Tag Archives: bbc

Is it the BBC’s fault that Bargain Hunt is so popular?

I have a confession to make. I watch BBC’s antiques competition, Bargain Hunt, three times a week. Perversely, I watch it with the volume turned down, reading the sub-titles (I’m on the treadmill in the gym at the time).

It’s a strange programme, because, as my lifelong auctioneer father often says, in exasperation:

They’re going the wrong way!

What he means is, that prices are lower at auctions than flea markets/boot sales. So, if you buy some things at an auction, you can earn good money on them at a boot sale. But if you go the other way, you are often on a hiding to nothing.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 115 Comments

Tim Farron on BBC Question Time tonight

It’s not often that I can bear to watch Question Time these days. I tend to take the view that my life is too short to cope with the likes of Quentin Letts or Melanie Phillips for an hour late on a Thursday night.

However, there is good reason to watch tonight. Here is the panel:

And here is Tim’s own billing:

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Paddy slams Tory plans for the BBC

The Huffington Post reports what it describes as Paddy’s “blazing rant” about the Tories’ plans for the BBC. To be fair, they have probably never witnessed or been on the receiving end of an actual Paddy rant. This is mild in comparison. However, his comments were certainly robust and there is an audio clip of them on the report.

He told audience members at Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions’ that were the Conservatives still in coalition with his party they would “never have gotten away” with changing the BBC’s governance rules that meant they could appoint the new executive’s Chair and deputy.

Ashdown warned that letting the government oversee the two most important positions would risk compromising on the BBC’s impartiality.

To rapturous applause, he argued: “The BBC is listened to with respect all the way round the world because it is known to be impartial, that’s why it has the standing that it does.

“But the BBC should be run independently and not by the government and I can tell you very straightforwardly if we Lib Dems had stayed in they’d have never got away with putting a board in there, many of whom – slightly less than 50% – are going to be appointed by the government.

“I’m with Norman Fowler, the ex-Chairman of the Conservative party, who said none of them should be appointed by the government – they should all be independent…

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: The Tories should leave the BBC alone. We all have a stake in it

The BBC is the subject of Nick Clegg’s regular Standard column this week. He argues strongly against the sort of intervention outlined in the Government’s White Paper and lists the ways in which the Tories have picked fight with the institutions we hold dear.

In the absence of a clear plan, and unchallenged by any meaningful opposition, they have indulged their own prejudices: picking fights with the BBC, junior doctors, headteachers, refugees, low-paid workers, housing association tenants and each other on Europe. No wonder they bounce from one ill-judged initiative to the next. As each announcement disintegrates on contact with political daylight, they are forced into a series of humiliating U-turns, from enforced academisation of schools to disability benefit cuts. So nursing their own bias against the BBC is a symptom, rather than a cause, of the underlying problem: unchallenged power without a sense of purpose.

The BBC isn’t perfect, he argues, but it’s still one of this country’s proudest achievements:

Some argue that the Tories are simply echoing the views of their backers in the Murdoch press and the Daily Mail. Others say many Conservatives seem to view the BBC as a political enemy, run by a cabal of Guardian-reading academics and latte-sipping metropolitan Lefties with an axe to grind.

I have no idea whether these allegations are true — though the idea that the BBC is biased against the Conservatives is patently ludicrous. In fact, if unwittingly, the BBC provided a huge boost to the Conservatives last year by obsessing about the prospect of a Labour-minority Government, so amplifying the Conservatives’ central campaign message. Given that every political party at some point seems to think the BBC is against them — from red-faced SNP supporters during the Scottish independence referendum to the revolting sexist bilge directed at political editor Laura Kuenssberg by angry Corbynistas last week — it suggests that it is probably in the right place. God knows I have had my own grumbles about Lib-Dem representation, or lack of it, on BBC programmes in the past

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Lord Anthony Lester writes…We will march in the streets for the BBC

Tomorrow the government will publish a white paper setting out its plans for the future of the BBC. At the BAFTA awards on Sunday the director Peter Kosminsky rightly received a standing ovation. He used his acceptance speech to voice his fear that the White Paper will compromise our precious, independent, world-renowned organisation. He cautioned that the BBC was on a path to evisceration that would leave the broadcasting landscape bereft – and the output of television and radio determined solely by what lines the pockets of shareholders.

