Sunday 9 October 2011

Lee Nelson's well good show. False advertising?

The BBC cuts.
Ooohh they must sting! Iain Dale has a good piece on his new blog, using his TV and radio knowledge to good effect about overmanning, comfort and pacing at the state broadcaster.

I thought I'd defend the BBC a bit. Not that I'm much of a fan. Its just that I know if it was part of a TV package I'd get it and it would cost about the same as now for much less content. £3 a week I'd pay just for the radio stations. I spend half that now to have Spotify. However looking at the figures for just the old chestnuts BBC3 and BBC 4, they are hard to defend.

The argument for scrapping BBC 3 / 4 does need looking at.

These stations use the CBBC {3} and CBeebies {4} transmitters. So in conception they were to utilise equipment that would otherwise go unused.

However, both stations are really poor. The arguments in favour of either don't make much sense. A look at the most popular BBC 3 programs show that they are really BBC 1 programs. Torchwood, Eastenders, Gavin and Stacy.
Its a station designed to compete with More 4, E4 C5. Why? Who knows. Its probably in some remit somewhere.

BBC 4's ratings are pretty feeble. Some Freeview digital stations surpass it. { Five USA gets close. More 4 , E4, Film $ all many more viewers. In context BBC4 is about as popular as the Yesterday channel.} The few decent BBC 4 shows are repeated endlessly along with the passable, poor and unwatched.

The arguments for BBC 3 {remember the ad campaign?} If we didn't have BBC 3 top comedy shows such as The Office, Gavin & Stacy , Little Britain, wouldn't get made.
And a poor argument that is.

If you think back the BBC used to make top quality entertainment for idle teens and young adults. I used to watch them.

Not the nine O'clock news. Black Adder, Red Dwarf, The Young Ones, The League of Gentlemen, Alan Partridge, Bottom, The Day Today, The New Statesman and so on. These weren't aired on some alternative platform first. They were made for TV, sometimes after a successful radio trial and went straight on BBC 1 or BBC 2. Why would that not happen again?

BBC 3 costs around £120 million. Quite a lot of money for what is essentially BBC 1 {+ 1 hour} with added Family Guy. BBC 4 is around £75 million. A lot of cash for the excellent Madmen that should be on BBC 2 anyway.

The irony is if the BBC had taken a different route with its huge content archives it could be running its own DAVE + Gold, instead of selling the content {BBC WORLDWIDE has a large stake in UKTV}, & getting much the same audience as it does for 3+4.. Adding in the current best shows from 3+4 it could get pretty close numbers?

BARB figs 2011
Broadcaster's Audience Research Board

Average Daily Reach in '000's

BBC3 - 4,200
BBC4 - 2,000

= 6200

Dave - 2,800
Gold {subscription channel}- 1,200

= 4000

+ if you add
{Gold +1+} - 500

= 4500

Strip out the BBC 1 shows and I'm sure they'd be quite close.
In fact that may be the best and most cost effective use for BBC 3 and BBC 4 - Become BBC1 +1hour and BBC2 +1hour stations.
{I'd still love to know the Dave budget.

Lee Nelson's Well Good Show in the title. - A BBC 3 show - One reviewer said the 'Well Good Show' title was "a case of shameless false advertising", whilst The Scotsman newspaper labelled the comedy a "feeble excuse for such an unoriginal and hopelessly unamusing embarrassment".
In the comments on TV guide its battered again and again.
It got 700,000 figs first show so BBC3 recommissioned for a second series. Its getting 500,000 ish now. So despite being panned everywhere, that's actually pretty respectable.


TheFatBigot said...

Wasn't The New Statesman an ITV show?

Bill Quango MP said...

It was..Yorkshire TV.
The BBC also made two episodes.

Old BE said...

It seems to me that BBC3 and BBC4 are trying to fulfil the same "remit" that was behind the introduction of BBC2 in the first place. 1,2,3 and 4 should be merged back into 2: one for mainstream populist stuff and one for more "experimental" comedy and drama.

With catch-up TV there just is not the need for so much broadcast bandwidth.

Radio 1 should be privatised as is.

