Tell The Bride, any commercial channel could make this. I'm not sure I should be taxed to fund the dire quiz shoes and reality TV that the BBC indulge themselves with.

This might mean that the BBC goes back to the days when it didn't run 24/7, and that would be okay, so long as we got more programmes like Sherlock and fewer programmes like Strictly.

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 10:14:21

Taken from the BBC Website:

The BBC used its income from the licence fee to pay for its TV, radio and online services, plus other costs, as shown below.

£7.96 per month per household:
BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, CBBC, CBeebies, BBC News, BBC Parliament, BBC HD, BBC red Button. Total spend £2,351million (66%)

£2.11 per month per household:
BBC R1, BBC R1X, BBC R2, BBCR3, BBCR4, BBCR5, BBCR6, BBCR7, BBCRA, BBC Local, BBC Nan Gaidheal, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Ulster Foyle. Total Spend £604million (17%)

£0.66 per month per household: BBC Online, iPlayer, BBC Mobile. Total Spend £199million (6%)

Other costs
£1.40 per month per household: digitalTv, investment in new technology, running costs, collecting the licence fee. Total spend £406million (11%)

* * * * * * * * * *

So that is £10.73 per month in services I don’t use. I would happily pay £1.40 per month, solely for the “Investment in new technology” part of the licence, but I don't see why I should pay for the rest.

My list above shows what TV I watch, I only listen to local radio at work, or Heart when I am driving; I don't use BBC online, iPlayer or mobile.

Keep the BBC and the Licence Fee for the people that want it, let the rest of us opt out.

spotsdots Fri 23-Nov-12 10:16:45

There is more to BBC than the tv and radio. My child's education improved significantly, especially science since I didn't know how to help her thanks to the BBC website (education sites).

Saying that, I hate when I hear people being paid ludicrous amounts of money especially when they had done crap job and when they leave they get large pay offs.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 10:19:36

Larry is right, and the PBS/ NPR are good examples of how private funding can sustain a high-quality public broadcasting service. 60% of the funding comes from private donations. The programmes are excellent. Would give the BBC of former glory a run for their money.

The people who keep saying BBC is better than broadcasters worldwide have evidently not travelled/lived abroad in recent years because TV elsewhere has moved on to higher standards.

BBC is run by old white men who are caught in a time warp. Patten and his ilk are a joke, and only competent in feeding off the taxpayer trough. Time to move on.

PeshwariNaan Fri 23-Nov-12 10:21:23

Um, no. YABU.

Anyone who's ever lived in a place without quality public television - in my case, the US - will vouch for the greatness of the BBC. I genuinely don't think people appreciate it here because they take it for granted. It's so incredibly cheap for what you get. And what you get is truly amazing.

In the US, you get four crappy network channels for free, with five minutes of advertising every seven minutes or so. The programming quality and "journalism" on these television networks is abysmally low. There is one severely under-funded public television network (PBS) which is in constant threat of being cut by the government, so runs pledge drives to get people to pledge money constantly. None of these five channels can ever, ever hope to touch the quality of the BBC. To get anything better, you have to subscribe to basic cable - upwards of $75/ mo. To get anything REALLY good, like HBO, you will be spending $200/ mo or so. (My family was never able to afford it.) HBO in my opinion is about on par with what you get on the BBC.

The BBC is renowned worldwide - in the US people are in awe of the programming and journalism you get. Television access here is so much cheaper, better, more equitable than in the US. It's like night and day.

Cozy9 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:21:35

The BBC hasn't made the best TV programmes in the world for quite some time now. HBO and AMC make the best programmes nowadays (Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Walking Dead)

blindworm Fri 23-Nov-12 10:22:18

No, you're right. Let's get rid of The Apprentice, Horrible Histories and Outnumbered and give all our money to Murdoch and his cronies. After all, we can't cope with Jeremy Clarkson earning more than us, or paying 40p a day for rubbish like Doctor Who, Sherlock and all the programmes the DCs watch!
And as spotsdots said, don't forget the BBC Bitesize websites. Great for revision.

PeshwariNaan Fri 23-Nov-12 10:23:02

Another note: I love PBS, but those saying it has amazing programming are neglecting the fact that SO MUCH of PBS' programming comes straight from the BBC!

Iggly Fri 23-Nov-12 10:23:08

BBC is run by old white men who are caught in a time warp. Patten and his ilk are a joke, and only competent in feeding off the taxpayer trough. Time to move on

as is our country, minus the "old".

as for a retrograde tax on the poor - you could say that about anything we pay for? When I buy a loaf of bread, it's the same price regardless of income.

And flatbread, who says the programmes are excellent? You?

PeshwariNaan Fri 23-Nov-12 10:24:08

Cozy9 - yes, and HBO is able to make these programmes because they get scads and scads of money from rich subscribers.

larrygrylls Fri 23-Nov-12 10:24:41

If the BBC was a subscription channel today and someone asked people whether they would prefer for it to change to one paid by license fee, people would laugh at the idea.

The only reason people pay is because they are attached to what they have now. There is a psychological term for it, but I forget the name.

PeshwariNaan Fri 23-Nov-12 10:26:41

Flatbread, if you have ever lived in the US, then you'd know that PBS is NOT well-funded and it and NPR are in constant threat of collapse. And in no way do either of them compare favorably to BBC TV or BBC radio.

Private is not always better than public.

worldgonecrazy Fri 23-Nov-12 10:27:06

I support the BBC, though I agree some of the programmes it makes I think are dross. However, there are people who love them, so I guess the BBC has to make these to appeal to people who have different tastes.

I agree that the celebrity and management payments should be reviewed. Of course the BBC wants to get the best talent and management, but there is such a big supply and so many people desperate to be presenters, that the BBC could reduce their fees. Supply and demand and all that.

Unlike other broadcasters and media companies, the BBC is restricted in what it can broadcast and how it broadcasts it. And I agree with those saying that the BBC is better than foreign broadcasters - it's definitely better than 99% of the stuff created in America.

PeshwariNaan Fri 23-Nov-12 10:28:18

the BBC is better than foreign broadcasters - it's definitely better than 99% of the stuff created in America.

Yup. Definitely true. Take it from this ex-pat American...

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Fri 23-Nov-12 10:28:27

I like the BBC, and appreciate it on a regular basis.

It's something that this country can be proud of, and it should be left alone.

alphablock Fri 23-Nov-12 10:28:43

I love the BBC and I believe there are certain things that the BBC simply does better than anyone else. Yes, there are many programmes they produce which arguably shouldn't be funded by the public, but this is counter-balanced by some programmes that only the BBC seem capable of producing.

There are problems with BBC management that need to be resolved, but I suspect that similar issues exist throughout the entire media industry.

For me, kids TV with no adverts justifies the licence fee and could you imagine Wimbledon with ad breaks every 10 minutes. Just remember how much people moaned about the ad breaks during C4's Paralympic coverage.

Cozy9 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:28:46

A lot of the stuff on the BBC is utter dross, ever watching "Coming of Age" on BBC3? My jaw dropped when I watched that.

MarshaBrady Fri 23-Nov-12 10:29:34

I don't watch many of the programmes but I am glad it's there and don't mind the fee.

BarbecuedBillygoats Fri 23-Nov-12 10:30:46

And consider how all the other things that have been privatised have gone

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 10:30:59

It's funny how tastes differ isn't it - pretty much everything I watch is made in America! Maybe that's where I should be living.

I don't understand what is wrong for wanting the BBC to be paid for on subscription rather than paid by all?

Gracelo Fri 23-Nov-12 10:31:03

Watching German TV for a few days would make most people appreciate the BBC a lot. It's grim.

Cozy9 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:32:02

Privatising telephone services went fine and television is more like that than like gas, electric, water etc.

blindworm Fri 23-Nov-12 10:32:51

Have you tried watching Derren Brown on Channel 4? It's impossible to watch because of the adverts every other minute. They turn half an hour of TV into an hour with the constant ad breaks.

wonderstuff Fri 23-Nov-12 10:33:38

I love BBC - CBeebies is fab, as is 6Music, Chris Evans on Radio2, most of Radio4. On BBC 4 this week I've seen 4 born every second, Only Connect, and some fab thing about statistics last night, I also love GBBO, HIGNFY, Nevermind the Buzzcocks, and Russell Howards Good News and Later with Jools and Questiontime. I occasionally watch Channel 4, which is also part funded by the tax payer.. But rarely watch anything else - IMO the licence fee is fantastic value - I wouldn't find as much to watch on Sky with a full subscription, and that would cost me nearly 4x as much a year.
I also regularly use their websites - Bitesize at school, the news site and weather site and the Cbeebies site. Iplayer is a great service too. Fantastic value imo - wouldn't begrudge paying double.

wonderstuff Fri 23-Nov-12 10:35:08

Also are we so quick to forget the Olympics coverage?? The whinging and whining about the adverts during the Paralympic coverage on C4!!

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 10:35:55

Peshawari I have lived in the US for eons, and PBS and NPR are brilliant. They are not under constant threat, they have to work hard for their money. As any company ought to. (except apparently the fat cats at BBC).

I have voluntarily contributed to PBS and would never do the same for BBC. Anyway, irrespective of what you or I think, most people in the US rate PBS and NPR very highly. From the PBS website:

Over the course of a year, 89% of all U.S. television households - and 220 million people - watch PBS. The demographic breakdown of PBS' full-day audience reflects the overall U.S. population with respect to race/ethnicity, education and income. (Nielsen NPower, 9/19/2011-9/23/2012)

82% of all kids age two to eight watchec PBS during the 2011-2012 season. (Nielsen NPower, 9/19/2011-9/23/2012)

PBS had five of the top 10 programs among mothers of young children in September 2012, and the top six programs for kids age two to five. (Nielsen NPower, 9/2012)

PBS' primetime audience is significantly larger than many commercial channels, including Bravo (PBS' audience is 92% larger), TLC (86%), Discovery Channel (69%), HGTV (63%), HBO (61%) and A&E (29%).

In addition, PBS' primetime rating for news and public affairs programming is 88% higher than that of CNN. (Nielsen NPower, 9/19/2011-9/23/2012)

ppeatfruit Fri 23-Nov-12 10:36:43

CBeebies alone is worth the licence fee grin

ZZZenAgain Fri 23-Nov-12 10:37:22

I would really miss all the BBC documentaries, they are generally excellent.

I agree with those that say the cover -ups of child abuse have been shocking. I don't really know how to fit that in with my own perception of the BBC as a reliable news source and a provider of some really good productions.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 10:40:49

So, good reasons for BBC to be organised more along the lines of PBS/NPR, no?

Some funding from tax payers, but most through the dint of their own fund-raising efforts from the public.

Result will be a leaner organisation that doesn't have useless celebs and gazillion managers responsible for fuck-all, getting paid high salaries at our expense

Cozy9 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:43:19

The BBC is too big and unwieldy, and too full of metropolitan lefties. It doesn't represent normal British people and normal British life.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Fri 23-Nov-12 10:43:33

Wonderstuff, I agree about the Olympics coverage. And Cbeebies, and the websites, and iplayer, and BBC world, the news coverage in general, the stunning documentaries, and just about everything else except Children in Need and Comic Relief.

The BBC is wonderful.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Fri 23-Nov-12 10:44:53

Is there 'normal' British people and 'normal' British life though? I don't think that exists. The country is to diverse for there to be 'normal' British people.

worldgonecrazy Fri 23-Nov-12 10:51:22

According to the BBC Annual Report 96% of the UK population watch the BBC each week, with an average viewing period of 19 hours. (And that was before the Olympics)

I think those figures support how highly most people think of the BBC.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 10:52:59

To those who say BBC represents value for taxpayers, what do you compare it to?

PBS and NPR together get £260 million from American tax payers while British taxpayers shell out £3.6 BILLION for BBC.

Cozy9 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:53:14

The BBC would say that wouldn't they?

Hardly any BBC programmes are set outside London (or Cardiff). Most people don't live in London!

prettybird Fri 23-Nov-12 10:55:29

As a "metropolitan leftie" (hmm, well, I'm left of centre and live in Glasgow), I'd personally prefer that the BBC didn't do things like "Cash in the Attic", "Pointless", "Bargain Hunt", any football, "The Apprentice" (can't stand Alan Sugar) and so on although I am a Strictly addict

But I recognise that other people do like them. The BBC needs to try to cater for everyone.

wonderstuff Fri 23-Nov-12 10:56:09

More people live in London than anywhere else - the other channels are mainly London based too, its where the program makers mainly live? Cbeebies now mainly Salford based and loads of programs made in Scotland and Wales.

Flimflammery Fri 23-Nov-12 10:56:59

Try living abroad, then you'll really learn to appreciate the quality of most BBC programmes, not to mention the radio stations. It's incredibly well respected around the world, especially for the quality of its news reporting.

To quote Joni Mitchell, 'Don't it always seem to go, that we don't know what we've got till it's gone'.

