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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dial S For Swizz

So Channel Four are dropping all their premium rate phone call competitions.
A worthier soul than I would say that they are merely reacting to the rising tide of public concern and putting a marker down for the inviolability of public trust and iron broadcasting standards.
But this particular worn-down heel thinks there can only be one reason why a company which is under pressure in the face of declining ad revenues and proliferating competition would choose to deny itself substantial revenues (which are presumably already written into its budget for the next year and which have previously been regarded as Money From Home).
That would be because somebody has done a little investigating and discovered that the things they've copped to so far are merely the t. of the i. and that for years they, or at least some of their independent producers, have been playing fast and loose with both the spirit and the letter of the code covering competitions. Since the recent revelations management can no longer pretend that this issue wasn't on their radar. Plus they know that if this blows up into a bigger scandal then:
  1. M'learned friends will start pleading the case of the poor saps who think that the best way to improve their lot in life is to pick up the phone to Richard and Judy - which could be expensive.
  2. The new PM will do what he is rumoured to wish to do - which is privatise Channel Four and deprive it of its public service figleaf.
P.S. Channel Four's effort to compose its features into a straight face and promise to turn over a new leaf will probably not be helped by the news that their new reality concept, in which ten single mothers and their offspring live together in one large community, is going to be called "Pramface Mansion". Oh yes.