This has to be one of the better rants for keeping the BBC licence fee.
Broken TV starts off with a defence of BBC4 but by the end is just defending the BBC as a whole. And deservedly so.
We’ve long held the (possibly misguided) notion that BBC Four is the very last outpost of British television where the right people can happily be given a budget and a timeslot, and be told “go off and make something” without being followed by a swarm of middle-managers who prod the talent with sticks while hissing “can we skew younger?”, “can we get Mickey Flanagan in here somewhere, I owe his agent a favour”, or “this play about Shakespeare is all very worthy, but I don’t like Shakespeare. Can it all be about him being shit?” It’s the BBC of the Radiophonic Workshop, of a thirteen-part series being made because of something Barry Took said in the BBC bar, of half-hour sitcoms lasting for thirty-four minutes because that’s how long it needs to be – or as close as it can be in the era of credit-squeezing and logo guidelines.
In short, if BBC Four were a person, it’d be Alessandro Del Piero taking part in an under-12s football match, and it’s time for him to have his bootlaces tied together to give everyone else a chance.
So, what are the alternatives to clipping BBC Four’s wings? People on Twitter seem to have come up with a few ideas, though they don’t really hold up to much scrutiny.
“JUST CLOSE BBC THREE INSTEAD! I DON’T LIKE IT, SO I’M HAPPY FOR IT TO CLOSE.”
A popular opinion, but one we’d have to disagree with. Yes, it’s full of shows called JAMES CORDEN’S WELL GOOD FUCK OFF I’M GINGER AND WAHEY LADS SHAGGING EH SHOW or whatever, and despite making huge amounts of original content most people only watch EastEnders repeats and Family Guy, but there is an audience for it.
One of the reasons we stopped liking Harry Hill quite as much is down to a recent interview on Five Live, he was asked why TV Burp had stopped poking fun at BBC Three’s Freaky Eaters. His reply was along the lines of “it’s awful, that’s why. And I’m paying for it!” Well, sorry to break this to you Harry. The people who watch BBC Three pay their licence fee, too. They’re paying for the things they like, you’re paying for the things you like. Oddly, considering “young people are always moaning, they don’t know how lucky they are!”, we never really hear fans of Spendaholics complaining about how their licence fee pays for coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show or Countryfile, but when the Beeb sent a team off the Glasto to capture around sixty hours of entertainment for less than the price of two hours drama, it’s as if the ghost of Sir Hugh Greene is sneaking into the houses of Daily Mail readers and rifling through their handbags.
And on it goes. It also contains a method for watching TV without a licence, for all those whingy, whiney fuckers. Well worth a read.