Saturday, 30 April 2011

The BBC Isn't Here To Give The Public What It Wants...

...but what it thinks is good for them:
Discussing the decision to axe BBC1's Rufus Sewell drama Zen two months ago, Cohen said: "You can't keep on doing everything if you want to bring in new things. I felt that we risked having too many male detectives and arguably we have had maybe too much crime.

He went on: "Detectives and crime is the real staple of quite a lot on the BBC but also a huge amount of ITV drama ... I want to broaden the palette a bit."
The fact that there's 'too much crime' on every channel including the ones that have to make a profit, rather than suckle on the taxpayer's teat, might tell you that that's what people want to see.

But hey, why should I give you free advice? Go make more 'Bonekickers', more 'Outcasts', if you want to continue to haemorrhage viewers...
He went on to say that he sometimes wonders about "the degree of scrutiny of the BBC" on a daily basis in newspapers and warned: "Britain would be a poorer place without the BBC, we should be careful how far we kick it."
I know just how far I'd like to kick it!

23 comments:

LeftyorRighty said...

A few dumb decisions do come from the BBC, but compared to the truly awful idea of all commercial TV and radio I'll happily keep paying the license fee.

Justified said...

Zen was a half-decent series, and infinitely better than the likes of pantomimes such as EastBenders and Waterpoo Road.

But the trouble with Zen was there was an element of corruption in it, and no doubt Al-Beeb would hate anyone to think corruption exists. They prefer more morally uplifting tales such as people shouting at each other or schools where teachers always make the right decisions and the pupils grow and glow.

But in making Zen go away they could always put yet more cookery progs on. Now that would broaden the palette: we can see yet more slebs saying, "ooh, this is delicious, you really ought to try this."

Curmudgeon said...

One of the reasons why people like crime dramas such as Lewis and Midsomer Murders (and adaptations of classic novels) is surely that they're not trying to make some political point. So much contemporary mainstream "drama" has such a blatant didactic element that it becomes almost unwatchable.

Ranter said...

Why are the BBC spending millions on an English language version of WALLANDER when there are several very good ones already made in Sweden and recently broadcast on the excellent BBC4. I enjoyed ZEN and was hoping for another series as 'JUSTIFIED' above says they waste ZILLIONS on other 'drama' - and the endless cookery bollocks too.

Macheath said...

'too many male detectives'

An odd idea - but indicative of the growing tendency to focus on the detective as a person, relegating the solution of a crime to second place at best.

Personally, I don't care whether the detective is male, female or neither (I eagerly await a TV dramatisation of Poul Anderson's 'The Martian Crown Jewels' with its stork-like alien sleuth) as long as the process of detection is intellectually challenging and I haven't worked out the twist halfway through the episode.

I suppose that puts me in a minority, but - get this, BBC - there are already plenty of angst-ridden soap-opera characters out there with 'issues' and complex private lives. It would 'broaden the palette' admirably to forget the procedurals and abnormal psychology and introduce some imagination into the genre.

'Malice Aforethought', anyone?

Mrs Erdleigh said...

Fortunately they started screening Spiral before the embargo on detectives. If it weren't for that I don't think I'd watch BBC much if at all at the moment.

English Viking said...

I'd like to kick the BBC in the head until it was dead, like a chav on crack, because it looked at my girlfriend 'funny'.

Starve the beast.

Gordo said...

Its not just the BBC people who benefit from the licence fee, there is a trickle down effect to cocaine dealers and rent boys as well.

Surely that is enough to justify putting people in prison, and shooting them if they try to escape, for failing to pay the tithe.

Captain Haddock said...

"The BBC Isn't Here To Give The Public What It Wants..."


We've known that for years .. the problem is that no-one seems to either dare, or want, to do anything about it ..

MTG said...

The BBC Isn't Here To Give The Public What It Wants..."

Perhaps that is true but so far as its early history is concerned, the Beeb is without peer. To be fair, technical direction and innovation, drama and documentary production were always high class.

Joseph Takagi said...

LeftyorRighty,

A few dumb decisions do come from the BBC, but compared to the truly awful idea of all commercial TV and radio I'll happily keep paying the license fee.

I think you're living in the past. Compared to what's coming out of the US, the BBC's output is pretty average.

Uncle Badger said...

