Thursday, 27 August 2015

in the thick of a deep media review

A spin-off from the Edinburgh Fringe this year has been the side events taking place. No, that's the wrong way around isn't it? The Fringe is supposed to be the side event for the main Festival.


Yesterday evening it was the MacTaggart lecture at the EICC, which is part of the Edinburgh Television Festival. Armando Iannucci gave the talk, which is a plea about the need to defend the UK television industry. I'm with him on this one.

As an example, instead of getting a bunch of Establishment interests to review the Beeb, there needs to be another way. I understand the use of the experts chosen, because they can ensure the *ahem* right paths for their relevant interest. In Iannucci's words:

"I see executives, media owners, industry gurus, all talented people; but not a single person who’s made a classic and enduring television show, not a presenter, a writer, director or creative producer, no Moffat or Wainwright or Mulville or Mercurio..."

Maybe the production side is better represented? Iannucci again:

"...nor do I see anyone from our world-class post-production industry or from design or drama, no-one from the enormous world-beating service of day-to-day production, to give their views, to offload their expertise on the difficulties and the joys and the challenges of making world standard public service broadcasting."

Come to think of it, there's no regular viewers represented either. I notice Whittingdale has asked to see Iannucci this morning. We have to hope this is not some kind of reflex tokenism.

And it's bonkers to say that the Beeb shouldn't do web or multi-channel multi-platform. The whole premise of media is now skewed exactly to these varied demands.

Britain has major soft power in the world, with global influence driven through its culture, media and education. The Beeb and UK Television is a significant part of this non-weapons-system.

That doesn't stop the creeping ambition of the imperial elite who drive artificial outrage towards the BBC. This political agenda spin is towards capitalising yet more of Britain away to offshore interests. Cameron won't admit that there's people whispering in his ear, but I still remember that Jeremy Hunt situation around the BskyB bid in 2012. Enough said?

And I can't help noticing, that for every person wanting to defend the UK media industry, there seems to be several saying abolish the licence fee and so on. There's wider repercussions than the 45p per day cost of BBC telly, radio and internet throughout the land.

Here's a copy of Armando Iannucci's well articulated speech.

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