Saturday, October 20, 2007

Big Bad Cuts

So the BBC announces cuts. Not surprising really. In the age of plummeting ratings across all channels money needs to be saved. What does surprise me is where the cuts are planned – news and factual.

This would be like McDonalds trying to save money by dropping hamburgers from its menu. The BBC is a world leader for news and factual content. It’s something it does best. It would make much more sense to drop TV programming that other channels can do just as well – take Strictly Come Dancing or Fame Academy for instance, ITV offer alternatives in the shape of X Factor and Dancing On Ice - both of which are just as good as the BBC shows. Same goes for all the home improvement and cookery programming – other networks provide similar content just as well.

While there are other news networks there’s something about the BBC ability to cover current affairs and live events that is just unmatched. It is this that the BBC should continue to invest in, not neglect. Same goes for it’s high quality drama. No one else, at least not in the UK, could produce the likes of Life On Mars or Doctor Who as well as Auntie does.

BBC 3 is another oddity. The Trust has pledged that BBC 3 & 4 will remain on air. Fair enough but what exactly is the point of BBC 3? It’s meant to be an entertainment channel aimed at young adults. With Dave, E4 and ITV 2 also around is BBC 3 really needed? Most of its shows end up on BBC 2 anyway. At least BBC 4 is justified by having intelligent content unmatched elsewhere.

The trust have said that more repeats will go towards saving money. Well in that case I’d suggest scrapping Three and turning it into a ‘BBC Gold’ if you will. Have that as your repeats channel with no new commissions. The money saved on shit like ‘Help Anthea, I’m Infested’ can then go towards better content on One & Two.

At least the BBC did something right this week – they’ve axed Hyperdrive, the woeful space sitcom. Daft that they’re investing in this when they’ve already got a vastly superior Sci-Fi comedy in the shape of Red Dwarf in their portfolio. Could the money saved from Hyperdrive go towards at least one more voyage of the Starbug crew? Either that or some support pants for Mr Wogan…

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