ZZZenAgain Fri 23-Nov-12 11:00:59

I second that flimflam

I agree with you too prettybird, a lot of it isn't my taste but was is, is good.

MarshaBrady Fri 23-Nov-12 11:04:01

The nice thing about the BBC is it doesn't have to pull the same tricks as ITV, four and five. So whilst it may be a bit mild, or bland in places I much prefer that to ratings-led junk the others have to show to get the advertising rates.

Of course the other channels show some good things too, but it's nice to have a more gentle corner for things.

Thumbwitch Fri 23-Nov-12 11:08:51

I miss the BBC. I love that we still get some of the programmes over here, but I miss a lot of the stuff they do and the lack of adverts. Once you can only watch channels with adverts, you do tend to appreciate the Beeb more, I feel.

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 11:13:08

You know it's funny. When I was 23 I lived in barracks in Germany. You couldn't have Sky then, so the only TV I watched was BFBS - which was pretty shite.

When I used to come home on leave I was facinated by the adverts! Mum and Dad had Sky, and whereas they'd stop talking to me when the programmes were on, I'd stop talking when the adverts come on! I actually missed them

(yes, I know I'm strange)

ophelia275 Fri 23-Nov-12 11:15:33

YANBU! yes, we should get rid of it (or rather get rid of the forced tax). If people love the BBC and want to pay for their channels then they should be free to do so via a subscription which THEY pay for and not people who don't watch the BBC.

Rosa Fri 23-Nov-12 11:16:36

thirded to FLim flam ..somebody has already seconded it .. Living abroad when you go back the channel I tend to switch to is the BBC. The series I tend to hire/ borrow or watch on mums i player are BBc series/ documentaries. However with the I pad I do watch stuff 'live' and it is almost always BBC. My dds adore c beebies .
Here we pay an equivalent tv licence for the leading channels - however the tv is crap , its full of adverts and really not worth it at all.

SugarplumMary Fri 23-Nov-12 11:18:15

I think subscription to these services would cost so much more and I'm not sure how you'd have a sunsciption to accesses radio stations."

I wonder why that would be? Could it be that a lot of poor people would decide NOT to pay this retrograde tax and subsidise your viewing? How is making them pay for what they do not want to watch remotely fair?

larrygrylls I live in a socially deprive area and daily interact with people on very low incomes. They watch a wide range of programs - honestly its not all soaps and reality TV- and their DC use the education stuff on the bbc website - they are often directed to it by the local schools.

The BBC at it's best seems to generate mass interest in nature programs, history programs and Science - the licence fee gives them freedom to try and do that.

I've also experienced money being tight - you have to make difficult choices - and while you may value things like educational sites and documentaries you may well not be able to priories it and afford to pay more for them.

I'm sure people without DC or pensioners may object as well to paying for such children’s services - I don't particularly like paying for sport or celebrities wages I don't like. However there are many state services I don’t use my taxes still go into collective pot to pay for them.

I get cheaper more comprehensive health care with state NHS than I could do with private health care. I believe I get cheaper more comprehensive and wide ranging services with the BBC than I could if it became subscription service and was broken into smaller constituent parts.

Commercial stuff tends to go to where the most people are and where the money is greatest. Why bother educating if you could just make money?

If you have a popular service - you make people pay the most they can for that service - you don't provide it for production costs.

Peetle Fri 23-Nov-12 11:21:53

The licence fee is worth it so I don't have to listen to adverts on the radio. Also, can anyone imagine a service like 6 Music or most of BBC2 and 4 being produced on a commercial basis ?

The BBC have some of the most popular internet sites in the UK as well as being a major innovator in this area. All paid for by the licence fee.

And complaining about any bias is irrelevant. How balanced are the commercial stations ?

It depresses me when the BBC compete for sporting events and pay ludicrous amounts of money for them - at least a commercial broadcaster can make that money back. That said, all international sport with a UK presence should be free to air. And I'm not much of a sports fan.

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 11:22:35

According to the BBC Annual Report 96% of the UK population watch the BBC each week, with an average viewing period of 19 hours. (And that was before the Olympics)

So there you go - 96% of the UK population can pay the licence fee, and 4% could opt out. Surely that wouldn't make a big difference to the programmes, but it would make a big difference to the pockets of the 4%.

JugglingWithPossibilities Fri 23-Nov-12 11:23:04

I like the educational and informational aspect, and think the independence and relative freedom from commercial pressures is very important too.

I'd like to see more of the Beeb's educational side, as it used to be, and less of the everyday gratuitous violence in things like Eastenders.

SugarplumMary Fri 23-Nov-12 11:27:11

If you really don't want to pay for the licence isn't it easer than ever to avoid - can't you avoid it by not having a TV?

I mean radio and website you can still access - I'm not sure about the status of the iplayer but the commercial channels all have similar technology which I'm sure could be played without incurring the licence fee and dvd's of entire series are now available.

Surley that 4 % can easily opt out?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 23-Nov-12 11:29:17

Sugarplum you can access I player without a tv license provided you aren't watching as the programme is broadcast.

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 11:34:42

can't you avoid it by not having a TV?

But I want to watch TV, and I pay a Sky Subscription to be able to watch the programmes I like - I just don't want to watch BBC because they don't make programmes I want to watch.

Why should the 4% give up TV altogether if all they don't want is BBC?

SugarplumMary Fri 23-Nov-12 11:35:07

Interesting - so to opt out you really do just have to not have a TV.

Does make you wonder why so many of us pay the licence fee with out much fuss.

We pay as while it's a lot of money we feel we get value. We could avoid it fairly easily then as we rarely watch things now at broadcast times. We are not planning to though.

SugarplumMary Fri 23-Nov-12 11:37:10

Sky has a service like the Iplayer - you can access on line.

Why mess with the 96 % broadly happy because you don't want to change your habits and technology.

gordyslovesheep Fri 23-Nov-12 11:39:04

YABU - I would hate to live in a world where the only TV was such innovative and informative shows at Jeremy Kyle and that awful Essex thing

Give decent drama and documentary progs with brilliant news and debate over commercial pap any day

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 11:44:27

Does make you wonder why so many of us pay the licence fee with out much fuss

Not really. Some will pay because they like the BBC. Some will pay because they are scared of being fined. Some will pay because they are used to paying. Some will pay because their employer forces them to (that's the boat I'm in).

gordyslovesheep Fri 23-Nov-12 11:46:29

the Licence goes to commercial channels as well not just BBC

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 11:52:48

the Licence goes to commercial channels as well not just BBC

Not according to the BBC website confused. See my post above.

TenthMuse Fri 23-Nov-12 11:53:37

YABU in my view. You only need to travel/live overseas to see how mindless and trite most commercially funded output is. Yes, the BBC is flawed and complacent, and it definitely needs reform, but it is still WAY better than most other stuff that's out there. I know the BBC produces some utter rubbish, but I'd hate to be faced with a world in which TV consisted of wall-to-wall X-Factor/I'm a Celebrity/Channel 5-style 'Shock Docs', all interspersed with ads every 2 minutes, a la Downton Abbey.

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I watch mainly BBC1/2/4 with only occasional forays into the other channels. And Radio 4 is on pretty much all the time in our house. At least with the licence fee they have to make some (albeit sometimes meagre) effort to produce quality programming, rather than pandering solely to commercial interests.

gordyslovesheep Fri 23-Nov-12 11:53:51

they do get some of it - and BBC also collaborates with other channels

frenchfancy Fri 23-Nov-12 12:14:38

IMO the BBC is the best TV company IN THE WORLD. No one else even comes close. £12/month is a bargain. I pay £10/month for spotify.

The BBC is taken seriously, it is an amazing ambassador for the UK.

And don't assume that without the BBC there would be no TV licence. We pay TV licence in France, and we don't get a commercial free station in return, we get dross.

I bet if the BBC opened up subsciptions at £12/month worldwide they would get a lot of takers. I would happily pay that just for iplayer (which we can't get here).

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 12:16:27

BBC gets £3.6 billion from us.

If so many people want BBC, why cannot it be through voluntary donations/subscriptions? If you want it, pay for it.

I think BBC can afford to be complacent and bloated and mediocre because people are complacent about how their taxpayer money is spent.

Oh, why are we so tied to traditions in UK? We can't get rid of the monarchy, we can't get rid of Aunty, we think school ties are more important than competence. And that someone who runs the Royal Opera house should be given the job of managing £5 billion without even a formal interview process.

We just bumble along as a nation, happy in our mediocrity.

DorisIsWaiting Fri 23-Nov-12 12:31:16


The dross that ITV produces and the advert breaks that have to be endured make it dire (and no I don't have some fancy tv where I can forward it on).

SinisterBuggyMonth Fri 23-Nov-12 12:32:18


Do a quick scan of the sky/digital channels and they are mostly playing BBC repeats from the last few years. If the BBC went where would they get their content in a few years time.
The commercial channels arent bad, but they rely alot on imported glossy American dramas/comedy, a constant stream of these would only aid Britain in loosing its national identity. Also without the BBC setting a template to the commercial channel on how much advertising is too much, we would be getiing ad breaks during every 10 minutes, as they do on commercial channels abroad. (Channel 4 is getting a bit like this, putting an ad break 5 minutes before the end of the programme to rake in more commission).

I do enjoy programmes like the Xfactor, MisFits and the recent crop of ITV dramas have been really good. But the BBC is consistantly good quality and doesn't seem to go for the easy option.

Stuff I have loved on the BBC over the past years....

The Young Ones
This Life
Dr Who & spin offs
The Line of Duty
Dont Tell the Bride
Days that Shook the World
all the BBC4 dark side of 60's comedian dramas
Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky
Pride and Prejudice
Vanity Fair
Silent Witness
New Tricks
Waking the Dead

...I will think of more....

TheOriginalLadyFT Fri 23-Nov-12 12:49:07

I'm torn on this one - I loathe the constant ad breaks that ruin quality drama like Downton Abbey on ITV, and BBC programmes that don't suffer in that way are far preferable

However, I really don't like the anti older women bias at the BBC - there is no excuse for it as a public broadcaster, let alone in terms of respect for people generally. I also detest the obvious left wing bias that creeps into almost all it's news and analysis programming - news should be impartial, and the BBC is a long way down the road from that. In recent years, they have allowed this bias to lead to skewed and even inaccurate reporting, and that is unforgivable

You can hardly blame the current government for taking their opportunity to bring the beeb down a peg or two

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 12:49:15

Huh, why am I paying for you to watch 'Spooks' and other trivia? It is hardly an essential public service like the NHS.

ophelia275 Fri 23-Nov-12 12:52:06

Why is it such a fuss to expect those that love the BBC, think it is good value etc to pay more for a subscription in the same way that those that love Sky do? Why do people who don't like the BBC have to subsidise it through violent intimidation (Crapita)? Surely those that love the BBC would be prepared to pay a bit more if it meant getting the 'qualiity' programmes they think the BBC make rather than forcing others who can't or don't want to pay, to subsidise them?

ophelia275 Fri 23-Nov-12 12:53:31

Agree with Flatbread. If the BBC is in such demand and so hugely loved, then surely they will have no problem getting people to pay a subscription for their programmes?

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 12:56:53

I don't understand why the two extremes are either an elephant BBC or Fox news/or something with constant ads.

Why can't BBC be funded mostly through public donations? Yes, that will mean that they will have to tighten their belt on salaries and instead spend money on good programmes to fight for their survival.

They will no longer be able to take our money for granted. Isn't that a good thing?

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 12:58:02

Sorry, xposted.

Iggly Fri 23-Nov-12 12:58:22

Huh, why am I paying for you to watch 'Spooks' and other trivia? It is hardly an essential public service like the NHS

It's not a tax.
And anyway, you pay for a sky subscription which goes towards the pockets of the likes of Murdoch. Why is that ok?

You dont have to have a tv....

Don't watch much tv of any flavour. I can't thnik of any regular program that I'd hate to miss. Although the current Sunday night spook-fest looks good. But I listen to loads of radio and use I-Player a great deal. Also the BBC website is good.

But I was brought up at a time when TV was on 2 channels and only ran for a few hours a say so I don't feel the addiction to it that other people seem to.

Agree with the comments about Murdoch and his evil empire making more of this than anyone else....

ophelia275 Fri 23-Nov-12 13:01:45

That's exactly the reason why they are so bloated Flatbread. Because to the BBC "heads they win, tails you lose". Even if they have a major scandal, they know they will still get away with paying their employees millions and don't really have to answer to anyone but themselves. It's an entrenched attitude whihc has become prevalent over the past 10 years and is echoed by the disdain that MP's show towards the public (their employers). They really are like Big Brother from Orwell's 1984 and we will "learn to love Big Brother" (or else)!

" Yes, that will mean that they will have to tighten their belt on salaries and instead spend money on good programmes to fight for their survival."

But the problem is that they won't be able to spend money on 'good' programs, they will be forced to spend money on commercial programs (more than they already do!). Commercial isn't always good.

ophelia275 Fri 23-Nov-12 13:02:58

Iggly, the point is CHOICE. She can choose to pay for a Sky subscription but she cannot choose to not pay the tv tax. Why is Murdoch so much worse than the corrupt, biased, anachronistic BBC?

