27/04/2019. I’ve no doubt that BBC standards are sinking; with ever-increasing budget cuts it must be difficult to maintain any kind of quality. But even so, last night’s short viewing, after a day in London that left me thirsty for a little quality content, brought not only disappointment but the same reaction as that of certain friends, shouting at the TV in rage.
I began by trying to watch BBC2’s latest series ‘The Looming Tower’. I really did try to watch, I made allowances for the fact that US TV audiences probably have little understanding of the rest of the world, and that standards of content are correspondingly poor. But even so, my irritation with this first episode mounted as the ageing FBI hero came home from an office where his only role was to tell his ‘effing’ subordinates what they were doing wrong, to a wife who was listening to opera (of course!).
The gift of flowers he presented to her seemed to have the effect of some kind of marvellous aphrodisiac, a sequence that left me laughing in disbelief. But when the next clip showed a supposed FBI operative trying to serve a search warrant on a household somewhere in Kenya, I lost patience. I was definitely with the housewife who told him to get lost. Abandon hope all ye who try to watch this series.
Time to switch channels. Really BBC, I know you are desperate for content, but expecting us to take such childlike content seriously is simply insulting your audience. You would do better with Tom and Jerry.
Maybe ‘BBC News at Ten’ would be more deserving of attention. I watched a BBC correspondent interview the President of an Asian country – the reporter’s legs casually crossed while he held forth confidently to the President. I wasn’t listening – I was hypnotised by the sight of the correspondent’s desert gumboots, as he sat in a priceless Queen Anne armchair waving his feet around above an equally valuable carpet.
The President, of a country that had recently suffered the most atrocious incident of terrorism, was meanwhile trying to be polite and answer questions. But I couldn’t help wondering if some reporters have any sense of how arrogant or offensive they appear on the screen, especially to those who might not understand the language.
These are people who are supposed to be professionals – working for the BBC, a name which still carries weight in some parts of the world. I was left wondering how much longer that reputation will last, given the lack of attention paid to presentation, let alone content, today.
I gave up at this point and switched off. And I see why more and more people can’t be bothered with mainstream broadcasting channels – if you treat your audiences like children then those with any intelligence will switch to something else.
I did in the end return to the Beeb’s TV output that night, if only to watch the ever-brilliant Graham Norton show. Maybe we should just have light entertainment on the Beeb, and leave the serious stuff to Channel 4!