Join 3,501 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


I'm proud of the BBC. A song.
October 16, 2010 3:23 PM   Subscribe

I'm proud of the BBC. A song.

Some background on the video shoot at Mitch Benn's blog (real people turning up as extras out of the goodness of their heart) and the reason for the song.
posted by feelinglistless (55 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sounds like Coldplay doing REM. Ah, right.
posted by chavenet at 3:30 PM on October 16, 2010


That was great. You should be! My only problem is that now I want to be proud of something. :'(
posted by Xezlec at 3:35 PM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So. Much. Of. My. Life.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:40 PM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


THIS IS THE BBC. DO NOT LISTEN TO THE OTHERS. THEY ARE THE FALSE PROPHETS.
posted by schmod at 3:44 PM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even as an American, this hit on a lot of cultural touchstones.
I would be proud to be able to pay a license fee for the BBC.

(Especially if I could watch its content online.)
posted by Muttoneer at 4:00 PM on October 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


For all its faults, the BBC is pretty fucking great. Every licence fee payer gets a fantastic bargain for his £145.50 a year, and we Brits should never forget that.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:00 PM on October 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


The BBC is a complete bargain.
I know that, like all bureaucracies and institutions, it could save money here & there. My fee would then be, say £130 or £120 p.a. I do deserve to have that saving. But that does not lead me to think it's a hive of inveterate spendthrifts and art school wastrels.

I am proud of the Beeb, and in fact I love it. I pay the fee for Radio Four alone, and consider the wonderful 6Music and everything else as a freebie.

Course, some would say that the flaw in my argument is that not everyone has my tastes.... and so they watch EastEnders & Strictly Come Dancing and listen to Radio 1 or 3 and ....all that.

BBC does what a national broadcaster should do - cater to all tastes, high, middle & low brow.
We'd be chumps to let it shrink or wither.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:27 PM on October 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sort of reminds me of this hilarious old ABC promo.
posted by rolandcrosby at 4:50 PM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


And it could be better if it didn't waste such a shitload of money. Like spending £50k a day on taxis... Go on, defend it.
posted by A189Nut at 4:50 PM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Go on, cite it.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:57 PM on October 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll start paying the license fee when they sack Richard Bacon
posted by fire&wings at 4:57 PM on October 16, 2010


Information comes from BECTU if you know who they are. But you can find it online easily enough. Say here But now you'll tell me the newspaper is making it up, so I'll repeat that. BECTU.
posted by A189Nut at 4:59 PM on October 16, 2010


Or try this from the Guardian as an individual case.
posted by A189Nut at 5:03 PM on October 16, 2010


Or try this for size
posted by A189Nut at 5:11 PM on October 16, 2010


I think the BBC is a disadvantage because it is constantly required to justify itself, and it naturally is caught between a rock and a hard place. You might think, "All that content for £140! Wowzers!" Completely true. But there are other broadcasters who could be doing a lot of that stuff without nationalising television - e.g. Strictly-style television could easily be done by ITV (didn't the Beeb run it against XFactor a while back? That was an unpopular decision. A lot of channel hopping on those nights). And I cannot wait for BBC3 to be shut down.

On the other hand, if you get rid of that stuff, half the people in the country will be asking why they pay loads of money every year for programmes which they never watch.

It's a delicate balance, which people on both sides of the BBC debate need to remember. But ultimately, I think British television would become much, much worse if the Beeb disappeared.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 5:12 PM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


The BBC has run up an £18.2million expenses bill for taxis and hire cars in the past year, the Sunday Express can reveal.

It means licence payers are forking out £50,000 a day for the transport. The bulk of the bill, £13.2million, went on taxis for Corporation business

Thanks for the link to a Daily Express page with an insistent Flash ad covering the story up & hiding the 'close' button.


Assuming 36 million licences are bought every year in the UK, we all pay £2 per annum towards this. I wonder how many Cabinet ministers, industry know-it-alls and scientists wiil appear on Newsnight then, having to get home to the suburbs on a wet & windy Wendesday in February after the buses & trains have stopped?

As I said above, there may be some waste. I want that eliminated. That doesnt stop the Beeb from being good VFM.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:15 PM on October 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


But it could be better and there's no doubt - no doubt - that within its corridors there remain bastions of privilege that parties like its 1999.
posted by A189Nut at 5:22 PM on October 16, 2010


Go on, defend it.

