Culture change at the BBC

The recent issue over the BBC and Jonathan Ross and that other guy, Russell Brand or whatever his name is, the one who says "like" too much, has continued to be in the news. So I thought I'd just comment on it (makes a break from the endless tech stuff - sorry PDC and WinHEC conferences back to back means there's a lot of tech going on).

Old time readers of my blog will no doubt remember multiple instances that I've said the BBC needs to raise its game. This is largely in relation of the quality of its science programmes which have been steadily dumbed-down.

I think we all agree that the BBC needs to stop the dumbing down and trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator, that means not giving people like Jonathan Ross a job, and all the other overpaid presenters who aren't any good. The private media companies can manage that fine by themselves and we shouldn't be blowing money on trying to compete with them on their terms (however tempting that may be).

It also needs to develop more high-quality programmes in-house and stop buying elsewhere, if done right this can help fund the organisation by selling them abroad, I think there is an appetite for high quality programmes especially in the United States where I do believe there is a growing section of the population who are getting fed up with the dire state US television is in, especially from an educational, scientific and news perspective.

The real question is how do we go about this? In the past I've half-jokingly suggested we need to bring together Richard Dawkins, Patrick Moore and David Attenborough and put the BBC's science under their control. The key is we need the people running the BBC to truly believe in raising the quality of the organisation, not to dumb down but to educate and inspire, and of course we need a plan. The BBC has so much potential, and we must find a way to unlock it.

I've also long maintained that the BBC should be funded from central government, I'm pleased that Kevin Davis mentioned how the license fee should be paid in a blog post he did today on the subject.

When it comes down to it, at the moment 10 million or so people need to remember to pay their TV license, let's say they spend 10 minutes per year thinking about it, that's about one and a half million hours per year wasted. When instead we could just get Darling to write a cheque once a year taking 20 seconds.

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