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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

BBC no longer ahead of its time

Just as we were fearing there might be no end to the management lunacy at the BBC, there has been a first sign of sensible thinking at the top of the crumbling corporation. On the radio this morning we hear the news that the broadcaster has 'cancelled its contract for screening Formula One races three years early'.

And I should think so too. What a bananas piece of scheduling was that, screening Grand Prix three years before they happen? Imagine, it is 2pm or thereabouts on Sunday 17th July 2016, and you are sat with your chums in front of the massive Korean TV which shows, from various angles, the silent empty tarmac of the Silverstone circuit, while a team of pundits explains how the race might be developing, lap by lap, in three years time. And here, one says, as the camera shows the famous left hander, the leading cars should be entering Maggots for the forty third time. Depending on the weather we might expect them all to have called into the pits at least once for a change of tyres, and etc etc. What sort of entertainment is that?

I suppose those who lobbied for the ludicrous contract had the obvious advantages in mind. I can just picture the scheduling committee meeting at which the decision to sign it was taken. A roomful of self-obsessed media types, nursing their lattes and ipads, checking off items on a PC ticklist- no the content would not offend LGBT viewers, yes it had been approved by the religious impact board, and so on, while the sponsor points out the attractively low cost of the broadcasting rights for races that have yet to happen, and that the outside broadcast van wouldn't get stuck in a ten-mile traffic jam of returning spectators on the A46 as it would if they were to screen the race itself.

I suppose we should be grateful that the idea did not spread from BBC Sport to the other farcical fiefdoms, especially BBC News with its mania for speculation. One imagines an 'Election Night Special' three years ahead of the election itself, at which a panel of pundits pontificates about the possible contenders, swing seats, the likely timing of the first completed count, and so on. No (head waggles in sad retrospection) the BBC is not the broadcasting force we had made it in my day.

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