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Why "Sport Relief" Showed Up All That Is Wrong With The BBC (Or - Until The BBC Stop Showing So Many Repeats They Should Exempt "iPlayer" From The TV Licence!)
The BBC have a great service called "iPlayer" which I use to catch up on TV programmes I have missed.  (Very occassionally I use it to stream live programmes.)

Apparently some people want to bring the "Catch up" part of iPlayer under the TV Licence.  This is because they want people to stop being able to watch repeats on catch up for free.

Now - I would have no problem with this idea if the current BBC output was not either made up of actual repeats of TV shows which were made years ago or recycling ideas from TV shows which were made years ago.

That is before you account for the absolute rubbish which passes for things like "comedy" nowadays - never mind the sensationalised "documentaries".

Last night I sat through as much as I could of that telethon called "Sports Relief" (my italics).  All I can say is that I am so glad it wasn't a "Comic Relief" year - the programming was dreadful.

I have blogged before about how I feel that the best people to highlight the plight of people in Africa and other places in the world are the natives of the countries themselves.  However, in this case, that is beside the point.

It really is a sorry state of affairs when the funniest thing - and (for me at least) the best thing I saw on that telethon - was an updated version of a TV programme from over 35 years ago with the original main actor.  Michael Crawford was brilliant as he reprised his role of Frank Spencer in "Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em".  (I was left thinking that it was such a shame that John Cleese had alresdy done a "Specsavers" advert with an updated version of my favourite scene from "Fawlty Towers", as well as most of the original cast of "Dad's Army" being dead - I would have loved Arthur Lowe, John Le Messeurier, John Laurie, Clive Dunn, and Ian Lavender, to do an updated version of a scence from one of their episodes.)

When the offering of "Sport Relief" became too embarrasingly awful I ended up skimming though an old episode of "Top of the Pops" from 1981 which had been shown on BBC4 slightly earlier in the evening.  This was much more entertaining to watch.

The main problem with the BBC appears to be that they seem to have decided to go for the lowest common denominator when it comes to programming.

Gone are the days when you could sit down and be truly entertained by a comedy show - or educated by a documentary without wondering what the premise behind it is.

Even Saturday evenings now seem to have been swallowed up by low budget gameshows.

Sometimes I really long for a rollback to the time of things like "The Two Ronnies" or a proper entertainment show.

I would even prefer to have the old "Grandstand" back in the evenings - both for its ability to focus on sports which don't get a look-in nowadays - unless it happens to be an Olympic years - and for it not being yet another gameshow.

You could even do a lot worse than bringing back a show like "Parkinson" with a proper heavyweight host with the right blend of gravitas and humour, as well as guests who people might nt have heard of before.

Failing that - try putting one of my former favourite programmes from the News Channel on either BBC1 or BBC2 during Saturday evening Prime Time viewing.  "Hardtalk" is an excellent programme on the subject of world affairs.

I read a column on the Guardian website a  few weeks ago by David Mitchell, talking about how futile it would be to make the BBC less popular.  I think he has missed the boat with that one.

The BBC should be about education and entertainment without bias or the desire to cause offence.  For me - the recent output has failed on all those levels.

For example - Graham Norton has his place on the TV schedule (preferably after midnight as far as I am concerned) but to treat him as "the new Terry Wogan" just because he is Irish is an insult to Sir Terry.

We have lost those people who used to make the BBC a broadcaster to be proud of - and (from where I am sitting) we have failed to find adequate talent to match it - both in front of the camera and behind the scenes (particularly in the creative department).

No wonder I wish I could watch foreign broadcasters on my TV - I find them a lot more educational and inspirational.

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