Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Same Old.. Same Old.. - What the BBC does in 2014

With comes the autumn and the end of year, for all apart what has happened in criminal cases there has been the invention of a new game of BBC bashing. But it is not what you think at all, there have seemed to be more providence then usual this year of the BBC getting it wrong. As viewer complaints rack up over some things which are right to be complained about, we come to the other end of the scale and in particular two incidents.

The commencement of the broadcast of Jamaica Inn, saw a record number of complaints that the actors were mumbling, thinking although this may have been important to the script did not stop viewers thinking they have got complete power to let the BBC know and the social media community bare arms to show their displeasure with the easy situation of journalists just sitting search social networks to take comments and turn them into a newsworthy event. By this the power held by viewers nowadays has never been greater then it ever has been, shows can be stopped by a sustained campaign or just one small piece of footage not shown in the right place can make an ordinary person into public enemy number one.

Significantly this happened with 'Alaskagate' in the Great British Bake Off, even people who don't even watch the programme knew about what had happened with the subsequent events which surrounded it, the theories about what a person had done or not done were flailing around social media such to the level where Sue Perkins decided to have her say on Twitter to say everything was above board with this event. Though it was the BBC who bore the brunt of this effect, with people thinking something like that can be changed instantly. 

But as the saying goes "With great power comes great responsibility" and on both sides this is the case, the BBC will broadcast thing which are seemingly right and the public will have their say on them. It is when the lines become blurred on simple matters, that is when things can go wrong on either side. Opinion will always be there, but when to give it on matter is a case to learn. The simple things can seem quite plain, but for every small voice comes a wave, responsibility is key to match viewers with broadcasters. Now broadcasters ask viewers what they want, where as they used to give it to them. From entertaining has now turned into a constant need to inform, too much information can confuse somewhat. In a typical Monday to Friday schedule on BBC 1 for instance, generally there are only about three or four programmes per week which actually entertain and the most of the time is informing the viewer. The Reithan model has been written large, but is it right still to be doing this?

ITV for all its commercial needs has seen a shift to more entertaining programmes in the past year, to prove popular and populist. With Peter Fincham at the helm, it is not surprising at all to see this. As not a person who came through an independent production company, he has shown his touch to know how the public want to be entertained and thus they are slowly gaining on BBC 1 and starting to pass them. For all the complaints that ITV has gone downmarket, hasn't it always been the combination of both? In the early 1970's On The Buses sat next to Upstairs Downstairs, but isn't that the case with ITV's current entertainment output and Downton Abbey.

BBC 1 will not be able to do this and compete until something is changed and the move from promoting people from the factual department goes away. With factual people comes an obsession with information, but BBC 1 does not need this as it is a 'General Entertainment' channel just like ITV is, but with the wonder-kin Danny Cohen overseeing all the BBC's television output much like Mark Thompson did, it restricts themselves from doing anything at all and forms a reliance on the same programmes. They maybe pleased with the Great British Bake Off right now, but when it has peaked and it will. Where do they go from there? It says it all that one of BBC 1's most popular shows came from BBC 2 and is produced independently. Where as in-house production has stalled, no wonder Tony Hall just wants the BBC to be another production house.

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