Well, from the article you cite: "Much of the cost is incurred taking celebrities to and from news studios and driving presenters home when public transport has stopped for the evening."

Replace the weasel word "celebrities" with "people who appear on the TV" and then work out how many hours of TV, internet and radio material they produce around the clock in an expensive city where public transport is an unreliable way of getting people into your studios, and you can see where it adds up.

And if you think the top executives in the BBC are overpaid re your third link, then don't look at what they get paid at, say, ITV or you may faint.

Is there excess? Yep, almost certainly. Is it less than any comparable private media organisation? Yep, almost certainly.

Back to the video: my gnarled soul wanted to find it overly cosy, but I couldn't help but nod my head and go "well yes, I do like Radcliffe and Maconie" etc.
posted by Hartster at 5:43 PM on October 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


The BBC is the biggest example I can think of when it comes to government-sponsored institutions being surprisingly effective. By all measures, it shouldn't be as amazing as it is, but somehow it manages. It's really a little impressive.
posted by LSK at 5:45 PM on October 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would be proud to be able to pay a license fee for the BBC.

I came here to say this. If I could watch BBC content online, I'd pay the license fee in a heartbeat.
posted by empath at 5:46 PM on October 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Also, I listen to http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/dance all day at work, and I feel guilty about mooching off the brits. The Essential Mix is the best thing ever.
posted by empath at 5:49 PM on October 16, 2010


Oh don't let me begin! ...Ok I begin.

In this spot of the planet, all the (legal) BBC I can get is BBC News World. But all of the BBC content I was able to find of the net was either excellent or very good, if compared to other broadcasters, so I may be missing the worst of BBC and may be slightly biased in favor of BBC.

Nonetheless I'd gladly pay the subscription rate paid in UK, as I presently pay a significant amount of money (€109) for RAI tv (Italian national television), yet I am not satisfied as I would like it to just attempt to reach BBC quality level.

To tell you the whole story, I think that RAI tv has played an important role in the recent history of Italy. It started broadcasting in 1954 and it has shaped the way in which italians think and talk. RAI tv programs have taught countless italian to speak italian by imitation; the differences among the numerous regional languages posed a serious communication problem. Many words just weren't the same, it wasn't "merely" a pronunciation issue.

Present RAI programs appear to me as being influenced by the need to compete with private television, in a fight to obtain a share of the audience. The sensation is that RAI has turned into a lowest common denominator broadcaster over the years.
posted by elpapacito at 5:51 PM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


£13.2 million on taxis. Let's do some back of the envelope stuff here.

Current rates for London taxis - £10.39/hr day, £14.15/hr night. Let's split the difference, call it £12.27.

13.2 million / 365 = 36164.38. At 12.27 an hour, that's 2947.4 taxi hours a day.

--------

As I said above, there may be some waste. I want that eliminated.

Good news- they're working on it.
The BBC released a quarterly breakdown of expense claims and salary details today.

Its chief operating officer, Caroline Thomson, said it had "recognised" it had to change and work harder to convince licence fee payers that their money was spent wisely.

She said: "That is why over the last 15 months we have become both a more transparent organisation and a better value organisation, committed to serious reductions to senior manager numbers and pay.

"We are focusing relentlessly on delivering quality and better value. We are bearing down on costs right across the organisation so as much investment as possible goes into high-quality programmes. Whilst some expenses are necessary to do the job, the evidence shown today shows real and significant progress on that journey - we have cut expenses by a fifth and are reducing our pay bill by a quarter."
posted by zamboni at 5:51 PM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's just TV.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 5:55 PM on October 16, 2010


BBC1 brought the world (via internets, I'm a North American) Mary Anne Hobbs' Dubstep Warz almost four years ago! Stupid socialism, stifling innovation and all...
posted by relooreloo at 5:55 PM on October 16, 2010


counting... almost *five years ago...
posted by relooreloo at 6:03 PM on October 16, 2010


I mean, you could pay £36 a month for sky. This'll bag you utter shit, as well as an undermining of democracy over several opposing governments, as well as illegal institutionalised wiretapping by vermin appointed to the Prime Minister's communication secretary.

So that's £462 to sell your country up the river for reality TV, or £132 for really high-caliber, expert-lead programming.

