According to the Herald, the new BBC late night politics show for the referendum, billed as “cheeky and fun”, has so far been a bit of a disaster. It seems that Scots may have been a bit insulted by its lack of gravitas.
Did the BBC think that a London presenter, and daughter of much loved
Labour leader, the late John Smith, would encourage unionist loyalty?
The show was first broadcast on Tuesday night with a not unreasonable viewing figure of 89,000, which they reckon to be 8% of the Scottish audience. (I’ve no idea how they work that figure out, because if 89,000 = 8%, then on rough calculations 1% would be 11,100 and the total potential audience 1,110,000. So, given a Scottish population of around 5.3 million, I am guessing that there must be a standard calculation for working out potential viewers at different times of the day, or for different styles of programming, or that they count one television = one viewer.)
However it is calculated (any explanations of the system used would be appreciated), it remains a fact that the audience on Wednesday had dropped to 53,000, and on Thursday a mere 22,000 (or 2%) watched the programme.
To be fair STV’s late night political programme viewership decreased as the week went on. Tuesday 166,000, Wednesday 107,000 and Thursday 89,000, so we might conclude that as the week moves on people have other things to do with their late evenings, or perhaps that there was better, more exciting programming on one of the many other channels that even Freeview provides.
Nonetheless, the BBC lost 75% of its viewers over three days, whereas STV lost only around 50%... and by the end of the week had the number of viewers that the BBC had started with.
Not being a watcher of television as a rule, I saw none of the shows on either channel, so I can’t make a personal comment, but the Herald’s own commentators seem to feel that the show was dumbed down ( someone compared it to “The One Show”); that it was biased (they invited the most senior UK politician in Scotland (his own description), one Daniel Alexander, to give a case for NO, and there was no similar representative from YES), and it didn't go without notice that the presenter had been imported from London, and was the daughter of one time UK Labour, John Smith, the memory of whom David Cameron has been trotting out in his efforts to stop independence.
TV licence detection is now run by Capita
(or CRAPIA, as Private Eye would have them).
Never, regardless of your licence situation, let these people
over your doorstep. Unless accompanied by police,
they have no right of entry.
Once again it begs some questions:
In the days of multichannel possibilities, is the licence fee a reasonable way to fund the BBC?
Is it necessary to have a state broadcaster at all?
If it is, is it necessary to have such a massive organisation with so many tv channels, radio stations and such a high internet presence?
Should it not be drastically slimmed down so that people who don’t watch it, or watch it very rarely, don’t have to pay £145 a year for the privilege of having a tv set in their homes?
Could not modern technology find a way of turning off the BBC signal to televisions in homes of people who do not wish to receive it?
And, if we must have a state broadcaster, if it must be bigger than any other organisation, if it must cost so much to run, and if technology can’t block BBC signals, couldn't we demand that the organisation be forced (by law and under strict observation by a regulator) to be absolutely apolitical and unbiased?
Commercial organs of the press have the right to print any kind of material, be it biased, dumbed down, moronic, or whatever. You and I have the right not to buy the paper version or read the content online. In other words we have don’t have to pay for it.
With the BBC, if we find it biased and not to our taste for any reason, we can refuse to watch it or listen to it, but we are still obliged by law, under pain of imprisonment, to pay an annual £145, (or whatever sum the English Cabinet Secretary for Culture decides) to have a tv set capable of receiving it in the house.
That’s plain wrong.
Appropriate time to remind you of this event which Cynical Highlander highlighted yesterday. You might like to go along if you are in Glasgow.