(From the BBC Online website, funnily enough) – After 78 years, the British government has proposed to replace the BBC’s governors with two new bodies – a BBC Trust and an executive board. Under the proposals, the licence fee will be kept for at least another ten years.
For once, this is Labour’s “let’s replace the old version with the new version that does exactly the same job but more expensively” policy doing…not that badly. They haven’t caved to the likes of Rupert Murdoch, which to me is pretty important here. The BBC, i believe, is unique in the world, being the only government-independent, non-commercial braodcaster in existence. In fact, having given it a little more thought tonight, I realised just why I support the BBC’s existence – I view it as, essentially, a much older and much larger version of our very own Blogcritics. Or, to put it more accurately, Blogcritics is like a (very) baby brother/daughter of the BBC, albeit multinational. Like the BBC, we have contributors from both sides of the political spectrum, with quite a wide range in strengths of views. We have posts covering a very wide range of interests. We do have a few ads, granted, but then we don’t have free funding from licence fees.
And herein lies the root of what makes the BBC what it is. The licence fees are exactly what enable it to be so independent, which in my opinion is incredibly important. Of course i don’t think it should be our only source of broadcasts. But neither do i think commercial broadcasters should be the only type of broadcasters we have. The likes of Murdoch, and admittedly smaller braodcast business owners, want the licence fee scrapped. Why? so that they can take the BBC’s buying power for themselves. The BBC isn’t without its problems, and I do feel they’ve spread themselves too thinly with all the new digital channels – i can only hope they see enough sense to scrap some of the most unsuccessful new channels, and e.g. consolidate new comedy shows onto BBC three – but it is a modern institution anyone living in Britain really can be proud of. Unless you dodge the licence fee.
As a final reason for my general view that we should keep the licence fee, let’s disregard news, current affairs etc. for just a moment, and consider all the great comedy shows to have emerged from the BBC, both past and present:
15 Storeys High
Are You Being Served
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
Coupling (the UK version, natch)
Goodness Gracious Me
Have I Got News For You
I’m Alan Partridge
League Of Gentlemen
Men Behaving Badly
Not The Nine O’Clock News
One Foot In The Grave
Only Fools And Horses
The Fast Show
The Royle Family
The Vicar Of Dibley
The Young Ones
Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister
Not to mention the cool documentaries they air quite often.
long live the BBC!
and especially for people who, like me, used to watch Spitting Image almost religiously, here’s the best site on it i’ve found so far: More SI info than you can shake a reasonably-sized stick at