Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The BBC's Odd Sense of Priorities

The estimable Glen O'Glaza from Sky News tells THIS little tale on the Boulton Blog...
When Chris Huhne launched his Lib Dem leadership bid, our cameraman took the
trouble to count the number of BBC people present. There were TWELVE of them.
Sky and ITN had three each. Nuff said.

Well, not quite enough. Although I do think there are efficiency savings to be made in BBC News & Current Affairs (as, incidentally, do many people I know who work there), I find it incredible that a public service broadcaster, funded by the taxpayer, is making more cuts in news and documentaries than in any other area. Sure, reduce the duplication. No one could possibly disagree with that. But the BBC needs to rediscover what it is for. It is there to provide a public service. Perhaps we, the public, need to help them do that by making clear what we expect of the BBC and what we do not.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Iain,

The BBC like all Soviet type state/nationalised industries seem to get the 'service' part the wrong way round! Instead of "the BBC to serve the people" it becomes "the people to serve the BBC"!
The BBC has become a gravytrain employment club for socialists/leftists and nothing more! They have a surplus of "executives" that would shame the Cuban media!

Anonymous said...

The BBC wishes to be to the EUSSR what PRAVDA was to the USSR.

Anonymous said...

to be fair you spend enough time bashing the BBC and then, when the effect of yours and others constant criticism comes to fruition you are the first person to turn around and blame them! Completely ignoring the fact that a less than inflation rise in the licence fee, that you were probably in favour of, has reduced their ability to provide the very service you claim is their purpose!

Anonymous said...

This is a man overwhelmed by his sense of self-importance.

He tells the Lib Dems what to do, he tells the BBC what to do, he tells the government what to do.

He thoroughly approves of Sky, but then they pay him money.

Anonymous said...

Ffs get to a party conference, there's dozens from the BBC all swanning about doing bugger all. They then send reporters to sports events where they have a full team of commentators. Scrap the licence and give them a small grant to cover public affairs. It's a vote winner and helps the poorest families and gets rid of public servants and frees up court time.

Anonymous said...

Dear annon(BBC commisar?),

What planet are you on? cos it aint Earth thats for sure! "less than inflation"? The BBC cant make ends meet with a guaranteed income of nearly SIX BILLION POUNDS? so overcrowded with nonjobs and political cronies you can hardly move inside BBC HQ! Packed with so many useless channels that nobody watches AND still the BBC commisars want to waste money on new channels that nobody wants or needs! An Iranian news channel? who's bright idea was that then? BBC3 filled with cut rate and down market filth? how many "executives" did it take to think that one up? Constant one sided NULAB/socialist/greenpeace propaganda shoved down peoples throats? Got a direct line to NULAB HQ have you? HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of pounds wasted on grandiose socialist plans and Marxist visions all payed for by an enforced polltax? and you have the nerve to post your drivel here?
May I suggest you get a life and a real job?(in any order you so choose)

Anonymous said...

They could start by not paying massively overblown salaries to celebs such as Jonathan Ross at 18 million over three yrs. That should save a few jobs//// and reduce the license fee...

BJ said...

Iain. I've said it before, and will say it again.

ITN and Sky have one rolling news channel and three TV bulletins (on ITV, C4, and Five) between them. They don't have two national and upwards of forty regional/local radio stations to serve as well.

There are certainly efficiencies to be found, even in BBC News. Most of my colleagues recognise that. We're like you, though, Iain. We think the bosses are making the wrong cuts.

As for "Socialists/Leftists"... I can think of one BBC journalist who has become a Tory press officer in the last twelve months, and another who was rejected for Andy Coulson's job with the Conservatives because he was too close to David Davis!

Scipio said...

If the BBC didn't pay pillocks like Johnathan Ross £18 million pounds, we wouldn't have this problem.

Ultimately, the BBC is self serving, not public serving!

Scipio said...

BJ, is it not possible to take footage and then syndicate it to the regions? ITN have regions and they syndicate, and they usually share OB crews with SKY?