Radio 2 should be privatised as is.

Radio 3 should be privatised as is.

World Service and Radio 4 should be merged into a pious intellectualist world reports and high-brow entertainment channel.

People seem to like the kids' channels. I have no objection to them being part of the licence fee package as long as they don't waste too much money.

There, licence fee cut in half in one blog comment.

Electro-Kevin said...

I think the BBC is good value for money.

It's such a pity about the bias. For that I think it would be better if we didn't have it.

Budgie said...

I decided long ago that the BBC was so biased that I would not contribute to it. The biggest problem is the BBC does not realise it is biased.

Global warming, abortion, the EU, the death penalty, Labour, Conservatives; whichever side you are on, you know which side the BBC is on.

measured said...

It is less biased than it was.

Why is Question Time on so late?

So much dumbing down has gone on, note how the public particularly like programmes that display a degree of skill.

GSD said...

I used to think the BBC were missing a trick by not having a golden oldies repeat channel - until I saw some of those "I 'heart' the xx's" progs on bbc2 with old TV clips. How unwatchable a lot of my then favorite show were! Factor in all the WW2 drama that the beeb was (in)famous for in the 70s & I'm not sure what's left...Saturday Swap Shop perhaps?

Of course there are timeless classics like Faulty Towers, Rome & Band of Brothers etc, but they probably wouldn't show those in case it reduced DVD sales...

GSD said...

...and I totally didn't make the on-topic point I was trying to! Doh!

We've only had digital for 18 months or so, but I can guarantee we've watched more "on demand" tv (iPlayer etc) than any of the new dig channels - surely this is a better way to use resources than BBC3/4 and all the +1 channels? They should turn all those into iPlayer-only channels, flog off/rent the frequencies & use the proceeds to make some good dramas for 1 & 2. Then flog the DVDs of those dramas to add even more money to next year's pot.

There - the BBC sorted by George in one paragraph!

Ryan said...

I pay £45 per month for my SKy package, and £15 a month or so for the Beeb. The Beeb doesn't seem to stack up well in terms of channels vs Sky.

Only Beeb progs we watch are HIGNFY, Eastenders and TopGear. All these would survive quite happily on commercial TV.

The Beebs local radio is dire compared to local commercial radio, Radio 2 is nothing without Wogan, Radio 1 has always been dire with 30year olds pretending to be down with the 14 year olds that make up most of the listeners.

Fact is the Beeb buys in most of its programming from the same sources as commercial TV, so we are bound to see less and less difference between them. Sky is getting better and better at picking winning TV series.

Bill Quango MP said...

BE. Agree. The idea of a BBC3 as an alternative to E4/c4 hasn't worked. Too many shows that just aren't any good.
And BBC 4 as sort of Radio 4 has done even worse. Guardian television.The best of its output could easily sit on BBC2. Both stations are only just above their commercial rivals in numbers.
I suspect their budgets are many times more.

EK - The BBc IS good value for money.I expect if it was part of a paid package, with options for adverts or pay more for non adverts, it would still attract at least 90% of the revenue it already receives. It could pick up all the free-loaders from France and Ireland too. It would be independent. It could make even more use of its commercial arm.
The issue isn't so much the cost of the licence fee, but the compulsion to pay it. By being forced to buy a service that you may/may not want it is irritating to be allowed no say over its content,schedules, variety etc.

Bill Quango MP said...

Budgie, Measured.. Bias normally revolves around politics, religion.
The BBC struggles with both.

I listen to LBC on Saturday morning.10-1pm. Ken Livingstone and David Mellor, phone in.
The only thing that unites them is a dislike of Cameron.
Yet the show is well balanced, covers good topics, doesn't turn into a slagging match. Its not Newsnight but it is entertaining.

Probably the best discussion show on the BBC is Hard Talk that seems to be on at 2am. Its good because it does ask hard questions. Its like Today, only without the person being grilled waffling in the knowledge that 4 minutes are up and there's just 60 seconds to go.

Bill Quango MP said...

