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“All for just 37 pence a day”

With the BBC having inexplicably slipped back into some kind of mid-1980s crisis of confidence with doubters and baiters on every side and constant moaning about cuts and budgets from its own staff, something needs to be done and quickly.

And that something is a three-minute promotional film of the sort that used to liberally bedeck the schedules night and day.

Not Mikhail Gorbachev talking about how he used to listen to the World Service while being held prisoner, nothing like that. No, what’s needed is a classic, steadying-the-boat, why-the-licence-fee-matters broadcast, packed with stars and famous faces, in a familiar TV location, and ending with some simple statistic or other about how much the BBC costs you every day.

So let’s have Brucie toetapping his way into the Queen Vic, in the process bumping into Huw Edwards reading a newspaper, Terry Wogan arm-wrestling with Chris Moyles, Jonathan Ross pulling *that* face, Gary Lineker having a kickabout, David Attenborough standing by a pot plant, Natasha Kaplinksy choosing a tune off the jukebox, Dick and Dom playing a video game, Fiona Bruce nibbling on a bag of peanuts, Graham Norton at the piano, French and Saunders falling over, and Alan Yentob sharing a joke with Barbara Windsor behind the bar. Ending with John Cleese walking in, pulling a bemused expression and making a droll remark about how “they haven’t smartened this place up much since I was last here”.

No references to “the unique way” it’s funded. No references to it being broadcasting “at its best”. No references to us making it “what it is”. Just a reminder of how great the BBC is, how little it costs everyone, and how important – and essential – it is in our everyday lives.



  1. Anonymous

    September 9, 2007 at 9:27 am

    A good point, nicely made as ever.

    In rebuttal; why pay a licence fee to the marketing arm of the Lloyd Webber empire?

  2. Anonymous

    September 9, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    I blame that Lord Hutton for this ‘crisis of confidence’, establishment pranny. I’d pay NOT to have ITV at the moment…

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