Iain Dale said...

BJ, on your latter point I know who you are referring to but I think you might have got the wrong end of the stick. I understood he was approached but preferred to stay put. If your version is correct I am afraid I may be the one to blame because Kevin Maguire wrote a story during the leadership contest that I had offered him the job of DD's Head of Communications if DD had won. It was, of course, total bollocks, as is usual with most of Mr Maguire's rantings about the Tory Party - love him dearly, as I do.

BJ said...

Adrian: Yes, the BBC regions have a small team of political hacks whose job is to provide them with bespoke material (stories about foot and mouth go down better on Radio Norfolk than Radio Merseyside, for example)

Iain: I'd only heard the subject about which you talk as a well-sourced rumour. But I hope it proves my point. A bit, anyway.

BJ said...

Oh, and the Beeb pools film crews with Sky and ITN all the time. But it does like to get exclusive interviews from time to time.

Anonymous said...

What I object to about the BBC (OK amongst other things like its left-wing bias) is the level of nepotism which goes on there.
I mean Mike Sergeant is good, but isn't it a bit of a coincidence that his father is John Sergeant?
Similarly Dan and Peter Snow.
The Eakin family.
The Dimbleby family.
The Beurck family.
Not saying these people aren't good, but there is a mass of budding journalists out there without family contacts, which you would have thought the right-on BBC would in all its diversity have given a chance to.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

They have just had some tit on Newsnight who was billed as a former controller of BBC three. He was bleating on about how the BBC should cater for youf. Well, youf does not pay the TV clucking licence you duckbottling pan-faced embryo. (real swearing is not allowed on here).

Jeff Randal looked as though he was about to throttle him.

As for news, Randall made the point that flagship News programmes have a comparatively small budget - Newsnight and Today combined cost less than Jonathan Ross.

The tit referred to Ross as top talent and an entertainer. Is this the same Jonathan Ross who asked Cameron if he wanked over a picture of Thatcher? Does he provide a publice service and if so, in quality terms, how does it differ from a five-quid prozzie?

Anonymous said...

A mere 2,000, or so, potential redundancies suggests that the REMF's rear ends are still firmly ensconced in their corporation chairs.

Unless we see redundancy figures in the range of 10,000+ of non frontline personnel, it is reasonable to assume that there is but mere tinkering around the edges of the problem.

John Trenchard said...

the bbc has 46 local radio stations that nobody listens to.

well in my local area i've yet to hear a barbershop or taxi driver playing the local BBC station. they always go for the local privately owned one.

John Trenchard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

As far as I can see the BBC has given up reporting the news and replaced it with comment pieces. The more senior the reporter, the more they oppose the assumption that reporters should simply convey known facts, because this undermines their vision of themselves as educators.

They are (mostly) not so stupid to believe that we do not notice this, but they are convinced that a ‘just society’ ought to redistribute wealth from those who earn it to those (which just so happen to be themselves) who know best how it should be spent.

A favourite theme of their sermons (which they call news) is the claim that tax funded bureaucracies such as themselves (the expression they use is “public services”) are always better than services where the consumer decides.

You have to agree that the BBC has been very successful in getting people to believe this manifest untruth, even though they do not even pretend that the BBC redistributes money from the rich to the poor. I suppose BBC journalists telling us how much they care about the lower orders reconciles them to the fact that these very same lower orders are forced to spend a higher than average percentage of their income on funding BBC employees.

John Trenchard said...

"There are certainly efficiencies to be found, even in BBC News. Most of my colleagues recognise that. "

TWELVE cameramen to cover one Liberal non-entity? come on mate - did nobody ever stand back and just go "maybe we're over egging it here"????? it seems to me that the BBC has no sense whatsoever about what "expense" is. A cold shower of privatisation is whats required.

its utterly ridiculous and it's at the taxpayer expense. its about bloody time that gravy train is over.

if anything the 2000 cuts are too little - the BBC should be privatised and learn how to stand on its own two feet in the market, rather than being a parasite socialist mouthpiece.

