Friday, September 22, 2006

Should BBC Current Affairs Entertain or Inform?

Sunny Hundal has a thoughtful piece HERE on CommentIsFree on whether BBC Current Affairs is now seeking to entertain rather than inform. The two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, but the tipping point was reached when they decided to have comedians on Question Time. This has led to other political programmes like This Week booking the likes of Shane McGowan to give us their views on the great issues of the day. This whole theme will make a great discussion for my new programme on 18DoughtyStreeet. Sunny, you just booked yourself on as a guest. But we want you to inform, not entertain!


Jonathan Sheppard said...

Your ties will do the entertaining!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

All politicians look absurd, but they look especially absurd outside of Westminster or alongside real people.

Comedians are not real people either so the air of artificiality becomes somewhat strained I think when the two are put together.

I can see Anne Widdecombe or Clare Short doing a sort of "Aren't all men bastards" stand-up routine, with a few self-deprecatory fat gags thrown in, and I could see Alan Duncan and Peter Mandelson doing a very funny version of Julian and Sandy, but on the whole, politics is not funny.

The current bunch of politicians just come across as evil lying bastards, and since they are leaders or wannabee leaders, that is not funny, it is fucking frightening.

Anonymous said...

It does seem only a question of time before the Corporation replaces Panorama with "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Lebanon?" hosted by Graham Norton.

(Unless of course Dowdy Street TV has already snaffled the rights...)

Bob Piper said...

Yes, didn't Question Time have that dreadful nonentity cracked actor who used to be Gail Tildsley's liitle glamour boy on once. We really must stop these people thinking they've got anything to say.... unless they agree with us, of course.

Anonymous said...

The BBC is an Emotional Paper Doll.

Their motto is "dress the facts"

They neither want to entertain or inform - they want to invoke.

No matter where the crisis is or what the situation - somebody must get hurt or anguished.

Note to BBC Editor : If emotions determine priority you make hysterics of us all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Iain, glad you liked the article. I'd love to come on the programme.

Gracchi said...

The BBC has a problem more widely though. I get irritated a lot by the way that BBC presenters consider themselves more expert than experts, interrupt people and refuse to listen to answers when they are given to them. I am a beleiver in the BBC and the need for people to receive a political education but the BBC doesn't seem to be fufilling its public service role at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Question time suffers from a structural problem and will naturally drift the way of entertainment with out decision to do so. That problem is this. It tests, not the quality of the thought or argument but the ability to win a pub style argument with a quick and superficially effective response. Like many others I have spent a disturbing amount of time shouting `Oh for god’s sake that’s asinine! ` at the television only to see the barbarian in question rewarded with a good clap .Did you know that the phrase `clap trap` was originally a description of what we call today `over production` in the Jacobean Period and settled only latterly in its current generalised position . It was always negative though and was a complaint that properly satisfying drama was being replaced with bangs and whistles. Question time was clap trap in the most profound way and is only finding its inner form now.
This need to respond immediately is not confined to question time it is the stock of interviews throughout Telly Selly land and is one of the ways the political class seek to exclude the rest of us.
We who are busy acquiring the wherewithal to afford a modest life style cannot have the time to learn their book of rules for the interview, the mental crib sheet without which you are lost. Some of the wonderful English speakers of the past would have been very poor in this milieu .Winston Churchill, for example, was a bad extemporiser and would polish his meaning at a ratio of endless hour’s preparation to a single paragraph. Ken Livingstone on the other hand is a practised performer and was discovered to be a mediocrity only when he entered Parliament
Some final thoughts , this sort of forum , in that it gives you time to think before writing is a great step forward or ,as a Conservative , I should say , a step back , to proper debate

By way of cobtrast the paradoxical ease with which even a congenital cretin can learn his `survival pack` was hysterically demonstrated in the early career of Sebastian Coe. When I recall my great pleasure in listening to his barely submerged panic I find there is at least an entertainment value to the whole fraudulent imposture afer all

Grachi. I disagree, I do not have the time for a considered response so I shall simply say something like ` When Jonathan Ross get £18,000,000 from your beloved BBC and children are starving in Africa how do you sleep at night , child killer! `

Clap clap clap clap ….etc.

Anonymous said...

Should BBC Current Affairs Entertain or Inform?

Who cares? Privatise them and let me choose whether or not to be taxed to subsidise them.