Colour me socialis. I'll raise you a bank bail-out.
posted by davemee at 6:11 PM on October 16, 2010 [10 favorites]


Like spending £50k a day on taxis... Go on, defend it.

NewsCorp spends more on limos and private jets for its top UK honchos easily, but don't expect to see an honest expense breakout from them (well, maybe a little less, I think that's where Murdoch hides his hooker expenses).
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:47 PM on October 16, 2010


You turn on the show and it's a lecture in the form of a piece of entertainment. You start to change channels, but the performer makes you feel as if he's in on a hugely clever joke which you are too thick to get. You keep watching anyway, because it's supposed to be really good and your friends are probably going to quote bits of it at you. In the end you feel dissatisfied and slightly guilty for not appreciating it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:00 PM on October 16, 2010


And three cheers from Tokyo for the BBC ... and the iPlayer. Add my name to those who would cheerfully pay an 'overseas' licence fee. And I sincerely hope we're never in the position of having to say "you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone ..."
posted by woodblock100 at 9:57 PM on October 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


You have to pay for BBC? Like a cable channel? Even if you live in England? I hope it's better than the BBC I get on my cable. I have a feeling it's homogenized for Americans. No, not a feeling, I'm sure of it. I wouldn't mind paying for the real BBC.
posted by wv kay in ga at 11:35 PM on October 16, 2010


You turn on the show and it's a lecture in the form of a piece of entertainment.

Yeah, I'd stick with Bluey and Prisoner Cell Block H if I were you, Joe. More your speed, I think.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:36 AM on October 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love the BBC, this song not so much.
posted by fullerine at 12:49 AM on October 17, 2010


I love the BBC and I might even love this song if it weren't for the fact that it's Mitch Benn and The Smug Show is an abomination unto Radio 4.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:26 AM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's just TV.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 12:55 AM on October 17


....and 4 national tv stations .... and international news gathering .... plus news.bbc.co.uk....and 8 national radio stations .... also many local radio stations ... it's engineering sections ....
posted by dash_slot- at 2:13 AM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's just TV.

Yeah, no.
posted by pompomtom at 2:36 AM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just thought I'd drop in to add to the Mitch Benn hate. I can't listen to The Now Show because of that nad-retractingly unfunny git.

On the whole I like Radio 4 but it could be improved immeasurably if they'd kill The Archers (I mean literally), ditch the execrable Thought For The Day and stop repeating stuff so much.

No idea what BBC TV is like these days as I haven't had a TV in twelve years. Yes, I am one of thos smug pricks and yes I did have to mention that. You have to understand that mentioning it is part of the joy of not having a TV. That and not paying a license fee. Or knowing who Simon Cowell is.
posted by Decani at 2:40 AM on October 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love the BBC. Not all of it, but enough of it to give me at least 20 hours a week of information and entertainment. I hate some of it, but I'd hate it more if everything was designed to appeal to some notional viewer rather than a broad mix of tastes.

Re the taxi thing, in the main it will be for guests on the shows. I appeared as a guest on 5Live (radio) a few years ago, and was offered a taxi from home to the studio if I wanted it. This is just a way of getting a good mix of guests in the studio, and making sure they turn up on time. (Guests aren't paid, after all). In the event it was far easier for me to go on the tube, so I declined the taxi.
posted by DanCall at 3:06 AM on October 17, 2010


> I love the BBC and I might even love this song if it weren't for the fact that it's Mitch Benn and The Smug Show is an abomination unto Radio 4

I am confused. Mitch Benn doesn't appear in The News Quiz :)
posted by kaemaril at 5:23 AM on October 17, 2010


Don't be besmirching the good name of Sandy Toksvig, kaemaril. Excess Baggage is one of the best shows on Radio 4, and Number 73 was almost as good as Tiswas, so she everything she does gets a free pass as far as I'm concerned.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:32 AM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, I definitely have nothing against Ms. Toksvig herself. The daring, dazzling, death-defyingly dull, devastatingly dangerous, delectable, delicatestible, divinely decadent Sandwich Quiz is without doubt some of the best TV ever made.
posted by kaemaril at 6:35 AM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


As for the BBC's transport costs... well, turn on the news (World Service, BBC World, Radio 4, Radio 5, BBC News, local stations) at any time and you'll usually find a non-BBC contributor in the studio at some point giving an independent view on a story. Normally, they're not paid for this, not even if it's at 5:45 in the morning.

