They’re at it again. By “they” I mean the bean counters at the BBC.
Told that the Corporation must save money in these times of austerity, they’ve cast their beady eyes in the direction of the free-to-air digital channels, and BBC Four in particular.
You may well be thinking “so what?”.
Well, a quick glance at the schedules of the other BBC television channels will reveal in the main a wasteland of commercialised populist tat. BBC Four, alone, seems to be a haven for intellectual broadcasting, where you can find documentaries and strands that cover the arts, culture, foreign films, the sciences and humanities. In recent years, BBC Four has also been home to quality US imports, before the avaricial commercial channels topped the bids for new seasons.
In short, BBC Four is what BBC Two once was. It is almost a last bastion of free-to-air quality television broadcasting, and as such must be saved from closure that seems to be based on spite or to salve the consciences of BBC executives. The BBC is more important and better than merely ratings figures, and it’s time the BBC management realised this. The Corporation doesn’t have to compete with the commercial sector. It should concentrate on producing quality programming, on not dumbing everything down to appease the stupid and indolent.
A couple of years ago, the BBC also mooted the idea of closing the digital-only radio stations BBC 6 Music and BBC Asian Network. A spirited defence of both channels, which resulted in increased audience figures, saved both channels because the voice of the listener was heard. A petition has been set up for BBC Four. I encourage you to voice your opinion, and add your name to save the channel so we viewers who still care can still find programmes that educate and entertain, instead of just anæsthetising our brains.