The British Broadcasting Corporation

Shall we start this from scratch?

If you’re unfamiliar or a little hazy on the BBC, have a look here : BBC - Wikipedia

It’s fair to say that the BBC is respected around the world as an example of reasonably impartial state run media. Throughout its life it’s had its ups and downs however as a creator of content, a news outlet, a cultural champion and a shining light of what the UK can actually do when it gets things right, the BBC is unparalleled.

I think many of us on here are of an age where we remember the childrens’ classics. Blue Peter, Swap Shop, Why Don’t You (in the holidays) and countless more. We then grew into the true and eternal classics of Fawlty Towers, Black Adder, Fools and Horses, Python, Red Dwarf etc etc etc. Brilliant content which was wide ranging and covered so many interests in life. Antiques Roadshow, Gardeners World etc. Floyd on Food was one of the things that got me into cooking (quite a thin chap as I remember) so the reach and impact of this organisation cannot be understated. Radio 4 kept me sane (HA!) for many years driving crazy miles round the country, thanks Mrs Trellis and Brian Aldridge. The Moral Maze was a superb program but then the afternoon plays were always dreadful. Light and shade I guess.

Sports were a huge part of the BBC’s repertoire when we were kids, Grandstand was the showpiece but with so many others sadly now passed. MOTD being the big one these days with the odd FA Cup game and brilliant coverage of the big events, Euros and World Cup and outside football, Olympics and Commonwealth Games. I wouldn’t play cricket were it not for TMS. Their enthusiasm for the game made me pick up a bat and ball and well, it’s a big part of my life now. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both Henry Blofelt and Jonathan Agnew, splendid fellows, every inch the gentlemen they sound.

So, to business. The BBC can’t win. It will always be attacked for being biased one way or another. Of course, other methods of criticism are available. If you consume BBC products, you know exactly what I mean. They do almost trip over themselves to be as inclusive as possible. It’s particularly entertaining in the run-up to an election where you can almost see the chess clock going to make sure everybody gets their allotted time.

Right, I’m biased. Sorry, that should read I’m biased right. I also acknowledge (as should we all) that confirmation bias is a very real thing. We all count the hits and ignore the misses. Those of us who’ve been married for many years have also learned to ignore the missus. I watch very little new BBC content. Aside from MOTD, Dr Who and the odd series that perks my interest, I know nothing of TV programming and content. Maybe somebody could shed some light on current directions and agendas?

I’ll not re-hash this, a good and seemingly well rounded assessment I thought:

So what do we all think? Is the BBC as balanced and fair as it can be? The recent Gary L situation certainly showed that the government can still pull the reigns when it wants to. Does that mean the BBC is a conservative lap dog or just that it knows full well on which side its bread is buttered? Would it be any different under a Labour government? I doubt it and I don’t think I’d criticise it for it. Ultimately he who pays the piper calls the tune. Yes we all pay a license fee (those who live in the UK) and the organisation should be utterly impartial but that has never and will never happen. One could argue that if the BBC were not such a bunch of Lefties, they’d have stood up to the government but obviously if they were, they wouldn’t. No question from me that the PM can affect the BBC, that’s a very bad thing. But it is understandable.

I’ll never understand money spent on local radio though, that’s just bonkers IMHO. And Radio 3, really?

Over to you gang. BTW, please read what I’ve said, not what you think I mean.


Any TV broadcaster which shows repeats and celebrity versions of shit shows at weekends, that are already on 5 days a week is fucking awful.

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I got a telegram once from the BBC with a job offer while I was living in a squat in Elephant and Castle. Granted it was only to work in the canteen in Bush House , but still I often wonder where it might have led. :thinking:


OK, I think that is a reasonable summary of your opinions. In terms of whether the BBC would favour a Labour government if in power, I think there is a tendency for it to lead with the line of the government of the day but that doesn’t mean that it is necessarily biased, just that it will start with what the government is actually doing and then give the opposition response.

As a public service broadcaster, as opposed to a state broadcaster, they have a duty to be impartial. That means giving due weight to opposing views but due weight is not the same as equivalence. Neither is there any obligation not to dismiss things that are lies or distortions of the truth whether these are given from government or opposition sources.

It’s possibly worth considering what public service broadcasting should entail. UNSECO pretty much
adopted the British model which has been used successfully elsewhere. I found the following bullet points as to the guiding principles:

  • Universal geographic accessibility
  • Universal appeal
  • Attention to minorities
  • Contribution to national identity and sense of community
  • Distance from vested interests
  • Direct funding and universality of payment
  • Competition in good programming rather than numbers
  • Guidelines that liberate rather than restrict

You also need to ask why public service broadcasting is required. Essentially, as the name suggests, this is to serve the public. Partly based on those principles above but also to ensure that there is a trusted source for information that can be entirely relied on. Without that trust, it’s a free-market for every grifter, fraudster and wild conspiracy theorist to be given free-reign.

You might say that with the advent of multiple entertainment and news-feeds that it isn’t required anymore, but having a universally trusted and reliable source of news and information is more needed than ever.


You missed out ‘Til death us do part’…

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I did have a brief secondment with the BBC around 2012 when they were moving to Salford and preparing for the Olympics. TBH it was a bit of a beano at times.

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:rofl: What the heck is the difference?? If your impartiality is based on where the funding comes from, then you are by definition partial. And btw, if we had a Labour government, I don’t think there would be bias for Labour, at least not initially. There are far too many Tory stooges at the BBC who have real links to the Tory party like Laura and all the head honchos who have funding links to the Tory party. If Labour were in government, would they have the power to intervene in whether news and political presenters with Tory links get to stay? We’d have to see whether they would follow in the Tory party’s footsteps in influencing the BBC. I would hope not as IMO the BBC should have full autonomy which it currently doesn’t.