Gravenwithdiamonds Fri 23-Nov-12 13:04:41


Radio 4, 3 & 6 are worth the price of the licence fee alone plus I would apy it to not have adverts on children's tv.

Live abroad for any amount of time and you will crave the BBC. In Spain the adverts can add nearly two hours to the length of a film.

TenthMuse Fri 23-Nov-12 13:06:57

Just to second what Sinister says, I'd worry that the gaps left by disestablishing the BBC would be filled not by home-grown programmes, but by yet more American imports. Now, I'm as much a fan of HBO as the next person, and I like many of the American programmes that other posters have mentioned, but we already have access to most of the decent stuff - Boardwalk Empire/Game of Thrones/Girls etc. I don't want my channels filled with the kinds of second-rate programming that isn't currently considered worthy of importing.

My boyfriend (who's not usually much of the TV person) was enthralled by a BBC2 documentary last night in which Michael Portillo travelled across Germany by train with an old Bradshaw's guide. Pretty niche stuff, and not really my own taste, but do we really think that this kind of quirky, thoughtful content would be made by a channel with an commercial agenda? The BBC gets a lot of stick for trying to be all things to all people, but I think part of what's great about it is precisely that - it tries to cater to a broad and varied spectrum of people. Yes, it can be somewhat hit and miss, but I think this is better than the alternative - only catering to the mainstream.

And it seems that most of my American friends are as enthusiastic about the BBC as we are, so it's not only us institutionalised Brits who are in thrall to it!

FrankH Fri 23-Nov-12 13:07:17

There are lots of cultural and educational programmes produced by the BBC. Although there has been "dumbing down" recently, they are still generally of a much higher average quality than those produced by the rest of the media.

I have just been watching the DVD of the BBC's "Little Dorrit" of 2008. I have most of David Attenborough's DVDs. I've seen nothing comparable - even from the ITV companies.

If it weren't for the BBC the mass media in this country would consist largely of those financed by such as Rupert Murdoch and Viscount Rothermere. These are almost always those who take a very right wing political view. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it needs to be balanced by at least a more "centrist" viewpoint. Such as the Daily Mail, Daily Express, the Sun, absolutely loathe the BBC - they would rather their particular views on life, the universe, and everything were unchallenged in the minds of the Great British Public.

Absy Fri 23-Nov-12 13:07:51

YANBU - I honestly don't get why the BBC is treated as the sacred cow it is. It's biased, it's rubbish, the news on their website reads like it's written for a four year old and now we find out that they covered up wide spread child abuse. Who knows what else they have lurking in there.

BUT - you don't have to have to watch them. Hell, you don't have to have a license - just watch DVDs, opt out and be very careful not to have any reception and don't watch live broadcasts (e.g. on your computer). Nobody has died, as far as I'm aware, from not having access to Eastenders and Radio 4.

My life has improved infinitely since I stopped getting news from them - makes me less stabby.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 13:12:45

It should be my choice to spend my money on whatever entertainment I like, and exercise my consumer power by withdrawing my viewing/funding when I am unhappy.

Of course the license fee is a tax. Why is buying a TV linked with funding BBC? I want a TV. I am happy to pay for SKY, but I am not happy to pay for BBC. Why can't I have the choice?

How is BBC a vital public service, anyway? It might have been a useful thing when there was a threat that one or two companies might control all media.

But with the internet, all that has changed. We can get varied perspectives and news from loads of grass-roots internet sources and blogs and Twitter. We can get entertainment from Youtube and independent producers and DVDs. What is the compelling public interest argument for a taxpayer funded BBC in today's multiple media age?

LittenTree Fri 23-Nov-12 13:15:10

You only need to spend enough time in counties without a quality national broadcaster to realise how good the BBC actually is.

Personally I'm happy to pay my license fee not to be bombarded with advertsing. I loathe adverts with a passion. I feel patronised and exploited sitting through them, I feel neurones die in my brain as it's exposed to shouty, puerile drivel hysterically exhorting me to consume, consume, consume.

However, I know there are plenty out there who appear to like adverts, and, luckily for them, there are plenty of radio and TV stations out there that will satisfy that.

TBF I do wonder if the BBC couldn't become a subscriber service so those unable to sit through a proper length programme about a real subject don't have to pay for it? The big issue there being, if their only exposure to grown-up media is gone (and they're only likely to read the DM or The Sun), there's a worrying chance that what they're told to believe will become increasingly polarised without any moderating influence via the TV channels they watch.

FrankH Fri 23-Nov-12 13:15:41

Re the "left wing bias" of the BBC.

Actually, many left-wingers think the BBC is biased in a right-wing way!

The problem is that so much of our media in the UK - and even more in some other countries - is in the hands of right-wing biased media moguls that, even if there is any excessive bias in the BBC, its removal would leave the field open for the Daily Mail and the Sun to saturate the public with their particular gospels of hatred and xenophobia.

Iggly Fri 23-Nov-12 13:16:16

Because flatbread, point me to something better than the BBC. Oh I do agree BTW that the fee is outdated, it's a bizarre way of doing things in today's world I agree.

However I don't see it as an excuse to bash the BBC more generally which is what you're doing

LittenTree Fri 23-Nov-12 13:18:28

But Flatbread, an important issue is that 'information' gained from, say an encyclopaedia (remember them?) has, by its nature to have been verified somewhere along the line. What you find on Wikipedia isn't necessarily.

Similarly the BBC does have some standards it has to meet, and you only need to look across the Pond to see what happens when a legal requirement for checks & balances are taken away- Fox News.

howcomes Fri 23-Nov-12 13:21:07

When you're in the UK it's very easy to slag off the BBC, the licence fee, quality of programmes etc. However, once you're abroad you'll see that quality elsewhere is (IMHO) pretty bad and much more expensive. Here in Canada I have to rely on BBC for any decent news coverage and the only good programmes have come from BBC originally. While there isn't a licence fee the fee for cable is akin to 6 times the price of the annual BBC fee and programmes are riddled with adverts every 8 minutes. BBC online is my saviour here actually.


Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 13:21:09

And if it is quirky documentaries that people want, why not just have a grant for funding documentaries? Since BBC4 only pays £40000 or so per documentary, according to film-makers, a few millions should get us loads of documentaries.

Probably the cost of salaries to the BBC board and top management would cover the cost of 20 or so documentaries a year.

And show these on YouTube or for free on other channels. Done and dusted with no license fee or bloated BBC management.

FrankH Fri 23-Nov-12 13:21:56

Flatbread you make a good point that the growth of the internet has changed the picture. However for a great many people - especially of the older generation such as myself - the "terrestrial" media, including the Press, are still the prime means of information and entertainment.

The fact that the Daily Mail and the Sun are so antagonistic to the BBC speaks volumes to me.

iismum Fri 23-Nov-12 13:24:32

The BBC does lots of non-profitable broadcasting which is of vital importance to communities - things like minority language broadcasting (Gaelic and Welsh), regional broadcasting, the shipping forecast, etc. Also, massive amounts of really useful information of their huge website - all kinds of things from health advice to cooking. A commercial broadcaster would never do this stuff, and a subscription service wouldn't be able to afford to.

NuclearStandoff Fri 23-Nov-12 13:29:18

Of course not.

The BBC has a fantastic history of public service. It has had its hiccups in the past and is going through a very bad one at the moment and no doubt will have more in the future.

But look at the bigger picture - it is still the best broadcaster in the world.

and it's not just broadcasting, it's websites are amazing too.

Although I do agree with the person who said they should get rid of Jeremy Clarkson.

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 13:30:36

TBF I do wonder if the BBC couldn't become a subscriber service so those unable to sit through a proper length programme about a real subject don't have to pay for it? The big issue there being, if their only exposure to grown-up media is gone (and they're only likely to read the DM or The Sun), there's a worrying chance that what they're told to believe will become increasingly polarised without any moderating influence via the TV channels they watch

How fucking patronising angry

Seriously, someone (me) explains perfectly politely why they do not wish to pay a TV licence and the answer from the "Oh so perfect BBC watcher" is to be rude and insulting.

The BBC is not the be-all-and-end-all of television. Just because I choose not to watch the stuff the BBC pushes out does not make me "unable to sit through a proper length programme". It also doesn't make me read the Daily Mail or the Sun.

LittenTree, with your patronising air, your rudeness and your inability to join in a discussion without adding disparaging remarks, I am not surprised you are happy to support the BBC. It was that sort of "look down on the plebs" attitude that allowed and supported the Saville era. How proud you must feel.

TenthMuse Fri 23-Nov-12 13:32:48

Flatbread, might have got the wrong end of the stick here, but at the risk of sounding slightly hysterical are you seriously suggesting that my 97-year-old grandmother should have to trawl through Youtube/purchase a DVD player/acquaint herself with Twitter in order to access news and enjoy a bit of Strictly-style Saturday night entertainment?

It's all very well for those of us who are au fait with new technology and can access these multiple media sources, but there are still plenty of people who can't. And personally I'd still rather watch/listen to the BBC news, which might at times be slightly biased, than sift through thousands of Twitter feeds that most certainly are.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 13:38:04

Tenth, if your 96 yr old grand mum wants to see BBC, let her pay for it. I will happily pay for her medical care, prescriptions and free bus passes, but I draw the line at paying for her entertainment.

Cozy9 Fri 23-Nov-12 13:41:22

Don't 96 year olds get a free TV licence anyway?

FrankH Fri 23-Nov-12 13:42:38

LtEveDallas - LittenTree is certainly annoyingly patronising. However I'm not sure that your reply doesn't also suffer from slightly the same defect.

Not everyone who supports the BBC has a "look down on the plebs" attitude. And while you aren't a Daily Mail or Sun devotee, the fact remains that these are the two most widely circulated media channels in this country.

I would support, at least for the moment, the continuation of the BBC, both for the still high quality of many of its cultural and scientific programmes, and for the fact that otherwise Rupert Murdoch, Trevor Kavanagh, Lord Rothermere, Paul Dacre etc. would have an even greater share of available news and communication channels to promote their particular views on the world.

Iggly Fri 23-Nov-12 13:47:49

I will happily pay for her medical care, prescriptions and free bus passes, but I draw the line at paying for her entertainment

Jeez what an attitude. you dont pay for that. You contribute via taxes but if you and only you stopped paying, she'd still get those things.

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 13:48:55

LtEveDallas - LittenTree is certainly annoyingly patronising. However I'm not sure that your reply doesn't also suffer from slightly the same defect

My reply was directed to LittenTree, who I believe does have a "look down on the plebs" attitude. No-one else has been so singularly rude, so I haven't accused anyone else.

Why is there such snobbery attached to the BBC? Why do others feel the need to talk about the "dross" that other channels produce, when the BBC produces much of the same.

I am not saying scrap the BBC (unlike the OP, SEA, who has never returned), but I am saying that forcing everyone to pay for it is wrong. Let the 96% of the UK that watch it pay for it, and let the 4% who don't opt out.

What is wrong with that?

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 13:51:56

Oh and Cozy9 is correct - Over 75's get a free TV Licence.

TenthMuse Fri 23-Nov-12 13:53:16

Cozy they do currently, although I think Flatbread seems to be suggesting they shouldn't. In any case, my original point wasn't about whether or not the BBC should be free, but rather that a large proportion of older/vulnerable/less media-savvy people would be left in a kind of media limbo if the BBC in its current form were to be disestablished. And I don't agree that TV is merely 'entertainment' for many older, lonely or immobile people; for many it's a vital source of information and a lifeline to the outside world.

PeshwariNaan Fri 23-Nov-12 13:53:40

Flatbread seems to not think much of the UK and its institutions... to many of us who grew up in other places, the UK is fantastic in so many ways, and these institutions (NHS, BBC for example) are worth their weight in gold.

Am surprised at so many people's attitude of "you're on your own" here. Privatising the BBC would not make television better. It would privatise for the sake of privatising which is what we do in the US. We get terrible journalism, television and abysmal health care as a result (for the masses). If you are rich of course you will always have the best of everything in a privatised system - you can afford to pay $200/mo for premium cable, thousands for premium health care, etc.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 13:55:03

Frank, I agree there is a role for public broadcasting, but that doesn't justify the current bloated BBC with £3.6 billion from the public purse.

I would suggest that the government fund a BBC-slim organisation a small amount, probably 10% of its current budget for core programmes of news and public interest documentaries. And the money should be ring fenced for this.

For the rest of the programmes, BBC should solicit subscriptions/ donations/sponsors.

PlantsDieArid Fri 23-Nov-12 13:55:20

it's very middle class blue peter biased in my view

There are about 150 channels on my tv, almost all of which seem to be peddling low-brow lazy sensationalist tosh, which seems to require the viewer to goggle at ill-educated lower-class people being pushed out of their comfort zones, edited to emote cliched push-button over-sentimental responses from the viewer.

