A researcher writes 

26 February 2004 tbs.pm/677

Mass Observation through the years

Typically, I find my evening taken up with researching for future Transdiffusion projects. Tonight, it’s the turn of Sean Day-Lewis’s (ed) 1989 book “One Day In The Life Of Television” for the BFI (ISBN 0-246-13424-0).

And on page 196 I fall over at this diary entry for 1 November 1988:

“If I had the power to change things on television I would scrap programmes like World In Action, Panorama and anything to do with Margaret Thatcher or any other politician. I would do this as all these things are boring, and are aimed mainly at an adult audience. I would also include more comedies and more sport, especially football. I would introduce different channels for different tastes…”

Donald MacVicar, aged 13, Paible Secondary School, North Uist, Western Isles

So that explains it – for the past 16 years, government and regulator policy on television has been entirely based on the ignorant musings of a 13-year-old boy in the far-flung corners of this brown and septic isle.

Somehow, I find this comforting. After all, before now I’d thought that broadcasting policy in Westminster was entirely random. At least there’s actually a process after all.

But given that this boy is now 28, perhaps they’ll be needing someone to replace him (assuming, of course, that government doesn’t have an endless supply of 13-year-olds to decide policy. Yes, I know, it doesn’t seem likely, but the policies must be coming from somewhere).

So if you’re an adolescent who can’t see the bigger picture (well, that’s all of them, but you can narrow down the list by fighting amongst yourselves) feel free to offer your services to the DCMS – use their feedback form and expect a better reception than anyone who has ever watched television for any reason has got so far from this Culture-free culture department.

Just don’t write to me. I don’t give a stuff. And I was also 13 in 1988, by the way.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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