Monday, June 04, 2012

Who is the BBC nowadays?

I never watch BBC 1 which is probably why I didn't recognise most of the faces fronting yesterday's coverage of the Jubilee.

With the honourable exception of Clare Balding, they didn't look as if they were up to it. They all looked as if they'd wandered in from their little niche in the confederacy of niches which is the BBC in 2012. They couldn't find the right words. They couldn't find the right way to look at the camera. Nobody hit the right note. They were like Redcoats suddenly called upon to conduct a commission of enquiry.

None of them embodied the BBC the way that David Dimbleby, Des Lynam or Frank Bough could be said to have embodied it back in the day. Maybe that can't happen anymore. If I was conducting this month's interviews for the next BBC Director General I'd be asking the candidates who they thought should be fronting that kind of thing in the future, which is another way of asking the more important question, can anyone be the BBC nowadays?


  1. The days of Raymond Baxter, John Arlott, James Burke et al are, I'm afraid, long gone. Without wishing to tempt fate here, you just know that when HRH curls her toes, the whole day will probably be anchored by Ferne someone or other.

  2. HRH? As Stephen fry pointed out, she stopped being HRH 60 years ago. Since then she's been HM.

    You can't complain about infantile coverage of an infantile institution.

  3. I think the difference is that none of the current lot (and I can't speak, having lived in the US for nigh on seven years with no intention of going back) have ever read a book in their lives. Even the above oldies must have picked up something in WHS now and again; the spoken language you have now is the idiolect of illiteracy, where half-remembered phrases are 'remixed' into something which sounds to their ears like 'educated' speech but which is all tunes and, critically, no words.

  4. James Burke may be off the Beeb but is very much alive - at least, I saw him giving a lively lecture at the Royal Institution last year.

  5. No gravitas - that is the problem - no gravitas