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Subject: UKNM: Re: The BBC
From: Tim Ireland
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 20:55:51 +0100

Neil McIntosh asked:
> Have I been hopelessly naive in being surprised by this, or
> is this all really just vested interests and sour grapes?
> The BBC is, after all, doing what it does pretty well online.
> I'd love to find out what the list's impressions are,
> off the record, of course :-)

I'm going to talk about Australian television for a bit. There will be a
test later, so please pay attention.


Australian television is - in a word - crap. Very few original and/or
quality programs are being made due to the cancer of commercialism. Any new
ideas usually come from the poorly-funded ABC, and are soon poached and
bastardised by one of the commercial networks. It reached a stage a long
time ago that a producer wanting to sell a show to a commercial network
would not only have to pitch the programme as an audience winner, but also
structure it as a money-spinner in its own right (because he knows the going
price for a programme is well below what is needed to make a living for all
concerned). The result? A glut of lifestyle shows (complete with sponsors,
product placement, 'impartial' inclusion of and/or commentary on products
etc.) and crap game shows and little else of interest.

A lot of noise is made here in the UK at the BBC's 'deplorable' record of
late with sitcoms (and quality of same). You don't know how good you've got
it! The year I left the television industry - and Australia - in disgust
(1998), there was *one* sitcom produced by a commercial station. This was a
re-hash of an old sitcom not unlike 'Love Thy Neighbour'. Here's an article:

Now here we have the BBC - which is, as far as I'm concerned,
fan-bloody-tastic value for money in that there is room for talent
development. This means that (via radio and/or television) more quality
writers, performers, producer etc. get a chance to evolve and eventually
produce new and exciting forms of entertainment.

Too bad they're not doing this online.

The current soul-less domination of the BBC can only hinder web development
in this country for two reasons:

- With no talent development, all we can look forward to in the future is
poorly developed talent. Quite simple, when you think about it, folks.
- Even if this talent has the gumption to get out there and 'do it on their
own', how are they expected to give birth to a commercially feasible content
site when the BBC is churning out portal offspring like a rabbit on
fertility drugs?

Again we go back to Australia, where the online industry is retarded by
these two behemoths (both offspring of the Packer clan, who also dominate
the television and print industry):

The main difference being that the BBC has an obligation to *develop*
communication channels. This is a large part of the privilege that we pay

Think about it for a moment.

Monty Python, The Goodies, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Have I Got News
For You, The League of Gentlemen (I could go on, but I've already revealed
myself as a closet anorak). These cutting-edge shows that could not have
existed without the BBC in 'development' mode. They were quite close to the
edge too, considering what they got away with in their day and/or on what is
a very conservative medium.

Now imagine this kind of risk aimed at a web audience! Is it an exciting
thought? Yes. Is it happening? No.

In the past, I've been singing the praises of the BBC to anyone whinging
about their TV license - but as far as their approach to the Internet goes I
am of the opinion that they can go fuck themselves.

"The BBC is, after all, doing what it does pretty well online"?

I would be inclined to disagree, and would go so far as to suggest that they
are not meeting their obligations in any way, shape or form. And you can
quote me on that.

(Ahem - except for the swear word, of course. My mother-in-law reads the

Tim Ireland

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  UKNM: The BBC, Neil.McIntosh

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