18 MILLION for that vile idiot Jonathan Woss??? I wonder how many Michael Palin documentaries you could make for that?

The BBC has to be privatised and learn about this certain thing called the "market" that the rest of us operate in.

John Trenchard said...

"As far as I can see the BBC has given up reporting the news and replaced it with comment pieces."

the last time they had a strike they had to replace the 6 o clock "news" with a single non-entity newsreader just reading out the news. no spin. no opinion. just the facts. no celeb Kerplunksy nonsense.

and it was better!

Anonymous said...

I don't know if its changed much, but I know of a BBC sports cameraman who lived in East Sheen and covered the rugby at Twickenham, for which he got a subsistence allowance and extra money for weekend working away from home.

(We are talking about a distance of about two miles from home)

Come on. The game is up.

Johnny Norfolk said...

The BBC is out of control. The unions are too powerful. It has broken its charter by having its own left wing political agenda.

I hope these changes are the begining of the end of the BBC as we know it. It is far to concerned with minority groups and single issues.

If I had the choice I would not pay a penny to the BBC.

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of the BBC's output has nothing to do with me. I never watch the children's programmes, the stupid reality programmes, Strictly Come Dancing or dodgy period dramas. For that reason alone, I could object that I shouldn't be forced to pay the licence fee.

On the other hand, I find Newsnight and This Week are two of the best political programmes around. I listen to 5 Live and Radio 4 pretty regularly. I use the BBC website a lot. I like watching Match of the Day (apart from last night).

So all in all, I'm more than getting my money's worth. Can you honestly say the same doesn't apply to you?

(And I don't actually think it's a bad thing if, for example, Newsnight and Newsround have two separate camera crews at a news event - they're obviously going to be taking very different angles.)

Anonymous said...

Well said Johnny Norfolk ! Oh for the days when you switched the BBC on wheter radio or TV for NEWS - not some tarty female batting her eyelids and waving her arms as she trots out the latest PC version of the world according to the BBC .

Anonymous said...

Savings could be made by axing the department that produces the endlessly repeated advertisements that everyone hates. And amusing though they are, BBC2 doesn't need to pay millions of pounds to an ad agency to get a new logo every couple of weeks. And Alan Yentob should be stopped from lining his pockets at the expense of the BBC. And if managers and editors want to talk to each other at smart restaurants rather than a room at TVC then they should pay for their own meals. And they should discontinue the practice of supplying free taxis and chauffeur-driven cars to all and sundry. And if senior staff want a nice car they should buy it themselves not have it supplied free. None of these things have anything to do with programme making.

I also saw Murphy the ex-controller of BBC3 on Newsnight. He said children stopped watching tv at 15 and the BBC had to woo back the 15 to 25 year olds . Somebody should tell him that 15 to 25 year olds have never watched tv. Its the age when they start going out and doing things their parents disapprove of. The BBC is not doing society a service by making them stay at home gawping at the telly every night. They just need one programme - like Top of the Pops before it became PC and unwatchable - to watch before they go out.

David Lindsay said...

The BBC could never be privatised. As with the railways, the only deal that would ever be politically acceptable would be one in which the profits of one or more supposedly private companies were guaranteed by public subsidies. That's not privatisation. Is it? The railways should never have been subjected to this, and nor should the BBC be.

Instead, elect the Trustees. In Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and each of the nine English regions (I know, I know - but what other unit could you reasonably suggest), licence-payers should each vote for up to one candidate, with the top two elected to serve a four-year term. There would also be a Chairman, appointed by the Secretary of State with the approval of the House of Commons.

The Trustees would meet in public under any circumstance when a local council would do so. And the candidates would be sufficiently independent to qualify in principle for the Remuneration Panels of their local authorities.

I don't think there'd be too much F*** Off, I'm A Hairy Woman then, would there?

This pattern should also be applied, with everyone having a vote, to Ofcom, to the Press Complaints Commission, and to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, just for a start.

