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What has the BBC ever done for us?
September 10, 2007 3:14 AM   Subscribe

For those of us who thought the BBC's mammoth self- marketing campaigns were one of the symptions of modern marketing excess, a trawl on the Internet has turned up this John Cleese-presented advertisment on What Have the BBC Ever Given Us?. And it being the BBC, Spitting Image have the right of rebuttal...

Hark back to a golden age when the licence fee was only £55, alternative comedy was cool enough to be mentioned on mainstream television (albeit from the toilet) - and more importantly, pubs weren't decked out in steel chrome.

For all us TV archivists, can you tell me what year this was from? Bob Geldof witters on about Live Aid, so it's certainly post 1985...
posted by electriccynic (28 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
"All You Need Is Love" is a song written by John Lennon with contributions from Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon/McCartney. It was first performed by The Beatles on Our World, the first ever live global television link. Broadcast to 26 countries and watched by 350 million people, the programme was broadcast via satellite on June 25, 1967. The BBC had commissioned The Beatles to write a song for the UK's contribution and this was the result. It is among the most famous and significant songs performed by the group. [Wikipedia]
posted by Poolio at 3:33 AM on September 10, 2007


It's £58 in the ad, which puts it between March 1985 and April 1988.
posted by cillit bang at 3:39 AM on September 10, 2007


We are amused.
posted by gomichild at 3:53 AM on September 10, 2007


Like it a lot. Thanks.
posted by patricio at 4:18 AM on September 10, 2007


They couldn't do that these days. Too many 'production companies' not enough talent.
posted by asok at 4:36 AM on September 10, 2007


I wish. I wish I wish I wish. I wish wish WISH PBS was the dominant channel(s!!) in the US.
posted by DU at 4:52 AM on September 10, 2007


Wow, that Perfect Day ad is impressive. Never came across it before. The rest are alright too.
posted by blacklite at 5:59 AM on September 10, 2007


It's £58 in the ad, which puts it between March 1985 and April 1988.

Is it a bad thing that a few moments in I pinpointed that there was a Space Invaders machine there, simply from the background noise?
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:14 AM on September 10, 2007


I wish. I wish I wish I wish. I wish wish WISH PBS was the dominant channel(s!!) in the US.

For the constant Doo-wop concerts or for the Lawrence Welk show? PBS is the white Oldsmobile with the turn-signal on, doing 23 MPH of television.
posted by octothorpe at 6:32 AM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


For the constant Doo-wop concerts or for the Lawrence Welk show?

They only show that stuff when they are trying to raise money from the geriatrics who've got it. The rest of the time, they rule.
posted by DU at 7:03 AM on September 10, 2007


Wow Roland Rat transferred to the BBC? Who knew?

Seriously though, BBC + License Fee = saviour of English speaking TV. Raises the bar for everyone.
posted by merocet at 7:14 AM on September 10, 2007


I hate, hate, hate the TV license but unfortunately the movement to get rid of it is dominated by people who don't want state funding for the BBC at all, so my preferred solution of direct funding from general taxation seem doomed to never get off the ground.
posted by tomcooke at 7:34 AM on September 10, 2007


I've always thought the BBC was the best possible argument for communism. State provision of a service that's vastly superior to the market alternatives; I wonder how that works?
posted by greytape at 8:42 AM on September 10, 2007


I loved the fact that it was "The Sky at Night" presenter Patrick Moore on the Space Invaders machine.
posted by Sk4n at 9:25 AM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


And the Spitting Image "rebuttal" was predictably lame.
posted by Sk4n at 9:28 AM on September 10, 2007


They only show that stuff when they are trying to raise money from the geriatrics who've got it. The rest of the time, they rule.

Yeah, it would be pretty funny if they tried raising money with good shows, wouldn't it?
posted by blacklite at 10:13 AM on September 10, 2007


Hah! That (John Cleese clip) was quality. I whinge about the license fee, but that's only because I want to fit in with my British brethren. Spend a few hours with Five and ITV and the BBC license fee seems miniscule in comparison.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:53 AM on September 10, 2007


That's a LOT of money, though. $250 a year for the privilege of having a TV?