GSd. There are some shockers. The best are already shown. But a BBC 'repeats' channel with bought in content would surely attract more viewers. Captain Pugwash can't be that out of date for toddlers? He's still a pirate.

I have Iplayer on the TV now. Its still not as it should be, but we're nearly there. Internet, on demand TV, shopping in an easy to use format.

{Whilst waiting for the new Tv I didn't have a set for 10 days and didn't miss it all. I seriously thought about not getting one.
But then..Downton Abbey? Can't miss that.}

Bill Quango MP said...

If the BBC offered you all the channels it has now, + all the radio stations, + red button {why would anyone want that?} as part of £10 added to your Sky package, would you take it?

BBC local radio is often held up as the greatest thing on radio. I agree with you. Its appalling, hospital radio of the worst kind. I used to travel 1000 miles a week all across the uk and listened to BBC local radio for about 10 hours a year. Almost any commercial station anywhere in the UK was better.

SKY Atlantic. Stealing the BBC's USP. HBO/Sky/BBC partnership.
Quality drama is making a comeback, but its hellishly expensive to make.

Budgie said...

BQ said: "Budgie, Measured.. [BBC] Bias normally revolves around politics, religion."

No, no, no.

The bias of the BBC is that of the "mere trousered ape" (phrase from C S Lewis). The inbuilt bias of the BBC is in the world outlook of the people who run it. They are totally without self awareness. From Dr Who to the Today program a set of ghastly "of-course-isms" and fashionable views are constantly revealed. Unless you are gripped by the same world views, of course.

Bill Quango MP said...

I see what you mean Budgie.

I have a relative who is a film/tv editor.
He does say that when the bosses go to pitch a new series to BBC they make sure to try and tick as many boxes as possible. They take many of them out when they go to a commercial channel.

The 1st is always cost.
But somewhere on the list will be diversity, climate change,social deprivation,the evils of humanity.

Later they try to take out as many as they can as it kills the plot stone dead if the hero has to say "If any man {or woman ..or alternative gender lifechoice} moves and you'll eat lead...even though I'm normally non violent society and have only been forced to act this way in the face intense provocation from circumstances beyond my control."

I suppose its why shows like Survivors - Bonekickers fell completely flat. Try too hard to be 'inclusive'.

They have similar trouble in America.
City Hall HAS to be the bad guy.
And the federal government HAS to be uncaring.

Wouldn't it be great if just once the evil superbug that kills us all was released by nature rather than a heartless super-capitalist corporation cutting corners to make a WMD gas.

Budgie said...

Yes, that's it exactly BQ.

Ryan said...

"If the BBC offered you all the channels it has now, + all the radio stations, + red button {why would anyone want that?} as part of £10 added to your Sky package, would you take it?"

Definitely not. Too much of its output (especially that which is watched by my family) is readily replicated elsewhere, or the Beeb actually sells it to other channels like "Dave".

My kids never watch the Beeb. I think that will kill it off because the Blue Peter loyalty of my generation is being washed down the pan. Everything that kids watch today is on Sky: cartoon channel, Simpsons, Futurama, Twilight series, Glee, MTV, Babestation. The rest is on ITV - X- factor and Britain's Got Talent. Why would they want the Beeb?

I bet Downton Abbey came as a real shock to Beeboids.

Bill Quango MP said...

I love Downton Abbey.

I'm well aware of its faults as pointed out by A.N Wilson.I don't care.

I've read Mr Wilson's books. Well, snoozed through them really. After the Victorians: the world our parents knew is a rambling, confusing, occasionally rewarding, but too often its just a collection of the author's opinions presented as facts.
The Victorians wasn't much better either.

I've given up with him.

He may think Downton should be an examination of the social and political upheavals that brought about the breakup of the landed aristocracy, the demise of agriculture and the formation of lower class political power.

But if he doesn't realise Downton Abbey is just EastEnders for the middle classes then he's even more pompous and out of touch than he appears on his 'Any Questions' appearances.

At the same time BBC re-did Upstairs/Downstairs. I expect it was intended as a spoiler once they saw the money being spent by ITV. But UD wasn't nearly as good. It was period drama old style. Missing the fun.