Of course, if I said that out loud, I'd doubtlessly be pilloried for being an intellectual snob.

I love the BBC; they have many different services, plenty aimed at different demographic groups, and in my experience are open to listening and responding to constructive criticism of their content and scheduling.

Why not share your opinion with them, OP? You might be surprised.

FrankH Fri 23-Nov-12 13:58:49

LtEveDallas - I certainly agree that the BBC does produce a lot of "dross". However the average level of drossness is rather less.

I don't basically disagree with your suggestion. However I feel there must be a system to prevent the media being almost entirely the mouthpiece of rich and powerful media magnates, which would inevitably be the case if the BBC were to lose its fundamental characteristic of a non-advertising financed media organisation.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 13:59:09

I love the NHS, although think there is loads of room for improvement smile

I am all for granny being exempt from a TV license. I just want the same freedom for the rest of us.

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 14:00:49

There are about 150 channels on my tv, almost all of which seem to be peddling low-brow lazy sensationalist tosh, which seems to require the viewer to goggle at ill-educated lower-class people being pushed out of their comfort zones, edited to emote cliched push-button over-sentimental responses from the viewer

Again with the snobbery? Why?

Should I post a list of all the "low-brow lazy sensationalist tosh" that the BBC produces or shows on it's channels? Do you really think that they don't?

PlantsDieArid Fri 23-Nov-12 14:05:07

LtEve, absolutely agree, some of the BBC output is dire. But, unlike several other channels, not ALL of it is unremitting tosh, there are some amazing programmes produced.

Why with the snobbery? I thought the line about 'middle class blue peter' rather set the the, admittedly inverted, tone of snobbery for the discussion.

My remark was just a tiny bit tongue in cheek.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 14:08:06

I am a news media snob. And I think BBC news coverage ranges from average to poor quality.

Does any one remember Readers Digest? BBC reminds me of that -slightly interesting with a terribly outdated style

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 14:09:03

Although Radio4 is good

YABVVVU. It's still a shining glory culturally, and they may have shown themselves up as antiquated in some sectors, but I dread to think what national programming and news reportage would be like without them. Try living in US and see how you like wall-to-wall commercial tv. To say 'I wouldn't mind if there were adverts' is, to understate it a little, a tad naive.

bondigidum Fri 23-Nov-12 14:14:06

Would we have higher sky/virgin bills if they got rid of the tv licence? If so then keep it as it is. If however everything stayed as it is, just the licence went and BBC got adverts then i'm all for it.

I like the fact I can watch strictly without advert interruptions but I don't like the fact I have to pay 150?! Quid a year or whatever it is just to have that privilege. I'd rather just record everything and forward through the ads.

ophelia275 Fri 23-Nov-12 14:20:41

It's a matter of opinion if you think the BBC is good quality or not. Just because one person thinks it is good value, doesn't mean everyone else should have to pay to subsidise their likes. I think Sky make some good programmes but that doesn't mean because I like Sky, that I think everyone owning a tv should be forced to pay towards Sky. People should be given the CHOICE. The BBC tax is anachronistic and undemocratic in this day and age. We're not living in the bloody Soviet Union ffs! And there is definitely the technology to go subscription only but they won't do that because the BBC will know they won't have as much money to waste paying useless idiots vast sums of taxpayer money!

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Fri 23-Nov-12 14:21:38

YABU having spent time abroad I really appreciate it - and I don't even watch that much TV.

Woozley Fri 23-Nov-12 14:23:35

It's one of the things I'm most proud of in this country, with the NHS.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Fri 23-Nov-12 14:25:12

And I don't think there's anything wrong with 'middle class' Blue Peter programming anyway.

I want to see the results of a study that compares the fast editing of progs for youg kids with the rise in poor attention and listening skills at Primary School.

Woozley Fri 23-Nov-12 14:29:45

Plenty of fast edited programmes on CBBC. I do like Horrible Histories, Tracey Beaker, Junior Masterchef and Marrying Mum and Dad though.

I was never into Blue Peter much but I liked plenty of other programmes.

Woozley Fri 23-Nov-12 14:33:25

I think it's about time we got shot of Sky and all tabloid newspapers. Dragging this country into the gutter for 20+ years. Made a wreck of football too. Dumbing down, misinforming, scaring and oppressing the masses into apathy.

TenthMuse Fri 23-Nov-12 14:34:19

LtEveDallas Completely agree that there is dross on the BBC - quite a lot of it, in fact. Lots of people seem to like dross, and sadly I don't think the BBC could exist without it. I agree that your suggestion of allowing the non-BBC watching minority to opt out of the licence fee is worthy of debate.

Unlike some other posters on this thread, I'm very much against dismantling the BBC in its entirety. This is because the aforementioned dross is punctuated with intelligent, thoughtful programming with high production values, the likes of which I am only too pleased to stump up the licence fee to view. I personally choose not to watch things like Eastenders and Holby City, or much of the 'yoof' stuff on BBC3, but I don't begrudge other people the right to watch these programmes because I know that my £150 also gets me gems like the wonderful 'Getting On' on BBC4, decent dramas, nature documentaries and wonderful coverage of big events like the Olympics. I have yet to see much evidence that this quality and variety is (or would be) matched by commercial channels, or could be equalled by a drastically slimmed-down BBC.

I've lived in Spain and Germany, and I'd hate to see our TV going the same way as theirs.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 23-Nov-12 14:36:32


I love the bbc - long may it continue.

hugoagogo Fri 23-Nov-12 14:39:12

YABU The BBC is not perfect, but I think it is brilliant especially the news.

I haven't read this all thoroughly, but I do hear people say it's biased, but I think such a lot of media is reactionary and right leaning.

So in contrast the BBC can seem a bit the other way.

mamij Fri 23-Nov-12 14:41:39

I agree some of the scandals of late haven't helped the BBC's reputation, but the BBC is one of the only channels I watch! Love their documentaries and no commercials!

earlgreyplease Fri 23-Nov-12 14:44:32

YABVU and short sighted. If you only want to watch hours of banal reality type crap and talent shows, then maybe. Otherwise NO!

worldgonecrazy Fri 23-Nov-12 14:46:42

I don't think anyone's mentioned that the BBC developed the IPlayer technology and shared this with other broadcasters so that is why we have 4OD, etc.

Also in 2009/10 the BBC made a contribution of at least £8.1 billion to the UK economy, so that's £2 economic value for every £1 in licence fee. (Source BBC Annual Report) and before anyone says "well they would say that", can I remind the naysayers that all BBC reports are independently audited. The BBC (unlike other media) are not allowed to make stuff up.

Absy Fri 23-Nov-12 14:49:03

Recent e.g. of the BBC bias in news reporting - the miner's strikes in South Africa and when the police fired on them.

The New York Times, Reuters, and the South African news services were reporting that there were the strikes, the miners had been fired on by the police BUT, that before opening fire a policeman had been killed and 3,000 strikers had been charging at the police armed with various weapons (including machetes). So, it wasn't unknown about the policeman's death and that the strikers were armed, heavily armed. No mention, whatsoever, in the BBC reports of this. Nothing. They were just saying that the police had fired and then started on a whole big opinion piece on how terrible th government is they're just thugs etc. etc. And don't get me started on their mispronounciation of Morgan Tsvangirai's surname. That's just sloppy, ignorant and patronising.

Because so many people treat the BBC as a "golden source" of news, though don't realise how biased it is.

Absy Fri 23-Nov-12 14:50:07

And, for the miners' strike, when people commented on the article going "where's the stuff about the machetes?" etc., they deleted the comments.

BellaTheGymnast Fri 23-Nov-12 14:50:19

I watch BBC1, BBC News Channel, BBC2, Channel 4 and X Factor. LoveFilm for the fab US shows like Walking Dead and The Wire.

Bloody love the BBC.

RubyrooUK Fri 23-Nov-12 14:53:12

Personally I think YABU, OP. I'm sorry, I haven't read the whole thread so I am just replying direct to you.

I have worked for the BBC (I don't now) and a good number of the commercial broadcasters/media during my career (I still work for some of them). Being the public service broadcaster is extremely important in my view, regardless of opinions on what shows or services people like or use. Because that is very subjective.

The BBC makes mistakes (Savile etc) like any big organisation. It still employs humans, after all. But in general, it is very open. When it turned out the BBC had fucked up its news reporting, the top guy took the fall. He HAD to. That is the BBC culture. I even know what the new DG earns because it was disclosed on his appointment.

This month, James Murdoch was re-elected to the BSkyB board despite the phone hacking scandal and the frankly enormous contradictions in his accounts of what he knew. He doesn't have to take the fall. It's a commercial broadcaster with a commercial culture.

Is the BBC about "middle class Blue Peter"? I don't think so. It is usually the first to try to create new services, appealing to audiences that are ignored by commercial businesses because they are too niche to be profitable. I'm thinking of things like the Asian Network, 6 Music.....some work, some don't. But without the BBC, there would be no attempts to do this as the profits wouldn't make it viable.

I don't like paying the licence fee particularly with so many other costs in my life but it is very important to me that we have a public sector broadcaster without a commercial agenda. When something goes wrong (like Savile/Newsnight), the BBC is forced to report on itself and open that up to the world. Commercial organisations have no such imperative to damage their own brands.

Anyway, these are my views as someone who has worked for the BBC and the commercial alternatives. I've experienced those cultures and I know what happens inside the BBC and those other employers. So that's my view.

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 14:53:14

Plants, well then that relies on what your view of an amazing programme is. I don't watch much TV, when I do I like to lose myself in the fantasy of a good murder mystery, fantasy or sci-fi programme. The shows I like are not produced by the BBC, but by the channels you are dismissing as showing only 'tosh'

Yes, Sky et al show some rubbish, but it's not all they show.

Each to their own, with no judgement on what they prefer.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 14:55:14

Love iplayer. Think BBC did well there.

Can you elucidate how BBC made a £8B 'contribution' to the economy?

And whatever this 'contribution' is, will it continue with a subscription service or is it dependent on fleecing the taxpayer?

Bunbaker Fri 23-Nov-12 14:56:20

"Bun, which of these programmes are of compelling Public Interest that they need to be funded by taxpayers?"

How do you define what is of Compelling Public Interest? And why does it have to be so to justify the fee? I would rather pay the fee than have to reduce the options available because they have to cater for the lowest common denominator all the time. We have far too much reality TV and soaps already. Plus, I don't want to put up with all the dfverts.

I forgot to add CBeebies and CBBC to my list of reasons for keeping the BBC.

mercibucket Fri 23-Nov-12 14:58:28

Are you talking about the staged photos where the police planted machetes next to the bodies of dead miners?

worldgonecrazy Fri 23-Nov-12 14:59:02

Flatbread the annual report doesn't go into details but you can read it yourself online.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 23-Nov-12 15:01:39

Surely I am paying for tv I don't want to watch through the increased cost of the stuff I buy that has been advertised?
You could argue that I simple avoid all stuff that has not been the subject of broadcaster advertising...but would be virtually impossible to do and also cuts across my right to buy a product on its own merit rather than what it will be used to purchase.

Licence fee just does it up front and that is more honest.

Great post btw Ruby!

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 23-Nov-12 15:01:50


Woozley Fri 23-Nov-12 15:04:50

It's very hard to be impartial. Every news report is produced from the reporter's point of view, however impartial they try to be. A camera can lie, it does have a point of view, that of the person pointing it. I don't watch 24 hour rolling news as it's just speculation mostly and leads to poor standards. The BBC do end up with a bias one way or another - I think generally they don't question the government in power at the time enough, with the odd exception where they have got into serious trouble for it. Radio 4 news programmes are very good though, as is the ten o clock news and largely, in spite of the criticism, Newsnight.

They are far less biased than Sky, Fox or any newspapers though.

For those who are complaining about not having a choice about paying for the BBC, we all pay for the commercial channels too, through the increased cost of any product we buy that is advertised on those channels.

Every time you buy something advertised on Sky, you are paying for Sky. Because the advertising cost is part of the cost of the product.

At least with the Beeb, we pay once and then don't have to sit through the interminable adverts.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 23-Nov-12 15:12:03

I feel I should correct some of the posts here.
Fox News isn't a real news channel.hmm
It's a satirical comedy channel. It's not meant to be taken seriously and it's not as funny as The Daily Show. Although Bill O'Reilly is hilarious.grin

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 23-Nov-12 15:12:09

Exactly Clara!!

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 15:12:59

At least with SkyPlus I can record all the programmes I want to watch and then fast forward through the adverts. Saves me some time too.

teacherwith2kids Fri 23-Nov-12 15:15:39

Replying direct to the OP.

Untiul 12 years ago, I was as capable as the next person of grumbling about the BBC and the NHS.

Then we lived in the US for a year. And a year of the reality of insurance-funded health services and commercial radio + tv channels (plus NPR, which is what I think we would get if we stopped funding the BBC properly - a kind of 'sub-BBC local radio station'-type quality of output) cured me from moaning about them, ever.

