Friday, October 31, 2008

Abolish The BBC.

The Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand crap really is taking up an inordinate amount of column inches. Even I as someone who has called for their violent deaths find the coverage excessive.

Still I may as well use the incident as a hook a hobby horse of mine- the abolition of the BBC.

Supporters of the BBC and the licence fee like to claim that it is essential to ensure quality programming and compare it favourably to British commercial television as well as to American television.

The comparison with British commercial stations is fair enough and the BBC does indeed produce better television than any of our commercial broadcasters. Although this is hardly surprising when they have to compete against a state behemoth which can outbid them for talent and monopolise various niche markets. The sole exception to this is sport where Sky is clearly superior to the BBC. In other words the BBC crowds out the commercial sector who therefore have to resort to lowest common denominator stuff.

American television provides a picture of what commercial television can do when it is allowed to thrive in the absence of a national broadcaster. For all that BBC supporters like to mock US broadcasting, which is portrayed as a non stop drip of Jerry Springer, police chases and ads, the fact is it outperforms British television in almost every field.

The output of C-Span puts the BBC;s political coverage to shame, the original drama series produced by the likes of HBO and FX are far superior to anything the BBC has done in the last 20 years and Comedy Central doesn't consider it to be the height of comic genius to bully elderly actors. It's noticeable that a lot of the BBC's quality output is made in association with an American channel for example The Blue Planet was made in association with Discovery and Rome was made in league with HBO.

If we had no BBC our television output could develop in this direction.

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