Friday 5 December 2008

Sussex pudding

A Sussex gom has called the BBC "arrogant and presumptive" for replacing last night's screening of Little Dorrit with a Panorama on the Shannon Matthews case. This is another example of the creeping blight of mistaken ownership. Viewers do not own the BBC: they watch it, they listen to it, they take part in its competitions, but the money they pay is for a licence to operate a television receiver.

As originally conceived and executed, this was a clever trick, a moebius strip if you like, which created an impenetrable barrier between the government, the funding, and the corporation, assuring its independence, culminating in the fact that the Board of Governors WAS, legally, the BBC.

Despite daft changes of late, something akin to this is still the case. So it is the BBC who decides on the programming and the scheduling, and it it is the BBC who owns the right to do that, not Mr. Sussex Gom. All he owns is his TV set and remote, and the choice of programmes available to him at any given moment. A thumping good choice it is, too.

Arrogant? Presumptive. That'll be you, sir.

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