On 9/11, I was in Washington DC. My husband saw the plane fly into the Pnetagon. What did everyone tune into for balanced coverage and a proper journalistic analysis and overview (rather than an endless series of video clips from the ground with no overall persepctive, no background and precious little commentary)? BBC Worldwide.

ophelia275 Fri 23-Nov-12 15:17:18

Clarabellabunting - yes but once again, I emphasise you have the CHOICE of what you want to buy or not, which supermarket you want to buy in etc etc with the full knowledge that it pays for commercials on Sky/ITV. I do not have a choice when it comes to the BBC. I either have to pay or I get put in jail. Why should someone who wants to only watch Sky have to subsidise the BBC? If I pay a subscription to Sky, why can't the BBC offer a subscription only service for those that want to subscribe to it's channels? Why doesn't the BBC have to compete in the same arena as all the other commercial channels and prove it's worth by how many viewers it attracts (and will pay for it's programmes)? The BBC can produce dross and it doesn't have to worry as it will still get the tax money under threat of violence from Crapita. It should have to prove itself in the real world, like all other companies that don't get a lifeline from the taxpayer do.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 23-Nov-12 15:19:39

Ophelia, have you tried buying non advertised stuff? Wouldn't you need to watch all the adverts to work out which things not to buy?

prettybird Fri 23-Nov-12 15:24:15

I presume you don't ever shop on Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, M&S, Debenhams, John Lewis, Co-op, Boots.....or buy eggs, milk or meat? I can recall adverts on TV for all of them.

givemushypeasachance Fri 23-Nov-12 15:27:13

I agree with those posters who have said the BBC could do with some reform (less over-inflated salaries for certain big "name" presenters, shake up some of the dross that's on during the day, affirm committment to quality dramas, documentaries and so on) but please don't get rid of it.

I would pay the licence fee for access to Radio 4, BBC4 and quality programmes such as Sherlock and The Thick of It alone. However as I don't actually have a TV and only watch TV shows on iPlayer after they've been broadcast, I don't technically need to have one. Which is a bit of a loophole that needs closing imo.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 23-Nov-12 15:31:55

You don't just pay a subscription to pay for the advertising too.

I ditched my sky subscription for all but the basic when I worked out how much I was paying for how little.

Commercialism seems to have pushed prices up and quality down

Bunbaker Fri 23-Nov-12 15:39:33

The old argument about not watching anything on BBC is getting boring. I only have one child, can I ask for a reduction in my council tax because I only have one to educate? We recycle most of our household waste, so can I ask for a reduction there as well because the refuse collectors don't have as much to collect?

If the BBC could be blocked to non licence payers it would push the price up for everyone else. Fewer people would pay for a licence and we would get fewer innovative programmes being made.

If you don't want to pay for a licence ditch the TV and watch iPlayer.

larrygrylls Fri 23-Nov-12 15:41:21

"Commercial stuff tends to go to where the most people are and where the money is greatest. Why bother educating if you could just make money?
I am all for a VERY slimmed down BBC, merely doing what people all claim they love about it, genuine public service broadcasting consisting of educational programmes, nature programmes etc.

The BBC claim to have to compete for "talent". The reality is they grossly overpay both for on screen stars and useless management, making it far more expensive for private companies to hire decent people.

Why does the BBC need to do entertainment or sport at all? How about a £25/person license fee for the website, educational and minority programming? As to the rest, let those who want it pay for it and allow those who want to watch basic cheap TV spend an extra £100+ on food per annum, an amount which would make a significant difference to the genuinely poor.

I really just don't get the love for the BBC from those who hated Thatcher for the poll tax. It is a poll tax, just by another name.

TakingBackMonday Fri 23-Nov-12 15:43:55

horrible left wing bias. abolish it. take back our fees.

LtEveDallas Fri 23-Nov-12 15:46:18

Bunbaker, the BBCs own figures suggest that 96% of the UK do watch BBC, so the increase would be minimal if they allowed the 4% to opt out. In fact, if they reduced just slightly the obscene wages they pay out, there would be no need for an increase at all - and there we go, everyone is happy smile

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 16:31:39

ANYBODY who thinks the BBC is mediocre needs to watch LOCAL TV wherever they go on holiday
France is dire (and I speak French)
Spain is dire (spaghetti westerns dubbed into Spanish from the original italian via american ...)
Malta - dire
Slovenia - dire in a comical way
Italy - dire

and DO NOT get me started on US TV.
Wall to wall shite, no real news
the best stuff is on PBS - which is taxpayer funded like the BBC shock

Gravenwithdiamonds Fri 23-Nov-12 16:39:15

So which news programme is completely without bias? (though I'm not convinced the BBC really is left-wing - would anyone really claim that eg, Nick Robinson or Robert Peston, two of the most high profile BBC journalists are left-wing bias?)

And which other news programme comes anywhere near the quality of eg, PM or the World Tonight?

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 16:45:47


NO News coverage is without bias.
Unbiased reporting is only possible days, months, years after an event when all of the facts are in.
Think of the reporting of a car crash - who was at fault? All speculation will be biased.

There is far too much TV News - especially "rolling news" which is just tittle tattle and speculation.
And the papers all have political axes to grind - people buy the one that most agrees with their prejudices.

Gravenwithdiamonds Fri 23-Nov-12 16:54:40

Exactly talkin, it was a rhetorical question. Though I think the depth of analysis on TV news is particularly poor (journalists going up an escalator to demonstrate that retail prices are going up etc).

flatpackhamster Fri 23-Nov-12 17:53:00


So which news programme is completely without bias?

None of them. The difference is that we are co-erced in to paying for the BBC. The BBC also claims to be impartial when it isn't.

(though I'm not convinced the BBC really is left-wing - would anyone really claim that eg, Nick Robinson or Robert Peston, two of the most high profile BBC journalists are left-wing bias?)

If you don't think the BBC is left-wing, then you're clearly pretty far to the left yourself. It's not the journalists who have the bias, it's the editorial line. The BBC has been censured for it again and again over the last few years. Bias on multiculturalism, bias on the EU, bias on Islam, bias on government spending. There's even a ranty blog about it. I don't agree with all of what they see as bias, but they cite plenty of good examples of the BBC allowing its left-wingery to dominate its thinking.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 17:57:32

Would you rather rabid right wing TV news - then go and watch Fox

but do not expect to understand ANYTHING about anywhere outside the mainland USA if you do.

The BBC leans to the left, as do the vast majority of intellectuals
because the more one learns, the less one is able to support knee jerk rabid right wing views

Want2bSupermum Fri 23-Nov-12 18:04:39

For independent news you need to go to a few sources. I read the US, British and Russian media and then put everything together to find out what is really happening. This is especially true of what is going on in the middle east. The Brits tell you about Israeli attacks. The Americans tell you about the attacks made against Israel. The Russians tell you about the crimes both countries are making against Christians and generally slams both the US and British intervention in the 'peace process'. I have found the BBC to be extremely biased on numerous occassions, especially when it comes to covering politics.

The quality of programming on the BBC has declined. BBC2 used to be brilliant. I learnt so much from watching documentaries, opera, ballet etc. None of these programs are shown anymore. Also, I hate the 'text your vote'. If they insist that a license fee is paid they shouldn't be generating any revenue from their viewers. There are other ways to garner opinion using social media that doesn't generate revenue.

grovel Fri 23-Nov-12 18:04:59

I do think that the BBC needs to get back to basics. In my lifetime it has quintupled its number of TV and radio channels without any obvious coherent strategy for doing so. It seems to do stuff because it can. I favour a mixed model - a reduced licence fee covering "basic services" and some channels with advertising and/or subscription.
Now we just have to define "basic services".

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 18:08:36

Like the 6 music debacle

hopefully the new guy will do the job
he was the uber hatchet man when he took after ROH - after their incredibly misguided and self destructive TV series
he's just done all the cultural events linked to the Olympics - which worked really well over all
and he was the man who was ready to take the fall if the Diana interview had gone wrong

and he hates Birtspeak
fingers crossed

NigellaTufnel Fri 23-Nov-12 18:14:38

I love the BBC and most of all it stands for.

Just compare Radio 3 with Classic FM and you will see what the alternative for quality broadcasting.

People are fecking Philistines...

flatpackhamster Fri 23-Nov-12 18:26:27


Would you rather rabid right wing TV news - then go and watch Fox

but do not expect to understand ANYTHING about anywhere outside the mainland USA if you do.

The BBC leans to the left, as do the vast majority of intellectuals because the more one learns, the less one is able to support knee jerk rabid right wing views

The 'vast majority' of intellectuals don't lean to the left. There's a self-selecting left-wing academia and state-funded media, because there's an obvious link between being dependent on the state for your living, and thinking that the state is a good thing.

But what I'm talking about isn't a right-wing BBC, 'rabid' (your pejorative or otherwise. What I'm talking about is a BBC that respects a point of view that isn't irretrievably left-wing. Another fine example today is listed in the right-wing online newspaper The Commentator. The BBC finds seven 'experts' to give their views on the UK's position in the EU. Every single one of them tells us that the UK should be in the EU.

Obviously ranting trots like you think that it's a good thing to have a taxpayer-funded propaganda wing shovelling your rancid extremist left-wing views down the gullets of the ordinary citizen, but those of us of a more balanced persuasion (and a higher intellectual calibre, of course want our impartial state broadcaster to actually be that.

Want2bSupermum Fri 23-Nov-12 18:26:47

Talkin So intellectuals are better than everyone else?!? My uncle was left wing and an intellectual but he saw the value in neutral reporting. It was his opinion that if people were informed they would end up more educated and would lean left evenutally. From what I observed, the more one is sheltered from the real world, the more one leans to the left while those more exposed to the real world tend to lean to the right.

To clarify, when I talk about real world I define that as a world where you fear the outcome of losing your job (ie losing your home/feeding your family etc), there is a good chance that you will lose your job through no fault of your own and where the ability to benefit from an education is hindered through lack of support and possibly funding.

Most government/university employees have traditionally not been in the real world. It is only in the past couple of years that they have been exposed to certain aspects of the real world (such as budget cuts). I think the rise of the BNP has been down to more people being exposed to the real world and them rejecting the left wing bias that has been shoved down their throats. Their reaction is knee jerk but it is very very dangerous and it is why I think the BBC should focus on providing neutral coverage of current events.

FWIW - Fox news is regionally syndicated. The coverage here in the NY region is not as biased and contains more foreign news compared to other areas such as North Dakota. For a right wing channel they took a lot of jabs at Romney during his campaign.

FrankH Fri 23-Nov-12 18:26:56

Re bias.

As has been pointed out, it is virtually impossible to present news and politics, and indeed anything to do with human behaviour, without bias.

The problem is that, without the BBC, all the major media outlets are biased in the same direction i.e. right-wing. This is virtually inevitable in any free country, as the media will be financed, and ultimately controlled, by the rich and powerful.

Right-wing bias is not necessarily worse - or better - than left-wing bias. But when the bias is so predominantly one-way in the commercial media, it is good to have some sort of counter-balance.

And actually, as far as I can see, any left-wing bias in the BBC is less extreme than the virulent right-wing bias of such as the Daily Mail, Daily Express, and the Sun - and even less extreme than that of the Daily Telegraph, the most widely circulating broadsheet.

[I am not a supporter of any political party - I am an Anglican priest, who was actually accused by one parishioner in the 1980s of being to the right of Margaret Thatcher!]

flatpackhamster Fri 23-Nov-12 18:32:56


Re bias.

As has been pointed out, it is virtually impossible to present news and politics, and indeed anything to do with human behaviour, without bias.

The problem is that, without the BBC, all the major media outlets are biased in the same direction i.e. right-wing. This is virtually inevitable in any free country, as the media will be financed, and ultimately controlled, by the rich and powerful.

Right-wing bias is not necessarily worse - or better - than left-wing bias. But when the bias is so predominantly one-way in the commercial media, it is good to have some sort of counter-balance.

And actually, as far as I can see, any left-wing bias in the BBC is less extreme than the virulent right-wing bias of such as the Daily Mail, Daily Express, and the Sun - and even less extreme than that of the Daily Telegraph, the most widely circulating broadsheet.

OK, so let's say I'm prepared to accept that there should be balance in the media. What I don't accept is that the taxpayer should pay for it. Why should the taxpayer fund left-wing bias? Why not right-wing bias? What is it about left-wing bias that makes it inherently superior and that taxpayers should pay for it?

If it's that amazing and popular, it'll stand on its own merits without needing subsidy.

teacherwith2kids Fri 23-Nov-12 18:37:58


I suppose the question is whether a funding model for the BBC which is NOT public subsidy can be designed in such a way that it is not intrisically biased towards the right...

