March 25, 2015

Thoughts on the BBC and Clarkson

While it's true that this is primarily a Classic Television blog, I suppose  I ought to have something to say about the latest Top Gear/Jeremy Clarkson kerfuffle, seeing as how I rated it my favorite television show when I did my Top Ten ratings a couple of years ago.  I don't really care to get into details, since there are enough angry bloggers in the world without adding one more unhinged commentary.  And I would be apt to be slightly unhinged if I started going on about it.  I suppose it's at least partly because I've always had a somewhat ambivalent view of "authority," especially when the authority isn't worthy of respect, so I'll just offer the following notes about the organization at the heart of the matter, the BBC, and ask this question - why should we care what this outfit thinks about anything?

After all, their own internal investigation disclosed that corporation officials were aware of and did nothing about a massive child abuse scandal that may have involved up to 1,000 children.  And that wasn't the only sleazy scandal of its type at the Beeb, unfortunately.  You think the Catholic Church had problems.

Then then there are the numerous reports over the years, both internal and external, show the news department to have a liberal bias in their reporting about everything from immigration and Islamism to politics and think tank reports to religion and multiculturalism, and spent big money to keep results of at least one internal report confidential.

There's also an entire page on the always-reliable Wikipedia documents allegations of unproved news reports, use of faked footage in reports, and other inaccuracies.  (Including, yes, Top Gear.)

This is not to mention the accusations that some of their most popular programs (among which, sadly, Doctor Who) promote a homosexual agenda - accusations that are, as usual, met by smug denials.

I could go on, but you know the old saying - it's like catching fish in a barrel.  The point is, being sacked by the BBC is not necessarily something bad; one could even view it as a badge of honor, as long as you didn't have to depend on your living for it.

I'm not going to get into the game of predicting what happens next, whether ratings will plummet, fans will continue to protest, lawsuits will be filed, other presenters will leave.  It's too easy to make predictions like that in the heat of the moment and be left later on with egg on your face.*  Oftentimes we predict what we want to have happen rather than what we think will happen, and I think that undermines one's credibility as a commentator.  (See: Fox News on election night 2014.)

*I don't know about you, but I prefer my eggs on a plate.

I can only speak for myself, that I'm not watching BBC America anymore, and I'm not going to willingly purchase any of their products in such a way that they make money off me.  So what if that means no second season of Broadchurch - I understand it wasn't that good anyway.  Fact is, the only other show I watched with regularity on the channel was Doctor Who, but I can afford to wait a year and catch the latest season on DVD, and - this is the point - only by buying used sets.  I'm not necessarily thrilled about it, but this way the Beeb isn't going to profit by me.  Most of the British television I watch - Poirot, Inspector Lewis, The Avengers, The Saint, The Prisoner, Danger Man - wasn't done by the BBC anyway. And while their newsreaders have very pleasant accents, I already get enough liberal bilge from American networks.

If you really have to see something they're broadcasting, there are other ways to get that programming.  I wouldn't ordinarily say this, but go ahead and pirate it from somewhere else.  Have a friend burn discs for you from some "special" source.  Do whatever it takes, but don't let them have your money.

BBC, I don't effing care what you think.  Go eff yourselves - you should be good at it.


  1. I stopped watching BBC America a long time ago, because frankly, their programming sucks (IMO).

    And that opinion of mine has nothing to do with any supposed liberal bias, homosexual bias (I mean, what does that even mean???) or ANY other supposed bias. I formed that opinion because they DON’T AIR BRITISH SHOWS! (all caps mine)

    When I’d turn the channel to BBC America, when I first got it on my satellite package, I was hoping to see sitcoms. dramas, etc… that I’d never have the chance to see here in the states. (unless my local PBS station would air them, many yeas after first airing in the UK) And for the first year I had the channel, I did get a chance to see such shows. But as the years went by, what did I see constantly on their programming schedule?

    “Star Trek the Next Generation”, “The X-Files” and many, many movies that were made in America.
    Really. Programs and films I could see on dozens of other channels, originating from the US.

    BBC America has become what most all other niche cable channels have become. A carbon copy of each other.

    And that’s why I don’t bother with that channel anymore.

    1. I think that's a very good point. And it's not even as if Star Trek and X-Files have anything to do with Britain, other than that Patrick Stewart and Gillian Anderson are Brits. Is that all you need to have a series on BBCA? Aside from the points I made, I think you're absolutely right about the content of the programming.

  2. I applaud your decision to go the used disc route. I've been buying used DVDs & Blu-Rays for about a decade now because I refuse to support the American studios. Not only because I don't want to fund their liberal bilge, as you put it (although that would be enough of a reason) but also because of their consumer-abusing policies. I had supported more than my fair share of classic TV series by buying each season as they came out on disc, only to be given the finger by the studio when they would release a complete series set containing TV movies or other great-to-have content exclusive to the new set. There was no way I was buying it all again to get the "bonus" disc that should have been released stand-alone for the loyal fans. I've also had it with the perpetual extension of copyright perpetrated by the studios. I could go on and on about the big studios' abusive nature, but I'll stop there. As a bonus, some used disc sites have great sales that can save you a lot of money. Buy 'em while you can though, because the studios seem heck-bent on making things available via streaming only, so they can have a perpetual river of income for very little cost to them (and very few rights for us).


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!