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Home > Media

The BBC at Christmas: why not just give up?

26 November 2004

You've got to admire the sheer, brazen hypocrisy of the BBC. The corporation never tires of explaining how it loves quality programming, innovation and creativity. Senior executives talk about programming that connects with and affects the real world. Programmes are meant to be 'edgy', thinking takes place 'outside the box' and 'new talent' is constantly sought out.

Any what does the TV viewer get? More make-over shows, more celebrity drivel, and more terminally unfunny crap like the Vicar of Dibley and French & Saunders, which recently sank to new depths of incestuousness by featuring Dawn and Jennifer's TV mates, an array of BBC commissioning editors, playing themselves as Dawn and Jennifer 'hilariously' tried to think up an idea for a sketch show.

The gap between rhetoric and reality is nicely illustrated by this Christmas' BBC output. Viewers can look forward to exciting new shows like The Vicar of Dibley, Absolutely Fabulous (this IS just a job creation scheme for The Comic Strip hangers-on, isn't it?) and Auf Wiedersehen Pet, a good show but one that was at its best in the mid-1980s when it had real contemporary relevance.

Other BBC X-mas treats include a show about The Sound of Music, an 'ice-dance special' of Strictly Come Dancing, a 'musical edition' of Eastenders and a 'new' Sherlock Holmes adaptation. And that's what contemporary TV needs: more Sherlock Holmes adaptations. Maybe the BBC should commission some lavish period dramas while they're at it.

At this point, you start to wonder 'Why not just give up?' It's depressingly familiar fare, and the only real innovation is not screening a hideously unfunny Only Fools and Horses in which Raquel discovers she's got breast cancer, or something. The BBC is our national broadcaster, paid for by a handsome licence fee, and the best they can come up with for Christmas is another spread of pleb-tastic light 'entertainment' based on the misguided idea that someone actually likes The Vicar of Dibley.

Why do we need to pay a licence fee for this? Here at TFT we've devised a Christmas schedule that's only slightly worse than the BBC's plans, and without having to employ dozens of highly paid TV executives. If anyone at the BBC is reading this, please feel free to adjust the Christmas schedules accordingly.

The TFT Christmas TV schedules: Christmas Day

8.00am. The Guns of Navarone.

10.00am. Force Ten from Navarone.

12.00pm. The Queen's Speech.

12.10pm. Eastenders. In a Christmas special, the scriptwriters pull out all the stops to ensure some sort of ratings success, with Martin Fowler raping Pauline during Christmas dinner while Alfie dismembers Kat with a chainsaw after she sleeps with everyone in the Square in a vile, degrading scene reminiscent of Last Exit from Brooklyn.

3.00pm. Free Willy.

5.00pm. Morcambe and Wise (Rpt.) Hilarious classic Christmas episode in which Andre Previn feigns confusion.

6.00pm. National Lottery Christmas Special Live.

6.30pm. The Making of the National Lotter Christmas Special Live. With Sharon Osbourne.

7.30 pm. Where Eagles Dare.

9.30 pm - 1.30am. The Good Life (Rpt.)

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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