I scan a week ahead at a time, rarely finding more than a single BBC 1 programme in seven days that is worth watching.

The Left loves it, of course - as well they might: it exists to promote their worldview, thinly cloaked as entertainment, like strychnine pills wrapped in cheap chocolate.

Captain Haddock said...

Its rare that I find myself in accord with Melvin (MTG) ..

But I have to agree, that at one time (and certainly within my memory span) the BBC could be relied upon to be scrupulously impartial, truthful, balanced & authoritative in its reporting of World & Home events ..

But those were the days before the Corporation was massively & fatally infected by the Left & its warped credo ..

Anonymous said...

So if you don't like it don't watch it. Yes there is a TV tax but that isn't justified even if the BBC does give the "public" what it wants

Lorenzo said...

@ LeftyorRighty

Paying for the BBC just because the alternatives are considered truly awful, is like paying to have a disease because you consider other diseases worse. You could take the no diseases at all choice, a revelation.

JuliaM said...

"...but compared to the truly awful idea of all commercial TV and radio..."

You really think that nothing on commercial tv (here, US, European) can match the Beeb's output? Really?

You need to stay in some more!

"But the trouble with Zen was there was an element of corruption in it..."

I wonder if they were offered, and turned down, the concept script for 'The Shield'..? ;)

Which reminds me, I picked up 'Between The Lines' season 1 on DVD. Must watch it again.

"So much contemporary mainstream "drama" has such a blatant didactic element that it becomes almost unwatchable."

Agreed. There are ways to get your message across in a way that doesn't seem like pulpit-banging, but few at the Beeb seem to have mastered it.

"Why are the BBC spending millions on an English language version of WALLANDER when there are several very good ones already made in Sweden..."

Why to Hollywood see fit to do the same, even with hit films? 'Let The Right One In' springs to mind.

JuliaM said...

"An odd idea - but indicative of the growing tendency to focus on the detective as a person, relegating the solution of a crime to second place at best."

It's the cult of 'the star'.

"Fortunately they started screening Spiral before the embargo on detectives. "

I haven't watched that yet, must catch up. I find so much of my viewing is US series now.

"Perhaps that is true but so far as its early history is concerned, the Beeb is without peer. To be fair, technical direction and innovation, drama and documentary production were always high class."

And they still do good stuff. But they try to emulate the commercial channels far too much.

"I scan a week ahead at a time, rarely finding more than a single BBC 1 programme in seven days that is worth watching. "

I'm struggling to think of one I've watched, really watched and thoroughly enjoyed, in the last 7 days. Even 'Dr Who' seems to be a disappointment lately...

JuliaM said...

Admittedly, though, US remakes of UK series are not always of lesser quality; the US version of 'Touching Evil' was vastly superior to the UK version of it, in every way.

But that's about the only example I can think of! Anyone got any more?

Dave H said...

"Britain would be a poorer place without the BBC..."

That's arguable. Without doubt Britain's licence fee-payers would collectively be well over £3000000000 richer.

Dave H said...

(just read through the comments. Malice Aforethought? Was that Hywell Bennett as Dr Bickley (?)'Yes. I didn't do it.' He didn't either. How bothersome to commit a perfect murder and avoid justice, only to be hanged for an accidental death that you weren't responsible for.

I liked 'We, the Accused' as well.)

(WV=perishes. You couldn't make it...)

David Gillies said...

When I was in England a few weeks back all I saw on TV was "Britain's Best Dish" (which is very, very tolerable 'cos there was some top grub and both Jilly Goolden and Mary Nightingale are fit as all buggery) and "Lewis" the plot of which if I were locked up in Guantánamo Bay with my bollocks in a vise I could not recall in detail. It had some monks, I think. To be fair, I was absolutely bladdered, but then I'm absolutely bladdered most nights and I can generally remember if I've seen an episode of NCIS or Covert Affairs and even what happened.

Curmudgeon said...

Jilly Goolden fit as buggery?!

You must have been bladdered...

JuliaM said...

"Malice Aforethought? Was that Hywell Bennett as Dr Bickley (?)"

Yup!

"...and I can generally remember if I've seen an episode of NCIS or Covert Affairs and even what happened."

'Covert Affairs'? That seems to be one I've missed, but it looks pretty good from the TV.Com write-up. I'll have to take a look.