Diary

Honesty is the best policy for the BBC

Twitter is a minefield for BBC beration. When ‘Defund the BBC’ launched their campaign in mid-summer, it took them less than a week to reach around 30K followers and it now has around 95K supporters. So with such a growing appetite for a reformed BBC, we have to ask ourselves what is it culturally that the BBC seems to let us down on?

In terms of their political coverage, I feel as though the corporation could do more to push some of their political shows to feature more commentary from regional journalists, activists and even regular folk from beyond the Westminster Bubble.

I can’t see anyone being delighted with the current incumbents of the Beeb’s political team. Everyone has had their criticism of Andrew Neil, Nick Robinson, Andrew Marr, Emily Maitlis and Lewis Goodall. They don’t always get it right, and in this day and age of every man and his dog wanting to make passing remarks, there is a sense that you simply cannot please everyone. That being said, maybe it’s not necessarily the political team which needs shaking up.

Honesty is a big issue. In particular, the transparency surrounding the sort of guests the BBC has been inviting onto programmes to make comments. For example, there have been multiple occasions where a doctor or teacher has appeared on Newsnight, and the BBC has failed to report that they are Labour activists. It doesn’t take much to be able to present the facts or even seek out a non-politically charged teacher or doctor. All this shows is a lack of research from BBC producers and just downright laziness.

Nor is it merely in the realms of current affairs where the BBC is continuing to c*ck up. But now, they have started removing and censoring comedy shows that contain material which may offend audiences. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not you think Little Britain is culturally insensitive, but what I would say is listen to what stars like Idris Elba are saying.

Idris Elba has criticised the public service broadcaster for censoring programmes following Black Lives Matter campaigning. He believes that even outdated attitudes to race found in older TV shows should be aired and understood. If we start airbrushing these shows from iPlayer, then we are technically attempting to censor history.

There are a lot of future generations of scriptwriters, stand-ups and producers who can learn from the mistakes of the past. It is important to highlight these matters, but if we can’t come to be at ease with them, then how do we move forward?

The recent news that was on every radio phone-in show was the BBC’s decision to ban the lyrics of ‘Rule, Britannia!’ from being sung at the Last Night of the Proms. A decision which, I should say, they’ve now U-turned on. Now, I’m going to be honest. I can’t stand that hymn, so to be quite frank, they’d have been doing me a favour if they hadn’t done so.

No matter what connotations these lyrics may have to our colonial past, we should be considering their intentions and the manner in which they are being sung above anything else. I don’t for one minute believe that any sane-minded individual singing ‘Rule, Britannia!’ or ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ is really interested in re-enslaving former colonies or wanting to hark back to the times in which those anthems were written.

Put it this way, if Stormzy is allowed to chant “F*ck Boris” live on the BBC, at Glastonbury, then a bunch of poshos in the Albert Hall should be allowed to have their little sing-song as well.

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