Sunday Rants – Gripes with the BBC

I’ll be the first to come to the BBC’s defence normally. I think they’re a great establishment – far more important than most realise and far more hard-working than alot give them credit for (Daily Mail, I’m looking at you). But this past week, the corporation has managed to really hack me off.

And it’s stupid things, things that a lot of you wont care about, but things which I think the worlds greatest media institution should be getting right.

Lets start with yesterday. As you should know, I’m quite the nerd and am very interested in the latest tech and gadgets which is why ‘Click’, the BBC’s tech show is regular viewing for me. It’s scheduled on BBC News Channel every Saturday morning at 11.30 am.

But the very nature of the channel is the problem. Frequently the show gets bumped for breaking news. This is fully understandable – it is after all BBC News, I expect breaking news to be shown. But yesterday, ‘Click’ wasn’t bumped for news at all, it was bumped for a Royal Wedding update. At 11:15 (15 mins before Click) the Royal Couple had left Buckingham Palace by helicopter, half-an-hour later they were still on about it.

What was stupid about the whole issue was the fact that no reporter had any news. We cut to at least four different people in London who all said the same thing – there’s nothing to report right now, but we’ll keep you posted. The whole time this debacle was going on, we were told by the red banner at the bottom of the screen ‘Breaking News – Royal Wedding’. NO! This was not breaking news, for that to happen there actually needs to be some news.

The BBC were so enthralled by nothing happening in London, that they barely mentioned the horrific crash on the M11 where two people lost their life. Hardly journalism in action…

So after realising I wasn’t going to get to see ‘Click’ on TV, I decided to watch the show on iPlayer. Normally this has been put up a few hours earlier (as Click is first shown at 1am). But this week it hadn’t been and instead of coming online after 11.30 when the show should have been on TV, the time had now been pushed back to 8.30 – the programmes next showing.

This I think is absolutely ridiculous. If you wont show it on TV due to the news, then at least provide it on your online service. I hardly think ‘Click’ is going to get high enough ratings for online viewing to dent it. I see no reason why the show was not on iPlayer as it should have been, why should I wait any longer. We’re in the age of the computer – embrace it a bit more, it’s the way all TV is going!

Although this has been the thing to annoy me most, the Beeb have been quite stupid with some of their scheduling recently – particularly Saturday nights.

What on earth happened to Saturday night TV. I know people have been making that comment for years, but it really is dire now, especially the BBC. Case in point being ‘Don’t Scare The Hare’, a psychadelic ‘gameshow’ that even kids are embarrassed to watch. The star of the show is a 4 ft high animatronic Hare which gets scared/angry whenever contestants make a mistake. The games in the show see grown men and women remember simple sequences, answer dull questions and grab carrots. It belongs on Cbeebies, yet the BBC put this out at 5.30 on a Saturday night. It makes me yearn for Hole In The Wall.

The BBC also push out a glut of half-arsed reality shows, the current one being ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ – a poor mans Strictly meets X Factor. It’s dull, repetitive and downright garish. I just wish that instead of making poor copies of ITV’s programmes (which they’ll never beat with viewing figures) they went for something more different and imaginative.

Thanks God the channel also has Doctor Who on a Saturday night – which has been on top form the last two weeks. But of course the Beeb don’t seem to care about this show. Instead of scheduling for prime-time (anything after 7). The show keeps getting shoved into a 6 o clock timeslot – hardly the time for an intelligent drama series. And from looking at future weeks, it seems it’s going to get shoved all over the schedule whenever the BBC feel like it. Some people don’t know a good thing when they’ve got it, even after 6 years of success!

And speaking of destroying success, I have little faith in BBC One’s new(ish) controller Danny Cohen. Earlier this week, Mr Cohen stated how there are too many Male sleuths on BBC One and he will be axing shows to make sure this is solved. He’s already got rid of the critically acclaimed Zen after just one series and now shows such as Sherlock, George Gently, Wallander and Luther are all in the firing line. Hardly a good reason to get rid of a show and I will be fuming if he touches Sherlock – easily the best drama of last year.

And maybe Mr. Cohen should have a quick look at ITV, they have more male sleuth’s than Scotland Yard!

Phew, that was a long rant and I think that’s because I do love the BBC – it makes it even worse when they mess things up!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday! 😀

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2 Responses to Sunday Rants – Gripes with the BBC

  1. Tim says:

    Ah, I only ever listen to the Click podcast, so I’m less affected by the vagaries of the schedule. What they did with it does seem a bit silly, though.

    I can’t see Cohen touching Sherlock, given its international sales. Thank God for that!

    Who’s a bit of an odd case. It sits in a position which allows kids to watch it before bedtime – its traditional slot – but avoids head-to-head competition with ITV’s ratings-grabbing Britain’s Got (No) Talent (Whatsoever). I read over the weekend that Who set a new record by having a time-shifted (oops, pun!) audience of something like 2.4m for its first episode – a combination of the good weather, family viewing schedules and the increasing prevalence of Sky+ boxes and other recorders, no doubt.

    I don’t think the BBC would ever deliberately scupper Who. Even more so than Sherlock, it is an enormous global revenue generator for the Beeb in terms of international sales, DVDs and other merchandise. I think it’s currently their most lucrative global property.

    But there is something slightly wrong with the Beeb. There is a tendency to chase ratings with reality-based crap like SYTYCD, and also a habit of commissioning lots of quite similar shows in a knee-jerk manner when a new trend is identified. We have had this in the past with the reality genre (Fame Academy etc) and the latest thing is definitely police procedurals, as if someone high up has only just noticed the US success of the Law & Order, CSI and NCIS franchises, among others. The issue for me is not so much that promising series will end up being cancelled because of saturation, but more that so many were commissioned in the first place. Where are the great new BBC comedies? Where is the new Planet Earth?

  2. chrisbheath says:

    Fully agree with the comedies, the BBC used to be the best at that, but their sitcoms have become a shadow of their forerunners. And Planet Earth – the only show that’s ever got me truly interested in wildlife and our planet.

    I find that I watch a heck of a lot less BBC than I used to and it is because of shocking shows like ‘SYTYCD’ and ‘Hare’ that I’m being sent away.

    Like you said, it’s fully the fault of the previous controller for commissioning the spate of crime shows we have, but I still don’t think that’s reason for Cohen to axe them if they are good quality like Zen was…

    And I know the BBC wont really kill Who again (yet!) but I do think it worked so much better at 7 than it does at 6 and with a fixed slot every week instead of darting about the schedule!

    Cheers for your comment

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