September 22, 2006

Iain Dale's Diary: Should BBC Current Affairs Entertain or Inform?

Sunny Hundal and Iain Dale have both questioned the ability of the BBC to inform rather than use its Current Affairs programs to educate. Both are relatively too sanguine in my view about the BBC and its willingness to really present proper debate. I worked on a BBC documentary on Oliver Cromwell a couple of years ago as a researcher and was furious with what happened because the producer and his mates were less interested in the way that people in the seventeenth century thought about the world than about how they dressed. We spent hours on buttons and dogs, and no time explaining what Cromwell wanted out of the civil war, that my producer explained was too complicated. We missed aspects of the civil war like the clash between soldiers over democracy during the Putney Debates, missed out the whole of the conflict in Scotland and Ireland. What we presented to the public was a caricature in which twentieth century personalities with twentieth century beliefs and motivations were put in seventeenth century costume

Having said that when it comes to factual programming the real places where it is still done well seem exclusively to be in connection with radio- programs like In our Time. There is another problem which is the ego of presenters like Kirsty Wark on Newsnight Review who want to dominate people who know much more than they do about a subject. That is a feature of the corporation's news output as well- the unwillingness to realise that there are people more expert than they are and the arrogance of journalists.

See also Iain Dale's Diary: Should BBC Current Affairs Entertain or Inform?

2 comments:

edmund said...

this post is almost paradoci in it's paranoia- the idea the executive is a puppet of the Catholic chuch when they pushed ahead with allowing councils to promote homosexuality despite overwhelming public opposition is proof of this.

I may add that the other part of the post - about how people get pregnatn because of the chance of the council house, is contradictory,and whilst not very nice likely to have rather more in it!

edmund 2 said...

whoops wrong post- i was trying to say hear hear -and the scary thing is just about everyone whose educated belives this