Thursday 30 October 2008

Stubble 3

Well, it seems that edgy old BBC has mishandled this one so spectacularly that the story's still making headlines and they've even lost one of these two precious specimens of 'talent' (and, for the time being, have as good as lost the other). This time the old tactic of issuing anodyne statements, setting the bureaucratic mills grinding and waiting for it all to blow over haven't worked. The BBC assumption that the real problem is not with them but with the Public's silly benighted attitudes never fitted the case this time, and they should have dealt with it swiftly and decisively. Yes I know - 'swiftly and decisively' are words that don't belong in the same sentence, the same world, as BBC management. Now that they've allowed it to blow up into a colossal row, they have predictably drawn their wagons into a circle. Astonishingly (well it would be if this wasn't the BBC) no senior executive (with one minor exception) has given an interview anywhere in the media. The gaze of the sclerotic, hypertrophied, barely mobile BBC is, as ever, turned inward on itself. The controller of Radio 2 has let it be known that she'll resign if any of her production people are sacked. This can only mean that she thinks the Ross/Brand broadcast was acceptable - in which case it would be better if she did go. We should remind ourselves that what those two did was probably illegal, and the broadcasting of it was certainly a massive editorial misjudgment - and symptomatic, as the scale and duration of this row have demonstrated, of something very wrong, especially with the BBC but also with the whole of broadcasting.
Well, I've always said that no good would come of a BBC whose Director General sports stubble all over his face.


  1. Very well analyzed Nige. The past 48 hours have been a showcase for the causes behind the media ship BBC breaking its moorings. To say that they inform and entertain would contravene the trade descriptions act. Had you or I made that telephone call then plod would have felt our collars and we would have ended up on the sex offenders register. Because it was the BBC, answerable to no one (unless it is Blair and the Hutton enquiry after which they were on a leash) and because they are highly paid employees with large salaries plus egos and therefore above the normal rules of decency, the first reaction was who, us ? Now of course the rabbit caught in the car headlights scenario is with us. Will we ever be rid of these people, what on earth will it take?

  2. But isn't is possible that this is all being stoked up by the granddaughter in an attempt to increase her celebrity?

  3. Elementary, Mr Brit, elementary...

    You’re never further than a couple of yards from a turd. It was ugly. And if it had been someone else, a big bag of rubbish. But don't hold your breath. The real irony of this entire debacle is that Russell’s as well as Ross’s and the granddaughter's rating will now rocket sky-high. They can play anything, anywhere, anytime. When they leave, they leave with the cash.

    Indeed, it is gratifying to see such commercial competence expressed in the easy, unaffected manner of an adolescent prank. Such are the subtleties of show-business. That stuff gives me a buzz sometimes. For in spite of its self-serving ironies, it all has tremendous flourish...


  4. If that's the world you occupy selina, you have my pity.

  5. I think you're right about Brand and The Girl No One Had Heard Of Until This Blew Up - but I think for Ross, who's been part of the BBC landscape for some while now, this is serious. As it is for the idiots who decided to pay him £18 million...

  6. Quite a good scandal so far. All the usual suspects are there including the prime minister, the Daily Mail, Max Clifford and plenty of lawyers. Only a naked footballer is missing. The BBC's boss sunning himself in agreeable climes while the arguments rage is a nice touch, too. And at least the word "lewd", which had fallen into some disuse, has been given a massive workout.

    What's missing is courage. The top folks could have fired those concerned or defended them right there and then. They could have said "My decision right or wrong. My job means making decisions like this. If you don't like it, sack me too. Your call." Instead we've got bureaucrats hiding behind committees.

    I fear Brit and Selena are bang on the money. Even so, this is a pretty clear warning shot that our ghastly, F-word celebrity culture isn't going to come through the recession unscathed. Amen to that.

  7. No Malty, you will never be rid of those people-not even if you take the rather extreme step I did, and get rid of TV completely; the stench will get in under the door.
    The BBC governors have been replaced by the current Trust, now sitting in judgement, but a recent chair of the governors, Sir Christopher Bland, lived down to his name this morning on Today. Given a light grilling by John Humphrys, he simply refused to criticise Auntie, beyond suggesting that if the management had moved a little quicker, the storm that now rages could have been avoided - in other words the usual corporate tosh.
    Brit is off course too, by suggesting the girl may be trying to keep it going to revive a flagging career, or perhaps to get back at the clown Brand; if you seek revenge, dig two graves.
    No, I feel, as I suggested in the earlier post, that it is another example of the 'downward trawl' by the Beeb, sadly trying to keep up with 'edgy yoof', and missing their real calling yet again.

  8. Way back in the mists of time, when the world was young, I worked with a man, by then close to retirement, who had been John Logie Bairds Understrapper, in the Crystal Palace days. We had many a conversation about the great man, Gerry's opinion of him was somewhat jaundiced, apparently Baird tried to develop a television that included many moving parts added to which he had a tendency to become bankrupt on a regular basis, he called the thing an infernal contraption, all in all you can say television started out as it meant to go on, a complete ballsup.

  9. BBC9
    At the opening of the new Westfield spendorium Boris said..
    "He also called on BBC executives and entertainers to “disgorge themselves of taxpayers’ money” at the centre, helping “poor and needy children”, adding he was confident that the shopping centre will be here after “this recession, the next recession, and the one after that”.
    Nice one, Elektor.

  10. Someone observed that no good would ever come of this new thing called 'television' as the word was half Greek and half Latin. Those were the days...