I personally absolutely abhorr the argument that ‘the BBC is hated by the left and the right so therefore they must be doing something right and demonstrates they are impartial’. Its fucking pathetic. It doesn’t take into account that those on the right who think the BBC are lefties are the type that somehow, after all this, still think ‘Brexit was a good idea and but just with a poor implementation by the present government (who most want Boris back)’. These are what I would call the extreme right. They aren’t reflecting the centre-right which makes up the majority of ‘conservatives’ in the UK.

My problem with the BBC probably started when they turned the story of the EU rejecting AstraZeneca in the elderly due to lack of clinical evidence on efficacy in the elderly (IMO I can understand the EU needing to follow their typical rigid process even though a global pandemic probably requires some flexibility) into a story of UK nationalism (circling the wagons around AZ - ‘an attack on AZ is an attack on Britain!!’). They played on the country’s emotions. It was straight out of the Tory playbook and almost every UK citizen lapped it up without so much as a question. There was top to bottom coverage of this, even from those I had previously respected like Ros Atkins now willing to toe the (Tory) party line.

Probably since that point I actually use them as comparator to Guardian stories. I like to check Guardian stories (because they are a lefty paper) against BBC to see how the story is unfolding from a Tory perspective. I think that demonstrates how far they have fallen in my eyes. Not much respect or time for them. Weirdly I never really even got into all the old BBC shows that @klopptimist adores, which is strange from an Australian because Aussies in general are absolutely nuts for BBC TV content, but it’s never appealed to me.


Theoretically the existence of the BBC enables a news division that is free from commercial pressures, something that is a constant threat to undermining the integrity of any other news source. Of course, that doesnt mean they are free from other pressures that result in eroding faith in their coverage

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It’s going to be a long twelve days until the Manchester City match.


Usually we would have already turned on eachother so threads about BBC is progress.

It should also allow it to resist political pressures. A problem that the BBC has is that it requires a periodic charter renewal which gives undue power to the government of the day. Partly, this is also a problem with the UK having no written constitution which effectively allows for major areas to simply be made up as they go along.

It’s quite interesting living in Germany because the broadcasting system was largely set up by Hugh Greene who was later the director general of the BBC. It’s very similar in structure but far more regionally based.

Interestingly, the first Chancellor of West Germany, Adenauer, accused it of being too close to the opposition SPD party (essentially, the German Labour party) and set up a rival public service network (similar to how Channel 4 was created in the UK). Because of the way the German federal constitution was worded this rather blew up in his face as it was the state governments that gained control of it.

From what I have seen, German broadcasting is independent, factual and largely unbiased. There are commercial channels as well and I am somewhat less trusting of them for news output. However, overall I think they are getting something right - at least Hugh Greene did when he applied the principles of the BBC to a new country.

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And people say I say some ridiculous things at times…

:joy: :joy:


Were not going back to gay bakers and fat angels again, are we?

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Clean slate.


I grew up with the sort of BBC that Klopptimist describes. I wish we had something like it in the States. With money and vested interests running the show over here, I can’t help but escape the feeling that the population of America, on the whole, is one of the least savvy media consumers in the world.

The implications of that are quite stark, for elections, public policy, and all manner of other things, perhaps even touching on global security.

The idea of having a publicly funded go to, such as the BBC, really resonates. On the other side of that, it should be accountable for delivering what it is supposed to deliver.

I could be a dinosaur, but I don’t think the BBC should have so much fluff in its programming. Leave that to the commercial channels.

The BBC should have a small core of things it delivers, with news reporting prominent among them, and those things should be world class, and impartiality should be a given.

If the offerings are too broad, the quality won’t be as good, and the difference to other commercial outlets won’t be as stark, and at that point I would imagine the calls to scrap the funding model would grow.

I can’t really comment on whether or not the BBC is unbiased, as I don’t live in the UK any more. It is probably more unbiased than most, globally speaking, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be better.

Tighten the programming, do less, but do it better, and hit the reset button with whatever necessary reforms are required so the public is satisfied that it is apolitical.

It was a jewel when I was growing up. If these days it is tarnished, polish it and make it fit for purpose for the modern age.

The concept is laudable, and as I said, I wish they had something like it here in the States. (There is PBS, but it is a fringe thing, by comparison).

I listen to Radio 2 quite frequently, and I am pissed off that Ken Bruce has gone! Occasionally I would have it going in my office, doing other stuff, and I would hush people when the quirky Pop Master music came on :joy:

Most people here didn’t get it, but it was important to me!


You, me and half the country.

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What do you mean by “fluff” programming? If you just mean mass appeal stuff, you do want to have some of that so that people will tune in. It’s also possible to have general entertainment programmes that are unique or wouldn’t be made in the same manner elsewhere. For example, they do high-brow quiz shows such as University Challenge, Mastermind and Only Connect which don’t have cash prizes but are distinct against commercial rivals (The Chase, for example).


Or man with a purse … :innocent:

Just had a look at what they’re showing this Saturday.
Homes Under the Hammer.
Bargain Hunt.
Money For Nothing.
Escape to the Country.
Garden Rescue.
Celebrity Bridge of Lies.

All weekday daytime programmes, clogging up a fucking Saturday.

In fairness, they do show some good stuff, but cancel it out ten fold with garbage.

Once upon a time, Mastermind was one of the BBC’s lower IQ quizes. Ever listened to Round Britain Quiz on R4? Hang on…

Get your thinking caps on, this is serious stuff.

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