Saturday, July 14, 2007


Grades of shit

Here's Michael Grade, quoted on Friday afternoon, talking about the BBC/Queen-storming-out thingy:

"We are in an age today where there has been a huge influx of young talent into the industry as it expands. They have not been trained properly, they don't understand that you do not lie to audiences at any time, in any show - whether it's news or whether it's a quiz show ... It's desperately important that we restore trust and that the programme-makers get to understand - whether through hard lessons or through training or a combination of both - that you do not lie to audiences under any circumstances."

Interesting. In less than twenty-four hours Michael Grade has been made aware of a problem, considered what the likely causes of that problem are, researched his hypothesis, concluded he was correct, and then made a statement to that effect. Now, what he says may be true; it may be that for years now a slow drip-drip of inexperienced talent in the media has lowered the quality threshold until we get to the point where nobody knows any better, but shouldn't their superiors (including one M. Grade) have been checking to see what was going on? Aren't they paid to do precisely that? And isn't it strange just how quickly Grade reached this conclusion? It's almost as if he's known about all of this for ages and didn't say anything; strange behaviour for someone who has been the Chairman of the BBC and head of ITV over the last couple of years.

Of course the real problem is that most television is made in precisely the same way as the Queen clip with timelines switched around and events being shown out of their correct order to better tell a story or to get a different effect. Most directors and editors do it skillfully enough that the public don't notice (or at least pretend not to notice). The problem here is that RDF, the programme-makers, are complete fucking idiots and made a pigs-ear of it, plus the palace complained and the Beeb shat themselves. You try getting them to move as fast as this if you get stitched up. It'll take more than a call to 'Points of view' to get Peter Fincham on 'Newsnight' on the verge of tears when 'Watchdog' makes you look a prick.

Suffice it to say this will all blow-over and it will be business as usual at TV Centre by Friday, although a ritual sacrifice or two may occur first.

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