$50 I could see. $250 is insane.
posted by Malor at 10:54 AM on September 10, 2007


Half price if you're blind though. Which is only fair.
posted by smackfu at 11:16 AM on September 10, 2007


Well, it's not the privilege of having a TV is it? It's the privilege of having a BBC. The funding arrangement of the licence fee supposedly gives the BBC greater independence from government than if it relied solely on general taxation revenue.
posted by patricio at 11:18 AM on September 10, 2007


I know a lot of people that would happily pay the BBC fee if they could watch BBC1-4 in their home countries, instead of the lame excuse called BBCWorld.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:48 AM on September 10, 2007


In the last month our one year contract with Sky was up and, almost to the day, the satellite dish was knocked out of alignment by a stray football. I'm loathed to to climb three stories and shin up the roof to fix it myself, but now that the contract is up it's either that or pay somebody a large wedge of cash. Since pretty much all I watch is Rugby League, and there are five pubs in easy staggering distance which show all the games, we decided to scrap the TV altogether. This puts us in a bit of a quandry when it comes to the license.

We listen to lots of Radio 4, Radio 6 & a bit of Radio 2. I use the news site daily, I use the food site a lot and quite a lot of their internet output on a regular basis. I wish they'd stop experimenting with podcasts as though the future is about to happen and just do it with everything, but where they do have podcasts for shows I like I subscribe to them and listen when walking in to work.

I like that their archive exists. I like that it is added to at a phenomenal rate by both their ordinary broadcast output and by the work done at Maida Vale in recording and cataloguing pretty much the entire cultural output of the country. I like that they've been doing this since the 1920s.

I like that Britain, uniquely, has its whole modern culture available under one license as result of this archive's existence. I like that technologies are emerging that enable them to make the whole thing available to all. I will be overjoyed when they finally have the foresight to do just that and make it available for everyone, irrespective of national boundaries.

We have the capacity to flood the world with ideas of Britain - how we think, how we live and the issues that concern us. More than that, we have the means available for disseminating those ideas of ourselves to the entire world, and in doing so helping to shape a world that is, from consumer up, sympathetic to our ideas. There can be no better advert for a country and its way of life than an archive that comes closer than any other to representing the totality of that country's culture and mode of living.

In all, I think there is ample justification for me to keep paying the license even with no TV. If anyone even suggests getting rid of the license or, worse, spreading it out amongst commercial broadcasters I will become a one man terrorist campaign who will hunt you down and nail you face first to a cardboard cut out of Ant and Dec.

It has to be said however that TV is dying, and I suspect the political realities mean that if the BBC hasn't had its last confirmation of license funding it has had its penultimate one. I fear for the BBC's future, and I have my list of Daily Mail subscribers and hammer and nails ready.
posted by vbfg at 12:10 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is there a radio fee? Why or why not?
posted by smackfu at 12:15 PM on September 10, 2007


The funding arrangement of the licence fee supposedly gives the BBC greater independence from government than if it relied solely on general taxation revenue.

This seems to be the main argument against direct funding of the BBC, but I don't think it can justify the considerable human cost of the current system.
posted by tomcooke at 12:18 PM on September 10, 2007


Is there a radio fee? Why or why not?

No, BBC radio is paid for out of the TV licence money. How the licence fee is spent.
posted by tomcooke at 12:22 PM on September 10, 2007


Is there a radio fee? Why or why not?

Not any more.
posted by vbfg at 12:28 PM on September 10, 2007


I thought the John Cleese ad was funny, but more for seeing all the BBC presenters looking really young.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:36 PM on September 10, 2007


I know a lot of people that would happily pay the BBC fee if they could watch BBC1-4 in their home countries, instead of the lame excuse called BBCWorld.
posted by blue_beetle

I would be one of those people. The price is a bargain for the quality of many BBC productions. Buckets better than most of the commercially supported stuff we have here in NA (but opinions vary of course.)

But the BBC could do us all a favour and prevent Russel T. Davies from writing any more Dr. Who scripts.
posted by juiceCake at 1:57 PM on September 10, 2007


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