Mudcat Café message #2458999 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #114984   Message #2458999
Posted By: Will Fly
07-Oct-08 - 03:23 AM
Thread Name: BBC TV Guitar Series
Subject: RE: BBC TV Guitar Series
I used to work for the Beeb many, many years ago (1960s), and I think there is a huge difference between their position in broadcasting then and now. BBC Television and Independent Television had a monopoly in TV output - and could afford to make specialist programmes which appealed to a comparatively small section of the watching population. Think of the "Monitor" series and some of the arts programming of Huw Wheldon.

The position today is totally different, with a multiplicity of broadcasting and media production companies in competition, and the license fee constantly under threat. The dilemma for the Beeb now is whether to constantly go for ratings and reach the highest number of viewers, or whether to take the risk of making specialised programms which apeal to a minority but don't hit the ratings spot. There was an interesting debate on BBC4 recently which looked back at art history programmes over the years - ranging from "Civilisation" to "Rolf On Art" - which highlighted just that dilemma.

The BBC4 programme on the harp was just such an example of the older style, and an excellent production it was. I think they could have done a similar programme on the guitar, but it probably (in their ratings-tinted view) wouldn't have cut it. It was, after all, on BBC1. So, for me, the guitar programme was a bit of a curate's egg - good in parts.