Saturday, August 25, 2007

Are We Really Getting The TV & Radio We Deserve

Jeremy Paxman's 'attack' on TV yesterday in Edinburgh rang bells with me. Much of what he said apples to radio and to news programmes.

It seems to me that one of the big problems with radio and TV is that its lost sight of what it should be doing. Content is the most important thing, not how we receive it nor the business of technology. Great content will always triumph over clever-for-it’s-own-sake TV and radio. We have programme controllers seemingly obsessed with trying to me-to rather than innovate (the Griff Rhys-Jones 'Mountain' series comes to mind as does ITV's 'Britain's Greatest Views'). Of course innovation is difficult, it requires ambition and above all else it requires risks to be taken. We've subjugated risk for a steady diet of shock.

Can the BBC really be in financial trouble with a budget of £3.5 billion? Well of course it can if it pays the kind of salaries that it does - including Mr Paxman. He earns approximately five times what the prime Minister makes. How many people need News 24? How many people watch it? How much does it cost to run it as a cost per viewer per year? I bet we’d be shocked at how much is spent.

As someone who lives a long way from Islington I have come to understand that many people involved in TV and radio are less in tune with the taste of the nation than they would like to think. We are far more small c conservative than TV would have us believe and are as often as not on a totally differnt page to those who live in the capitol. Are we really chomping at the bit for programmes that have people living off a rubbish tip as Channel 4 are about to broadcast?


r morris said...

Good point, Richard. Broadcasters are afraid to innovate, and they always program to the lowest common denominator. In the States, that means a show needs sex and violence OR that it has to be a reality show.

Occasionally, a daring show will appear, usually a show intended as a throw-away. A good example is "LOST", which was not expected to be a hit but which was so creative and compelling that it surprised everybody. Another example is '24'.

Of course, once a truly innovative show is successful, then we have to have a dozen or more rip-offs that are exactly like it until we are beaten to death with the idea.

BP said...

I must agree, it does appear to most who live 'North of Watford Gap' are of little concern to the London powers that be. That applies equally to the BBC, to other TV providers, and also the Gordon Brown government. He obviously has no interest in opinions from the north, and why should he have - living here in Cumbria it seems that we have no opinion that any Labour government should ever value. In addition - or should I say - to add insult to injury, what about we pensioners, do we count at all! It is all very nice to receive a few crumbs as winter fuel supplement, but how much impact will that have on the average one of us? Personally I am well enough provided for, but by my own efforts, so all I am looking for is services that work, NHS, Police, railways & buses, and in addition a little more respect for those in the not so frozen north of the Wash, and for those who have worked hard to earn our retirement.

michael greenwell said...

pots and kettles with paxman i am afraid

this proves it...