The 'advertising' funding model currently in use elsewhere would seem to be intrinsically biased to the right, based as it is on large corporations.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 18:38:23

if not the taxpayer then WHO funds the part of the media that shines a light on the right wing press and TV?

out of interest, can anybody name a media source that is more reliable than the BBC for covering every single story, even if the slant is not exactly to your liking?

teacherwith2kids Fri 23-Nov-12 18:44:17

(Answering my own question - a subscription model would appear to be one option, but as a previous poster has said, 90 something percent of the country consumes some kind of BBC output now - probably more if iplayer is included - so the practical difference between subscription and license fee seems to me to be negligible. This also disregards the extra expense of perfroming the switch and implementing the technology to 'turn off' BBC radio, tv and internet to non subscribers, in cars etc etc.

MamaMary Fri 23-Nov-12 18:56:20

It is smug and has a left-wing bias (always has for as long as i can remember) but I wouldn't want to get rid of it. I'd miss Radio 4 and local radio especially.

FrankH Fri 23-Nov-12 18:58:08


As I said, left-wing bias is not inherently superior to right-wing.

I would prefer any public body to be as unbiased as possible. But if there is any bias, I would prefer it to at least be some sort of counter to the predominant right-wing bias in the commercial media.

The popularity of any media depends mainly on lots of money to fuel programmes which appeal to large numbers of the public. The money for such is going to come largely from the rich and powerful. Many of these are going to want the media outlets to propagandise for their particular political viewpoints - Rupert Murdoch, for instance.

I am actually an admirer of RM, and agree with him on some issues (I am an Eurosceptic). But I deplore the way large parts of his media, and even more such as the Daily Mail, continually present only one side of various issues, and demonise various groups by appealing to the worst side of human nature.

History sadly teaches us that it is much easier to stir up hatred and distrust between peoples, than respect and tolerance. When eventually humankind evolves into a more civilised condition, I suspect that the rantings in much of our present-day commercial media will be regarded with sorrow if not embarrassment.

Want2bSupermum Fri 23-Nov-12 19:14:45

Talkin I don't bother with the BBC because their bias is so bad. Generally speaking I find the FT presents the facts and then gives their opinion based on those facts. Their opinion is biased but at least they give you the facts. The BBC doesn't bother separating fact from opinion.

Another good news source that is somewhat unbiased is The Economist. Their news summary gives you the facts and then they go into their opinion. They don't always give both sides but they often do. For a publication that is traditionally right wing they are liberal in a lot ways you don't expect. Their science and technology section is also quite good.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 19:21:08

I subscribe to the Economist.
Their coverage of UK education is crap. Have fed that back (through DH who really knows) to the relevant journalists.
Did you read the roasting their letters page gave them for supporting Obama.
they are very clearly biased.

I also subscribe to
New Scientist - for 20 years
Private Eye - 20 years
Accountancy magazines - 20 years
BBC Wildlife - 15 years
The Garden - 20 years
Fortean Times - 20 years

and with all that reading I still say that for live news and current affairs, the BBC is the most reliable source - bar none.
(FYI my electoral registration is NYC, despite my living in the UK - I know of what I speak)

FrankH Fri 23-Nov-12 19:23:17

Want2bSupermum Are either the FT or The Economist particularly "right wing"? Business-oriented of course, but that's not necessarily the same thing.

I think your view of the BBC bias is rather exagerrated. I have come across left-wing views which claim that the BBC is actually biased in a right-wing way.

I don't agree with that assessment either - but it largely depends on one's own viewpoint.

grovel Fri 23-Nov-12 19:34:56

My DH always says that a fair deal in business is one where both parties come out of the negotiation feeling slightly upset.
My guess is that the BBC manage to piss off the Right and the Left. Ergo, they generally give fair coverage but nobody is always happy.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 19:40:56

I read FT, New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Independent, Telegraph and Guardian. I also read blogs ons specific subjects, e.g. Financial markets

With regard to news, I watch BBC, SKY news, Channel 4 news, Al Jazeera, Russian RT and some Eurpean news channels as well.

While in the US, PBS was my main go-to for news documentaries, but I still watched a bunch of stuff, including the Daily Show and Bill Maher.

Frankly none of these, including PBS, are funded so heavily by the tax payer (PBS gets 15% funding through taxes, rest of the funds are raised, rest are private)

BBC is not better than any other news sources, and in some cases it is worse, e.g., coverage of US elections. For some things that matter to me, such as Savita H death and Irish abortion laws, were not even covered, to start with. (Presumably the old white men at the helm didn't deem it important enough...?)

I see no reason why BBC should be in the uniquely privileged position of being fully funded by the taxpayer. They are no better than the rest. And there are plenty of left, centre and the spectrum in-between new sources available easily.

Times have changed. BBC content has deteriorated. More choices are available across media. There is no need to cling to the past.

teacherwith2kids Fri 23-Nov-12 19:42:04

Grovel, thank you for that! You have managed to say very succinctly what I was trying to say on another thread - that all parents always complain that the other ability groups in a school are the ones getting all the attention...whatever ability group their own child is in. So on the grounds that we seem to slightly piss off absolutely everyone, who all think that someone else is getting a slightly better deal than they are, we are probably being pretty fair!

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 19:49:34

How well did the US media cover the UK election - including the hiatus?
Just that the UK media is obsessed with the US, and the US media thinks Europe is one country

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 20:17:46

Talkin, I was comparing Sky news coverage of the US elections, which was far superior to BBC (I mentioned that upthread)

But in any case, the point is that BBC is hardly this great provider of coverage of international or indeed, European events. They don't do that great a job within UK either.

BBC was once a pioneer, but those days are long past. Now they are middle of the road average.

Edma Fri 23-Nov-12 20:26:51


Eeeeeowwwfftz Fri 23-Nov-12 20:31:55

Some proponents of TV licence abolition (though maybe not on this thread) seem to take the view that the UK is anomalous in having one, whereas in fact this is not the case. This wikipedia article lists 35 countries that have some form of TV licence. Ours is not even the most expensive: the Scandinavians, Austrians, Germans and Swiss pay (considerably) more.

In Germany (as I know from an unpleasant early-morning encounter with the enforcement agents), it is necessary to have a licence to listen to the radio. None of the stations, TV or radio, are advert-free (or at least, they weren't in the late 90s when I was living there). Advertising on the main "state" TV stations is banned from 8pm, which just meant a solid block of adverts from about 7.45 to 8pm (complete with a handy countdown clock in the corner of the screen so you could mourn their passing).

Sky's subscription is £21.50 a month, which is some 72% more than the license fee. The CEO of BSkyB, Jeremy Darroch, pulls in 935k a year, 107% more than the DG of the BBC. That's before you throw in all the bonuses, share options etc that apparently takes the total up to around £7m.

So the BBC doesn't seem terribly bad value for money compared to the competition.

The question of whether a subscription is a better / fairer model is difficult to argue. Implicit in this question is the assumption that its output would stay the same. This being the case, maybe a subscription wouldn't be so bad. There is a risk that it would degrade in quality, and frankly for just over a tenner a month I'm happy not to run this risk. It's also logically possible that the quality of its output could increase in a post-licence-fee era; but I can't quite see how marketisation would achieve this.

I am somewhat ignorant of what's exclusively available on the Sky channels. What's the cream of the crop?

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 21:28:26

Well, if marketisation does not lead to innovation and higher quality products, then why bother with free markets at all?

Any monopoly, including BBC, which has a captive market, is ripe for abuse. Cronyism, secrecy, inflated salaries coupled with poor products are the outputs of monopolies.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 21:32:22

and the Murdoch press never did that
hence the lack of need for the Levenson enquiry

What on EARTH makes you think that the free market leads to balance - less than zero evidence

Iggly Fri 23-Nov-12 21:39:12

The BBC isnt a monopoly. It's not the only tv channel out there, what a ridiculous thing to say.

FrankH Fri 23-Nov-12 21:43:11

In what sense does the BBC have a monopoly? Since no one has to watch it, and there are numerous other news sources?

Because free markets can lead to innovation and higher quality doesn't mean that these are always the inevitable consequence. And not even the USA has just a free market and nothing else - there are publicly funded schools for example.

The BBC is far from perfect, and could well do with reform. But leaving the media purely to the free market also could have dire consequences, in that the mass media is open to takeover by a few rich and powerful individuals or groups.

It seems to me that the extreme versions - pure "free market" or pure state control - are both potentially dangerous. Our rather messy mixed economy is much less so.

Heroine Fri 23-Nov-12 21:53:09

I think what is most telling is that both Murdochs James and Rupert talk misty-eyed about the way in italy dominance of the media was able to change politics.

Fox and Sky are only interested in influence and money and they change their reporting and output to further those two goals. Headlines when Iraq was on the agenda were 100% supportive of war, and there was no analysis. That was irresponsible - watching their headline TV interviews were like watching infomercials for a new product that got rid of 99% of all known dictators - a cillit bang style big-up of right wing government policy.

the BBC is accountable - and under much scrutiny, and always will be because a political error that shocks the public will cause both moral pressure and legislative pressure on the BBC. With Sky there is not this exposure, accountability or governmental pressure. In fact, they pressure governments.

The reason sky want to diminish the BBC's hold is because they are a competitor both to their market domination, but also to their political ambitions. If you want media companies to become more powerful and dangerous than countries then on you go. Me I like my media high quality, accountable to the public and embarrassed if it does wrong.

Oh and for the record, Sky's news coverage in the UK is far better than it intended. Its original strategy was the 'disc bitch' and channelling CNN. Market research it conducted showed time after time that if it was uncritical thin and valueless, then UK viewers wouldn't watch it. They spend more per news report in the UK than any other country they operate in purely because if they don't keep the quality higher than they would otherwise like, viewers would choose the BBC.

I have no doubt, that if the BBC disappeared, their strategy would be to move news here back to the usual cheapo no analysis Sky/Fox model.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 21:53:54

In pretty much every industry we have seen competition leading to innovation, be it automobiles, computers, clothes, toys, music etc.

Somehow with regard to BBC, however, you seem to think, the loss of tax payer funding will lead to a decrease in quality. Why?

BTW, Channel 4, as far as I understand, is a public broadcasting station like BBC, without captive taxpayer funding. They still manage to have decent news, documentaries and dramas.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 21:56:53

Holy shit you are ill informed
I do not know quite where to start
but the select committee into tax evasion is an opening point

WrathdePan Fri 23-Nov-12 21:57:33


The BBC is one of the few last bastions left re civility, breadth of reporting and service, access to minority communities, quality drama, unparalleled radio service.

The enemies of the BBC are right-wing free marketeers who want to un-educate the mass of the people. Replace with European or US television/radio? Are you really serious?
All folk around the world don't value the BBC for no good reason.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 21:58:24

David Attenborough

I rest my case

WrathdePan Fri 23-Nov-12 21:59:24

yes Talkin DA wouldn't get breathing space elsewhere.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 22:00:38

Market research it conducted showed time after time that if it was uncritical thin and valueless, then UK viewers wouldn't watch it

Heroine, this is the crux. There are loads of news sources out there. Last time I checked, I had access to 15 or so different media companies on my box. And more via Internet.

Sky might have been forced to improve quality to respond to consumer demands. Because they rely on us for their revenue, and know we can walk away. That is the free market at play.

We need a similar discipling mechanism for BBC.

WrathdePan Fri 23-Nov-12 22:04:22

Flatbread - if you are comparing Ch4's output with the BBC you are on a loser. Ch4 are required t oproduce dross in order to attract the advert revenue. The ONE big thing Ch4 has is Jon Snow. Beyond that it doesn;t hold a candle.

drjohnsonscat Fri 23-Nov-12 22:12:52

I love everything about the BBC, even the things I hate. Without it we would be A N Other Northern European country with rubbish weather and a dodgy reputation for food. With it we have a level of public engagement and debate and a national commitment to producing something good without an eye to the bottom line.

And I want programming like Blue Peter. No silly under-dressed bints trying to be pop porn stars and children allowed to be children. And if you want news you can even slightly rely on you can only look to the BBC - there are repeated concerns about bias but I'd rather have BBC news values than Sky and the Kay Birley style of reporting all day long. And it is almost embarrassingly honest at times - could you see anyone on Sky news carrying out such a forceful and damaging interview with Rupert Murdoch that Murdoch had to resign? No. That's what John Humphreys did with George Entwistle.

WrathdePan Fri 23-Nov-12 22:15:25

Essentially, yes, drjohnson - we are looking at BBC v Murdochesque stuff. The BBC isn't flawless, and yes of course the governance is up for debate, but SEA's notion of 'getting rid' is absurd.

WrathdePan Fri 23-Nov-12 22:18:08

And I have nooo idea why HQ would wish to have this tagged as a 'thread of the day'. Well, actually I do. It's to ensure the nay-sayers are challenged.


Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 22:26:48

Wrath, atleast Channel4 has a valid reason to produce some dross, along with good news and other programmes. What is BBC's excuse for the dross that is BBC3? If they need to pander to the lowest taste, then how are they different from any other broadcaster?

I think BBC needs to be seriously pared down and the funding model changed.

WrathdePan Fri 23-Nov-12 22:32:08

"A valid reason to produce some dross..?" There is no valid reason, outside of dross = advert space for cars and beer. BBC3 isn't of the same order.