How do they get there? How do they get home again? (Hint: at any time at the stage door of Television Centre, there's usually a milling crowd of car drivers.)

Getting guests into live shows needs transportation, and if anyone knows an alternative that doesn't suck I'm sure Aunty will be all ears.
posted by Devonian at 6:43 AM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps the BBC should be convinced to buy their own fleet of cars with official Beeb drivers rather than outsourcing transportation - despite the initial outlay it would probably be cheaper in the long run, and I'm sure the Government would be behind any initiative to reduce costs.
posted by Grangousier at 6:54 AM on October 17, 2010


Well, I've been interviewed by the BBC several times and they never paid for a taxi.
posted by A189Nut at 7:47 AM on October 17, 2010


You have to pay for BBC? Like a cable channel? Even if you live in England?

No, and this is one of the problems the Beeb is facing, and will soon become a huge issue. The income is generated from a television license. Endearingly enough, they still charge less if you have a black and white TV. That is, when you buy a physical TV you're supposed to then pay a fee per year. If you don't own a TV, you don't have to pay (there's a fuzzy grey line where you have to pay if you can watch it live, but that's the basic rule).

So the looming issue is that of online use. I can watch iPlayer for free in the UK - why would I need a TV? And so there goes some of the revenue.
posted by djgh at 7:48 AM on October 17, 2010


Well, I've been interviewed by the BBC several times and they never paid for a taxi.

Heh. The BBC is one of the best things in the world. To turn the conversation away from the subject of this post (all the great stuff they do) and toward something as petty as supposed overuse of taxis is hilariously twisted. No wonder they make you pay for your own ride home.
posted by pracowity at 8:52 AM on October 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, I've been interviewed by the BBC several times and they never paid for a taxi.

I think they do it when they want to make sure you get to the studio on time. I've had them send private hire cars for me when I've been doing stuff for them in London. Interviews at my local BBC radio didn't warrant it though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:36 AM on October 17, 2010


All UK TV I've been involved in has sent cars to pick me up. No-budget stuff filmed in a single studio by a sewage farm in Acton, to be broadcast on Sky Digital in the days before anyone had a digital receiver? They sent a car for me, every week.

As someone said, it's about making sure that people arrive on time and don't keep the other presenters and crew hanging around, or wasting so much time that the shoot overruns its slot. I am sure that the BBC (and everyone else) has crunched the numbers and has worked out that in the long run it's more economic to send cars than to hope everyone involved in the production has a good sense of timekeeping.
posted by Hogshead at 12:07 PM on October 17, 2010


Great vid.

Too bad he couldn't have found a way to work a mention of "Dr. Who" into it.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:18 PM on October 17, 2010


That video reminded me, as an American, of all of the BBC shows that I still want to investigate. I think I'm going to go through it again with a pen and paper and the sound turned off (not a bad song, but don't need to listen to it repetitively) and write down all of the names of things I will have to scrounge through the internet for.
posted by colfax at 1:06 PM on October 17, 2010


I was actually surprised how many of those names I recognized, being an American. I do believe that the BBC is far superior than that crap our big networks are or have been putting out (with the exception of HBO), especially in humor, although it may just be that I have a 'British' sense of humor.

My favorite thing about the BBC, though, is that the iPlayer volume settings go all the way to 11.
posted by Hargrimm at 1:42 PM on October 17, 2010


Just another American saying I was amazed at how many things I love were in that song. But no Mitchell and Webb. Are they turncoats because they're also on Channel 4?

Also: America needs to discover Dennis Potter big time. I saw The Singing Detective and Karaoke in a graduate school class and was amazed by them. It seems like most of his shows have never had US DVD releases.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:49 PM on October 17, 2010


I am glad to pay the license fee and think it is great value for money. A lot of the criticism levelled at the bBC seems to come from the Murdoch press and the current goverment which is a sure sign that they are doing a great job.
posted by dprs75 at 5:34 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


BBC fears coalition licence fee raid
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:16 AM on October 19, 2010


BBC licence fee raid: e-mail your MP
posted by Artw at 9:17 AM on October 19, 2010


« Older "Gee, Mrs. Cleaver, your kitchen always looks so c...  |  Japanese children fight valien... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments