The licence fee. Again 

8 March 2004

MediaGuardian gives an old story a new(ish) twist

This story about the ICM/Panorama poll appeared on the BBC website last week but has predictably resurfaced, though comments from Sir David Attenborough along with some predictable BBC-bashing has given this old tale a new lease of life. Basically I can see both sides of the argument; the BBC’s point of view for being more populist in order to try and justify the existence of the licence fee to the greatest possible number of people, and the opposite viewpoint that says that the BBC is no longer distinctive enough from the commercial competition as a result with too many bland and indistinctive ‘lifestyle’ shows being scheduled during peak time.

Ignoring all the side issues relating to programming types, at the end of the day the main issue seems to be quality versus quantity. My opinion is that the BBC needs to consider quality before quantity and may have to take unprecedented steps greater than just forcing Greg Dyke to resign (eg. reducing its TV broadcasting hours) in order to achieve this goal.

Put bluntly, if the BBC doesn’t make such sacrifices the Government will probably make other and potentially far more damaging sacrifices on its own (partly politically-motivated) terms.

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