But either you believe in public broadcast values or you don't. Most global opinion of value in broadcasting support the BBC. Thank god.

Flatbread Fri 23-Nov-12 22:41:02

Er, Channel4 is a public broadcaster. But it finds it own funding. PBS in the US is a public broadcaster, IMO, the news coverage is superior to BBC. And it mostly finds its own funding.

I believe in public broadcasting. But I don't think the BBC in its bloated form with captive taxpayer support is value for money.

If BBC is so good, then why not move to a subscription model and all those that love it can pay for it.

flatpackhamster Fri 23-Nov-12 23:14:32


As I said, left-wing bias is not inherently superior to right-wing.

I would prefer any public body to be as unbiased as possible. But if there is any bias, I would prefer it to at least be some sort of counter to the predominant right-wing bias in the commercial media.

Interestingly only 20% of the UK population ever buy a newspaper. The remaining 80% obtain their news from the television. The biggest viewing audience is reached by the BBC, not by the commercial media.

So even if we were to accept the premise that we need taxpayer subsidy to 'counter' the views of the majority of the population (an elitist, 'proles must know their place' attitude if ever there was one, we would have to assume from the viewing figures that we actually needed to subsidise the right-wing commercial media to give it a chance of challenging the reach of the left-wing one.

The popularity of any media depends mainly on lots of money to fuel programmes which appeal to large numbers of the public. The money for such is going to come largely from the rich and powerful. Many of these are going to want the media outlets to propagandise for their particular political viewpoints - Rupert Murdoch, for instance.

I am actually an admirer of RM, and agree with him on some issues (I am an Eurosceptic). But I deplore the way large parts of his media, and even more such as the Daily Mail, continually present only one side of various issues, and demonise various groups by appealing to the worst side of human nature.

This happens in all media. Look at the class war hatred fostered by the likes of the Guardian.

WrathdePan Fri 23-Nov-12 23:34:37

" Look at the class war hatred fostered by the likes of the Guardian. " end of any sense of rational argument.

RubyrooUK Sat 24-Nov-12 00:06:32

Flatbread, I think it's interesting that you watch or read such a wide variety of news sources and feel the BBC is no better.

That's interesting because having worked in the newsrooms of multiple media, I can tell you there is a massive difference in what you are told, and with what agenda.

Also the BBC pays its journalists to research and write news. Which is why it is so important that it gets it right, and it is hauled over the coals when it doesn't.

Services like the Huffington Post are blog sites - not news sites - that don't pay writers for their content. That is why you might get a great opinion piece from a celebrity campaigner, but you won't get an investigation into care home abuse that really matters to society.

So I do think there is a difference in the standard of journalism. Some commercial media outlets are very good - the FT, for example - but lots are run on a shoestring, without properly paying staff or putting intense pressure on staff to get stories at any cost at all. The BBC is not like that and actually that's a good thing for everyone.

Another broadcaster that I won't mention pays people to tweet their views of the news as if they just "happen" to be watching and love the content. That to me is marketing but since it isn't clear from the tweets, you or I may think it is someone's real beliefs, not paid for.

Obviously you are entitled to your own view. And I often think commercial news outlets do a great job. They can't be put into one pot. But given the vast output of the BBC, it tries to hold up high editorial standards (it doesn't always succeed and gets things wrong like every organisation employing humans but it tries).

Cozy9 Sat 24-Nov-12 00:27:49

"Folk around the world" don't matter, they don't have to pay the licence fee. We do. The BBC should serve the people of Britain, not "people around the world".

The BBC shows too much crap, and too many of their staff are overpaid and there is a culture of entitlement. They should scale and produce quality, not quantity if they want to survive. BBC 3 should be axed, the content of BBC4 moved to BBC2, and the best of BBC1s and 2 put on a new BBC1. Radio 1 should be axed as it is utter dross, as is much of Radio 2, Radio 3 can stay, as can Radio 4 but axe the lefty "comedy". Radio 5 can stay.

McChristmasPants2012 Sat 24-Nov-12 01:26:51

I have not watched the bbc since the cover up over JS, i wish i could opt out of recieving the BBC.

FrankH Sat 24-Nov-12 02:43:27

Firstly, I don't accept your view that the BBC is a rabidly left-wing biased organisation. As noted, many "left wingers" regard it as more right-wing biased. I don't agree with them either - so we must agree to disagree.

And I am fully aware that all sides of the media are biased. But I don't regard either the Guardian or, say, the "Morning Star", as in any way as dangerous as the Daily Mail or the Sun - to name but two - because they are clearly not in any way as powerful or influential.

And my disquiet at the influence of the DM and the Sun - not just through their massive circulations but through their internet activity (the Daily Mail website is especially influential) - isn't because of an "elitist" disregard for the "proles", but because of their continuous appeal to the worst side of human nature, working on the tendency in all of us - not just "proles" - to blame all our ills on others, outsiders, those not like us etc.etc.etc.

Cozy9 Sat 24-Nov-12 03:03:20

Who does the Guardian tell people to blame their ills on? Bankers, Tories, the US, etc.

luanmahi Sat 24-Nov-12 06:47:26

So if the BBC became subscription only, the sheer number of outlets wouldn't be manageable. You only pay the licence fee if you have a TV, however we still get 100s of radio stations and the entire BBC website including iPlayer for free. And as other people have pointed out, there's a danger that without the competition, general quality of news reporting and programme making across the board would go down. The BBC is accountable to us, not commercial companies which can only be a good thing.

Cozy9 Sat 24-Nov-12 06:52:05

How is the BBC "accountable to us"?

WhoWhatWhereWhen Sat 24-Nov-12 07:12:35

The BBC keeps overall quality up, if it goes then we'll be flooded with crappy US shows and TV production here will die

Cozy9 Sat 24-Nov-12 07:18:05

I think that's a myth. The BBC makes very few great programmes nowadays. They certainly aren't the best in the world anymore. Why don't they invest in some top quality dramas to rival those from the US? Instead of crap like Doctor Who and Eastenders?

Iggly Sat 24-Nov-12 08:07:28

Point these stories out to me Cozy.

And if you don't think that the banking sector should take some responsibility for its actions, then you truly are living in cloud cukoo land.

The DM website is terrible. It constantly digs out awful stories which appeal to the lowest common denominator. It's trash.

eurocommuter Sat 24-Nov-12 09:22:22

YABVU. The BBC has great programmes. We don't know what we have until we have lived abroad and seen the quality of broadcasting provided in other countries. This is mainly driven by the advertising and the license fee is very small compared to the quality of programming that comes out of the BBC.
When broadcasting is funded by advertisers, you lose the creativity that goes into great programming.

Long live the BBC.

RubyrooUK Sat 24-Nov-12 10:04:45

Cozy, whether you like the BBC's programming is entirely subjective. You and I may think Doctor Who is crap (and I do) but it was the most downloaded show on US iTunes in 2011.

So actually people in the US thought that was pretty good content, which they paid to download more than their own content. So your opinion that American shows are better is subjective really, because we all have our own preferences.

Cozy9 Sat 24-Nov-12 10:10:13

I don't think it is subjective. If you think Doctor Who is better TV than Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Game of Thrones etc than you're an idiot, end of. Americans probably download Dr Who because they don't want to subscribe to BBC USA.

WrathdePan Sat 24-Nov-12 10:16:23

You see Cozy9's insulting comment and employment of "end of" personifies the sort of vulgarity she represents and wishes to promote.

Cozy9 Sat 24-Nov-12 10:18:49

Vulgarity? How did you come to that conclusion?

RubyrooUK Sat 24-Nov-12 10:22:59

Well, we like some of the same programmes Cozy but I don't think that's the point. People aren't idiots for having different taste. That is why the BBC has a tough brief to fill.

But anyway I think the TV programming is only one part of what the BBC does. It also part funds things like Freeview, it offers the iPlayer, it offers plenty of niche radio stations that wouldn't survive on commercial radio because the audiences aren't valuable enough to advertisers.

I pay the BBC my licence fee in the understanding that it does some things I will like and use and others I won't. Because I think what it does overall is really valuable.

Cozy9 Sat 24-Nov-12 10:27:30

"Well, we like some of the same programmes Cozy but I don't think that's the point. People aren't idiots for having different taste. That is why the BBC has a tough brief to fill."
That only goes so far. Some programmes are objectively better than others. Otherwise what is the argument for the BBC?

Salbertina Sat 24-Nov-12 10:29:50

God no!! Living overseas in several different countries, ive seen how v dire and commercial most national broadcasters ate. The beeb is esteemed for a reason.. I still turn to it first, even at 7,000 miles!

Cozy9 Sat 24-Nov-12 10:38:50

Why doesn't the BBC invest a ton of money into making programmes as good as America's best? Why are so many US series full of British actors?

LtEveDallas Sat 24-Nov-12 10:55:50

Cozy, whilst I agree with most of your points, you can't compare Dr Who with dramas like boardwalk empire or game of thrones - Dr Who is a kids programme, you're not supposed to like it!

Now if you'd compared it with the tosh that is Eastenders.... smile

ppeatfruit Sat 24-Nov-12 11:39:33

Upthread I mentioned Downton Abbey which has 'shown up' the Beeb because it's had money thrown at it; Universal is its main investor. The beeb does do that sometimes as well but doesn't seem to make it a rule.

DH works for HBO so I try to be objective. They spend 15 million on ONE episode of e.g. Boardwalk shock and they aren't a Broadcasting Authority so of course have a different remit.

I feel sorry for the BBC because it's damned if it does spend and damned if it doesn't. I DO think it should exist, maybe in a slightly different form though.

OrbisNonSufficit Sat 24-Nov-12 11:52:06

I LOVE the BBC (compared to the ABC in Oz it's amazing, as others have pointed out national broadcasters are usually crap). I'd happily pay twice the current licence fee just for David Attenborough's documentaries + Radio 5. I don't think that because I pay for it I should dictate all of its programming decisions, you have to take the bad with the good and I imagine commissioning successful telly is quite hard.

ohforfoxsake Sat 24-Nov-12 12:09:53

I wonder if the YANBU replies would be the same if the OP had posted after the Olympics?

I pay a fortune for Sky as we have to have the Sports channels. I hate it, but its DH's job. The BBC is great value for money.

If the BBC didn't make the programmes they do, Sky would have very little to fill their channels with.

The BBC make amazing television, how quickly the Olympics have been forgotten.

Thumbwitch Sat 24-Nov-12 12:13:26

Good point, forffoxsake.
Watching the Olympics on iPlayer was far better than trying to watch the Paralympics on the Ch4 equivalent.

FrankH Sat 24-Nov-12 12:32:15

Watching BBCs "Little Dorrit" (2008) on DVD. Absolutely superb.

I think Sir David Attenborough is slightly overrated, but his programmes for BBC include some of the best ever.

BBC's standards have dropped in recent years - but in my opinion (and all of us, including Cozy9, are only in the end giving personal opinions. There is an objective basis for quality and excellence, but only those with perfect impeccable taste could consistently judge on this. I would be very surprised if any poster on these forums measure up on this.) the general standard is till much higher than that of the commercial channels.

FrankH Sat 24-Nov-12 12:58:28

Cozy9 "Who does the Guardian tell people to blame their ills on? Bankers, Tories, the US, etc."

I have no more time for blind left-wing bias than for the right-wing equivalent.

However, compare the proportion of the media - both press and internet - dominated by the right-wing channels such as the Murdoch empire and the Daily Mail - with that in the hands of left-wing, or even centrist, organizations, and there is no equivalence. And incidentally the fact reported by flatpackhamster that only 20% of people buy a newspaper doesn't mean, as he/she seems to assert, that only that amount get their news that way! I very rarely buy a paper, but I frequently read them in various cafes, the Library, friends' and family's houses and so on. It certainly doesn't mean that 80% get their news only from TV - and even if it did, that they got all their TV from the BBC!

There is another factor. The groups left-wing bias tend to demonise are the rich and powerful. And blaming the "Tories" is purely a matter of political debate, and is no better or worse than attacking the politics of Labour, LibDems, UKIP, Green etc.

On the other hand, the groups right-wingers tend to demonise are the weak, the powerless, and groups against whom there is already a lot of antagonism and hatred e.g. "immigrants", (which for most people will call to mind "non-whites").

Cozy9, I actually agree with you on your comments about the various BBC TV and radio channels - but then I'm a bit of a cultural elitist, and would rather the BBC not be involved with the pulp pop and celebrity scene. However I suspect that they need their involvement in this for viewing/listening figures.

ppeatfruit Sat 24-Nov-12 12:58:35

Yes FrankH On the whole I agree about about Little Dorrit BUT (and I know that other producers are also guilty of this) why choose an actress for the main role who wasn't little and wasn't the best they could have found? They've done it in The Hour as well poor Romola Garai is out of her comfort zone very beautiful but not able to act well enough IMHO!!!

Actually The Hour gets me down I WANTED to like it but can't at all.

BooCanary Sat 24-Nov-12 13:07:37

I don't watch a lot on BBC (except for Strictly and the odd comedy panel show) but just could not get by without BBC news (R4, website, BBC1 Breakfast). There may have been trust issues lately, but with all that, I still trust them 10 times as much as the majority of the papers and most of the commercial channels (excepting C4).

I think we need it as a country, so YABU OP.

Cozy9 Sat 24-Nov-12 13:20:44

"However, compare the proportion of the media - both press and internet - dominated by the right-wing channels such as the Murdoch empire and the Daily Mail - with that in the hands of left-wing, or even centrist, organizations, and there is no equivalence. "
Do you not think that is down to individual choice? There are left wing newspapers. People just don't choose to buy them.

FrankH Sat 24-Nov-12 13:20:48

ppeatfruit Actually I thought most of the cast of Little Dorrit were superb, including Claire Foy in the leading role. There is one scene in which her emotions are purely shown in her face as her screen father is in effect blaming her for not accepting John Chivery's marriage proposal. One of the best cameos of acting that I've seen.

The best actor of all IMHO was perhaps Tom Courtenay, who perfectly portrayed the deeply unpleasant but complex character of William Dorrit.

I haven't watched The Hour, so can't comment on that.

flatpackhamster Sat 24-Nov-12 13:27:12


I have no more time for blind left-wing bias than for the right-wing equivalent.

I disagree. You have lots of time for blind left-wing bias as your posts have shown again and again. In your view, left-wing bias is fine because it's your kind of bias. So let's stop pretending that you're some kind of impartial arbiter here.

However, compare the proportion of the media - both press and internet - dominated by the right-wing channels such as the Murdoch empire and the Daily Mail - with that in the hands of left-wing, or even centrist, organizations, and there is no equivalence.

Yes, let's compare that. According to this BBC News story, the BBC online has more than twice the reach of its nearest competitor, which is the Daily Mail.

So there is a left-wing (you would pretend it is centrist) organisation online, and it is - once again - the Guardian-led BBC News website. And it is dominant in the marketplace.

And incidentally the fact reported by flatpackhamster that only 20% of people buy a newspaper doesn't mean, as he/she seems to assert, that only that amount get their news that way!

I very rarely buy a paper, but I frequently read them in various cafes, the Library, friends' and family's houses and so on. It certainly doesn't mean that 80% get their news only from TV - and even if it did, that they got all their TV from the BBC! As you can see here, the BBC retains a commanding position when it comes to viewing figures.

There is another factor. The groups left-wing bias tend to demonise are the rich and powerful. And blaming the "Tories" is purely a matter of political debate, and is no better or worse than attacking the politics of Labour, LibDems, UKIP, Green etc.

On the other hand, the groups right-wingers tend to demonise are the weak, the powerless, and groups against whom there is already a lot of antagonism and hatred e.g. "immigrants", (which for most people will call to mind "non-whites").

What smug, elitist left-wing tripe. The Guardian has a go at anyone that doesn't fit its metropolitan upper-middle-class view, including dreadful working class people with their inappropriate views on immigration and gay marriage and wicked middle-class people who object to seeing their taxes rise to pay for ecomentalist projects. Your view of the left-wing press as some sort of defender of the oppressed is diametrically at odds with the reality.

Cozy9, I actually agree with you on your comments about the various BBC TV and radio channels - but then I'm a bit of a cultural elitist, and would rather the BBC not be involved with the pulp pop and celebrity scene. However I suspect that they need their involvement in this for viewing/listening figures.

Those ghastly proles, eh? Polluting their airwaves with their Strictly Come X Factor, or whatever it is.

FrankH Sat 24-Nov-12 13:30:48

Of course it's down to individual choice! I would never suggest that the government, or anyone else, tell people what or what not to buy!

But the right-wing press has an automatic advantage, because most of those who own the media, and can pour money into them - press, TV, internet - to make them more attractive, will be rich and powerful people, who tend mostly to be people with generally right-wing views. There is also the question of advertising revenue, which will also be generally more attracted to right-wing media.

This is inevitable in a free society, and even with this flaw is still immeasurably better than the situation in totalitarian dictatorships where the ruling regime has the ultimate control.

However, it is still a good thing, IMHO, if there is some balance, from a centrist viewpoint, to what otherwise becomes an open field for right-wing prejudices and hatreds.

Bluegrass Sat 24-Nov-12 13:39:11

Making consistently really good entertainment, TV or films, is incredibly difficult. I think people over here have a completely unrealistic view of how good "US TV" is. They make some amazing programmes, some great comedies and we see them because our own broadcasters buy the very best and ignore all the shite (including stuff that costs a fortune to make, completely tanks and is never recommissioned - or remembered). Then you get prople thinking this is somehow representative of US output.

Studios have been bankrupted by throwing money at "surefire" winners which no one liked. The BBC no more has the magic answer for making hit TV than any other broadcaster/studio, and on top of that it has a smaller budget and can't take the same risk as it will be lambasted for wasting public money on a blue chip series given the very real risk that it might subsequently bomb.

Every time I travel I'm reminded of just how good the BBC is and I'm amazed at what they can achieve. For god's sake, the Natural History Unit is recognised by many in the business as the best producer of wildlife programmes on the planet - that's our BBC that is!

Salbertina Sat 24-Nov-12 13:43:59

"Guardian-led BBC website?" Speaking as a non -guardian reading, non-leftwing Times reading BBC consumer of web/news/radio/tv hmm and hmm
I enjoy the Times and its columnists in the main but this is despite the Murdoch connection. Have hated their recent hounding of the Beeb over the Saville saga.

FrankH Sat 24-Nov-12 13:44:17

It might surprise you to know that I have had quite angry to-dos with both the Guardian and the Independent about biased and inaccurate reporting.

You might be quite surprised to hear my views on immigration (end mass immigration - and deport all those who don't want to fit in with British standards), gay marriage (in favour of civil relationships, but don't think same-sex relationships are the same as heterosexual ones), the family (wish the Tories would support whole-heartedly the Traditional family) and so on. At Church meetings I have, amongst other things, opposed people who claim that it was incumbent on all Christians to oppose the Tories (I've actually voted Tory in some elections). I have in my time been accused of being to the right of Margaret Thatcher.

What I dislike however about so many on the right is their appeal to the worst side of human nature, in particular the dislike of people who look somewhat different.

The fact that my skin colour isn't quite white might make me more sensitive about the sort of hatred I see simmering among many on the "right" - and I'm not entirely sure I don't see it in your intemperate replies to myself.

FrankH Sat 24-Nov-12 13:47:56

Oh, and by the way, I don't regard the Guardian as a "defender of the oppressed"! I read the Guardian much less than I read the DM or the Sun - in fact I've read the Guardian about twice this last year. It doesn't appear in the prole cafes where I tend to eat.

Salbertina Sat 24-Nov-12 13:52:23

It can seem rather smug and hypocritical at times

Salbertina Sat 24-Nov-12 13:53:23

The Guardian NOT the BBC that is.

Popcornia Sat 24-Nov-12 13:54:59

American television is mostly awful. We get to see the very best bits of it, and we get to see it without 10 minutes of bland commercials every 10 minutes. This is because of the influence the advertising-free BBC has on the whole tv market here. Even British advertising is more creative and interesting.

Whenever I go home, I can't bear to watch most of the television on offer. I do think all Britons who want to get rid of the BBC should be forced to watch real US television for six months straight. That'll set 'em right.

FrankH Sat 24-Nov-12 13:57:07

""Guardian-led BBC website?" Speaking as a non -guardian reading, non-leftwing Times reading BBC consumer of web/news/radio/tv and
I enjoy the Times and its columnists in the main but this is despite the Murdoch connection. Have hated their recent hounding of the Beeb over the Saville saga."
It is commonplace on the Daily Mail and Sun to claim that the BBC is a colony of the Guardian.

Actually I have a soft spot for Rupert Murdoch. I even feel rather sorry for him. I think it's disgraceful that all those politicians - of all parties - cosied up to him when he was almost the most powerful figure in British politics, but now shun him as a pariah, now that he's "fallen from grace".

I'm not a great fan of Boris Johnson, but commend him for not being ashamed of inviting Rupert Murdoch to speak at events. It's in these situations that people find out their real friends and allies.

Heroine Sat 24-Nov-12 14:08:26

Flatbread, you are completely missing the point. The commercial broadcaster (Sky) wanted to present poor quality news at the cheapest cost, but charge (overall) the highest price for it.

The reason they had to raise quality was because the BBC have give the UK an extremely high standard to compare commercial broadcasting to.

That the higher standard news came from a licenced BBC model completely negates your rather idiotic view that innovation only comes from a market and profit-oriented model.

Heroine Sat 24-Nov-12 14:14:49

For more examples of innovation in broadcasting being led by the BBC...

1. High quality internet news spin-off
2. Consistently the most comprehensive and well-designed internet presence EVEN BEFORE SKY WAS ON THE INTERNET
3. Iplayer is without a doubt the best broadcast and on-demand TV platform in the world - the commercial ones are embarrassing in comparison
4. World Service - been going for years, yet the idea of well-trained local journalism in 100 countries around the world broadcasting to BBC quality worldwide has still not been matched by the CNN feed bollocks.
5. Music channels like Radio 1 often have better converage of international music scenes than the country's own music channels that are dominated by large commercial media companies.
6. Challenging journalism where intellectual quality is valued even if it exceeds that of politicians or business leaders - that is still a strikingly innovative position when you look at commercial stations who see their role as to be sycophantic and pandering to business leaders and politicians.
7. Much more effective and inclusive use of texts, emails, tweets etc embedded into programming and live debates.
etc etc

alcofrolic Sat 24-Nov-12 14:32:33

For those of you who think the BBC is biased, have you ever watched Fox news?

Flatbread Sat 24-Nov-12 15:14:39

That the higher standard news came from a licenced BBC model completely negates your rather idiotic view that innovation only comes from a market and profit-oriented model

Innovation comes either from a very young, agile institution. Or in a market where there is competition and a hunger to succeed.

Does any of this sound like the BBC of today? No. BBC is complacent.

It is not being profit-oriented, necessarily, but having competition and having to fight for resources that leads to innovation. Innovation is a constant need to be the best, not settle for a has-been. BBC has captive funding, a bloated bureaucracy. It is a status-quo institution, with no need or hunger to be the best. As long as it has captive funding, why would it need to compete?

And people like you allow it to wallow in its complacency.

Flatbread Sat 24-Nov-12 15:22:39


If BBC is so wonderful, then surely a subscription service would be the way to go? People would flock to subscribe to partake of its wonderful broadcasts, and it would continue to get money.

And those of us who think it is mediocre can subscribe to SKY or pay nothing and watch channel4.

Freedom of choice for everyone.

Heroine Sat 24-Nov-12 16:31:18

Flatbread, you might be a rabid free-marketeer, but you don't have to be an idiot as well.

Why do you consider BBC is complacent. Did you read my list of innovations that the BBC leads the market in? Perhaps you didn't understand it?

Free markets don't really exist you know, but where there is quite a lot of freedom, the market doesn't tend towards innovation and quality, it tends towards crap. You can see this in consumer goods (go to a trade fair and see the halls and halls filled with cheaply produced crap) media (the US is a perfect example but also see Italy for another excellent 'free market' approach). Food is a further example, we have bad or no-tasting fruit and veg with poorer nutritional standards, poorer quality meat (stuffed full of injected water... sorry 'produced with innovative bulk-increasing techniques..hmm) older fish etc than we used to have in the 1960s. We have factory produced bread with high levels of salt and sugar and 'food' is stuffed full of fructose, oils, saturated fats salts etc etc that are NOT a reflection of quality but are a reflection of what you call 'innovation'.

We can see the trend towards crap in the film industry, and in popular music.

In areas like car design, where 'innovation is driven by the market' in fact this is untrue - innovation in the car industry is driven by legislation. Safety legislation, fuel economy legislation, emissions legislation etc etc.

Its nice when stupid people are sure of themselves, but it never means they are right.

Flatbread Sat 24-Nov-12 18:57:52


Oh, so advances in automotives have nothing to do with competition? It is all to do with government intervention? Well, in that case you must be a champion of the Lada or Volga automotive. Or perhaps there is a Trabant snuggling in your driveway.

I am not a neoliberal fanatic. Nor do I think a profit motive is a necessary or sufficient condition for innovation.

But what is necessary is competition. Even in the non-profit sector, Oxfam etc. have to compete for our donations.

But in the case of BBC, you have an institution that has guaranteed funding and no competition for the funds. What you get is an institution that exists to protect and perpetuate itself.

A balance between government intervention AND competition is required. At this point, BBC does not compete in the most important area - funding. The best way to do that is to make BBC subscription based or funded through voluntary contributions so it competes for funding and is accountable to us.

I think you are too afraid to let go, and people and institutions like the BBC will take advantage of that, and give you overwhelming mediocrity at a high cost.

Heroine Sat 24-Nov-12 19:09:31

You really don't fucking listen do you. Typical for a daft free-marketeer.