Alex said...

I get my money's worth from the BBC, but then I've never had a TV, so I don't pay for a license.

Anonymous said...

Who asked the beeb to bid up the price of American soaps, create Eastenders, have two pop music channels (which always leads to corruption) millions of web pages.? Nobody. It's out of control.It cannot fill a half hour local news programme. Why don't they all share foreign offices? Ban poitless outside broadcasts (usually outside empty Whitehall offices ot the Palace) How many reports have you seen or heard from South America or Africa this week?
On a lighter note I thought Randall was going to explode on Newsnight, very funny and why do I always want to kick Kevin McQuire? Is it just me?

Unknown said...

They should scrap BBC3 and redistribute any of their good comedies between BBC2 and BBC4.

CBeebies and CBBC should merge into one channel.

They should offer a choice levels of Lincense fee - similar to the sky packages. Basic (BBC 1 and 2), Advanced (+ CBBC, BBC4 and NEWS24) and all-inclusive and interactive(Everthing plus internet programming)!

Get rid of BBC Parliament and slim down on the duplicate reporting of news.

David Lindsay said...

"Get rid of BBC Parliament"?


roadrunner said...

Scrap BBC3 and 4 scrap the IPOD nonsense then they would have enough original shows to fill the time without inflicting even more repeats on the captive taxpayer license fee,or better still scrap the license fee and make the BBC exist in the real world.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Chris Goodman's comment is spot on, beginning:

"As far as I can see the BBC has given up reporting the news and replaced it with comment pieces"

I will addd that these "comment pieces" are also affected by the tone of delivery, which unlike that old days when the news was delievered very dead pan, very measured and precise, it has the presenters beaming with joy when the subject fits their agenda and gurning with disgust when they do not.

I find the mock tones of sympathy and concern about minorities particularly nauseating and lately the coverage of environmental issues comes right out of the Goebbels handbook and no longer measures up to intellectual rigour. Still, on the latter, they aren't into intelligent discourse, just pushing a very tired agenda.

The arguments are against them: Jonathan Ross trotted out as a pardigm of class entertainment, objective reporting, minority programming, etc, etc. They are so delusional that they really believe in their own propaganda.

I hope for the demise of the BBC and the exhtortion and blackmail practiced upon us licence fee payers.

Anonymous said...

bj writes:
"As for "Socialists/Leftists"... I can think of one BBC journalist who has become a Tory press officer in the last twelve months, and another who was rejected for Andy Coulson's job with the Conservatives because he was too close to David Davis!"

Phew, thank God for that!
Two Conservatives at the BBC.
Who now dare say that they are all Guardianistas?

Anonymous said...

Al-beeb doesn't need privatising, it needs scrapping.

poohbear had it right at the start:
"The BBC has become a gravytrain employment club for socialists/leftists and nothing more!"

This week, just for fun, the Today programme have been off on a freebie holiday to China. Back home the beeb parasites are slagging off people made unemployed by the foreign immigrants Al-beeb loves.

Here's hoping the unions will shut the place down. Permanently.

Unsworth said...


What we expect of the BBC is to provide a decent service at a carefully controlled cost. Sending four news teams to a press conference is completely profligate and is a clear demonstration of the over-resourcing prevalent within the BBC.

Each one of those teams will have cost and it's doubtful that any one of them will have a different story from their colleagues.

They should be asked how and why it was decided that so many crews should turn up at the same venue.

And while we're at it - why has 'news' on all BBC channels become some sort of gameshow entertainment?

Anonymous said...


I managed to speak to a BBC representative about this.

Not just any representative as you will see!


Unknown said...

Oh I think Sky are quite withing their rights to comment about the over duplication of News Crews.
When do we ever see any of the high earners when there's a holiday they all manage to negotiate to never work Christmas and have all the private school half term holidays off,that's a lot and for some to still make million a year -try doing the sums.

Those days should have gone it resembles an *Upstairs Downstairs mentality* BBC does need to change this style of broadcasting as a psb.