Those fears are not fanciful. The BBC has retained its reputation for world-class programming over the last decade despite increasingly painful cuts. As Lord Patten pointed out in a major lecture at the Reuter’s institute last week, the BBC’s real income has fallen over the past decade by more than 15%. In the past five years alone BSkyB’s revenues went up by more than 16% and ITV’s increased by 21%.

Being effective as a public services broadcaster depends on having a guaranteed source of revenue. That is and has been the licence fee. It must be owned by the BBC, not by the government. It must not be sliced off to feed commercial rivals. The government has no business raiding it, like when it dumped the cost of free licences for the over 75s on the BBC rather than taxpayers. That undermined morale within the BBC as well as public trust and confidence. The BBC is not an arm of government that sets welfare policy and it would cause public outrage if it were forced to become one. The BBC must stand independent from government, free to call it to account.

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Willie Rennie’s most embarrassing moments – and his favourite films

In London, they have the taxi thing, but in Scotland, the BBC are doing a Leaders’ Lift Challenge. As they travel up the lift in what I presume is their Glasgow HQ, people get on and ask random questions.

Here’s Willie Rennie’s. The answer to “Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?” is very sweet. And we find out about the transgressions in his past. Stealing apples, indeed.

This comes out as a BMG opinion poll had two bits of potential good news. First of all, 51% backed the idea of a penny on tax for education, which is the party’s key policy in this election. On hearing this, Willie said:

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How the Scottish Liberal Democrats are winning this campaign

This morning I headed into Edinburgh at the crack of dawn to take part in a panel on Radio Scotland show Good Morning Scotland.

I got a bit of a shock at the station as there was hardly anywhere to park, which I hadn’t expected for that hour. The reason became clear when I got to the platform and saw lots of people in running gear, heading into town for the Great Edinburgh Run.

I have to say it is much easier to be discussing your election campaign when your leader is on the form of your life and when voters are repeating your campaign messages back to you on the doorsteps and you are winning the campaign with fantastic events involving seals, planes, canoes and happy children in a soft play area. You can listen to what I had to say here from about 1 hour 41 minutes in.

People like the optimism, boldness and fun of our campaign. They like the penny on tax for education, investing from nursery to college. They like the investment in mental health that we’d bring. They like Willie Rennie. He had people in Alloa, not the most ardent Lib Dem stronghold, come up to him yesterday and tell him they were voting for us for the first time. It feels better out there than it has for a long time. I’m not going to make any wild predications, but I think it is reasonable to think that it is possible for us to send a bigger contingent to Holyrood than we currently have. We need to build on the early success of the campaign over the next three weeks.

I wanted to concentrate on us and the good things about our campaign, but if I had had the chance to talk about the others, I’d have taken the SNP to task on their utter timidity. They have been going on about getting more powers for Scotland forever. Now they have them, they are barely using them. It’s like giving them a Ferrari that they won’t ever get out of second gear. 

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 29th May - 7:20am
    @ Paul, No unlike the BBC it produces a mix of ( in my opinion), good and bad. I probably watch more of Channel 4...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 29th May - 12:38am
    Jayne "You are correct, the programmes I mentioned are on Channel 4. A publicly owned, commercially funded organisation that has a remit that is not...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 29th May - 12:35am
    Jayne "It matters not that the BBC innovates and nurtures some programmes that prove popular in the long term. Having done so, if a programme...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 29th May - 12:28am
    Jayne "I have never watched any of the programmes that you mention, because as far as I am concerned, watching TV is mostly a mentally...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 29th May - 12:25am
    Jayne "PS. If Strictly Come Dancing’ , is challenging in that it teaches about intricate dance steps, its voting audience seem to be averse to...
  • User AvatarGeorge Kendall 28th May - 9:33pm
    @J Dunn But Sal Bringing supports reform that'd get rid of her job for life. If only Tory MPs in safe seats would do the...