Sir Patrick Moore is in the firing line over comments he recently made about the BBC's deteriorating quality. He blamed it on women, of course he has been blasted for these comments, but nobody has bothered to go into details.
British TV standards are deteriorating because the BBC is "run by women", astronomer Sir Patrick Moore has said. The presenter said: "The trouble is the BBC now is run by women and it shows soap operas, cooking, quizzes, kitchen-sink plays."
OK well it is established that a lot of high positions within the BBC are manned by women.
I'm also sure most people will agree that women aren't interested in science and technology as much as men. I'm not saying that women are any less skilful at those areas, but I think it is fair to say under current cultural conditions they're not as interested.
So I think some of what he said could be attributed to women holding some positions within the BBC, I think it is likely that if men held those positions that science programs would have a somewhat easier time of things.
Patrick Moore is well known for his disagreements with those in the BBC, particularly about how late the Sky at Night is on, when I was a kid I could very rarely watch it because it would often be on after midnight, this continues nowadays too, but at least the BBC has more channels and so can show it more than once.
This could be the result of a recent spat with somebody in the BBC screwing the Sky at Night over, and that person was probably a woman, which sparked this whole episode. A woman, or perhaps a small group of women may indeed be responsible for shoving the Sky and Night back a few hours to put some nonsense on TV and perhaps even wider attacks on science programs on the BBC, but I think fundamentally the dumbing down of television is simply due to market pressures to reach larger and larger audiences and that it is not due to differences between the sexes.
This isn't just happening with the BBC. Take the Discovery channels and the History channel; they started off pretty good, now they spend their time showing things about ghosts and the history of zombies.
The BBC however is the most worrying. I expect low quality crap from private broadcasters. I do not expect crap from the BBC, the BBC should stop trying to emulate the private sector, and concentrate on what its good at, doing things the private broadcasters simply cannot afford to do, the BBC's funding is secure, and they should stop worrying about trying to reach more viewers.
I remember when Horizon used to be the science journal on TV, where it was not uncommon for an episode to just be a scientist talking about this or that subject. What is it nowadays? 70% special effects and 30% sensationalism, it's so bad that last week's episode on the Large Hadron Collider needed to advertise itself with the machine potentially creating a black hole that would destroy the Earth. Utter junk science, honestly I feel like I'm watching American TV.
Patrick is just reacting to this decline, and in my opinion probably basing it on his own personal experiences with female executives within the BBC.
"I used to watch Doctor Who and Star Trek, but they went PC - making women commanders, that kind of thing. I stopped watching."
OK that's pretty far out there, I've never been a fan of Doctor Who, and so I can't speak on that. I didn't have much of a problem with Captain Janeway, Voyager was pretty good until they brought 7 of 9 into things just to try and get some more viewers, this sort of thing continued into Enterprise, which in my opinion is the reason it was cancelled, in trying to get more viewers they alienated their core viewers. Star Trek turned into more of a soap opera in space. So perhaps Patrick's comments aren't too far off the mark.
The Sky at Night host also described female newsreaders as "jokey"
The BBC's national newsreaders are fantastic, apart from their fairly recent additions from Sky News like Natasha Kaplinsky (for the reasons Patrick mentions) and that guy; I can't remember his name, who is one of the dumbest newsreaders I've ever come across. The ones on the local news are a bit "jokey", they lack seriousness that they should have, but that probably varies from region to region.
I suspect Patrick's comments were triggered by a recent falling out with some women whom have some say over the Sky at Night within the BBC, Patrick got rather annoyed over-generalised and fired off a salvo.
But in doing so he highlights some important facts, the BBC needs to change, the careerists ruining the corporation need to be booted out, and the dumbing down needs to stop. I'd like to see a Moore-Dawkins-Attenborough coalition take control of the BBC, and get its science up to standard.
I see the Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait has said he'll have nothing more to do with Patrick Moore over his remarks, seriously what the hell? May be if Americans had decent quality TV at some point they'd understand the seriousness of the situation, from the amateur astronomy circles I frequent the BBC's quality often crops up, people with more than 12 brain cells are getting seriously annoyed about it, so I don't think it is surprising that some people will over-generalise and lash out.
Patrick also speaks about having channels for men and women. In some cases we already have that. I've always thought of it being more of a smart vs dumb divide. The private broadcasters race to the bottom and appeal to dumb people. While the BBC, not having to worry about keeping advertising revenue can concentrate on high quality programming.
Judging from the number of comments from women largely agreeing with Patrick on the BBC News website, I think my hypothesis holds up. It is an issue between smart and dumb people and not an issue between men and women.
Patrick has a geniune point, but being a self-proclaimed eccentric he probably didn't get it across very well. But the point that remains is solid.
He claimed that interesting programmes were screened too late at night, and said he would "rather be dead in a ditch" than appear on Celebrity Big Brother.
Here here, it's time to get all the crap off the TV.
Update: It seems Patrick's remarks were misrepresented, with one of his comments being there were too few men working as TV announcers and that was spun into this, his comments were also strictly off the record, overheard by a journalist and chucked out there.