Make this man the DG!

How many millions of words, what seas of verbiage, what torrents of tosh have been expended on the problem of public service broadcasting? And to what end? Into the debate steps Stephen Fry, and in a speech of forty minutes absolutely nails the problem. He was invited to make a contribution to the current inquiry into public service broadcasting. And this is some contribution. I defy you not to be impressed with this serious, but witty and incisive analysis. No fancy graphics, no sound or video clips, just that highly intelligent talking head. Go on – get a cup of coffee, and watch- and if you want a further incentive, you get to see Kirsty Wark telling people where the fire exits are.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Make this man the DG! by Dr Rob Spence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

6 Responses to “Make this man the DG!”

  1. Serious, witty and incisive he is. Eloquent he most definitely is. But. Hmmm. Much as I adore this man, I can’t help wondering why these lectures are taking place now; nothing to do with detracting from the BBC scandals is it – Children in Need and Blue Peter competitions etc,not to mention justifying the ever-increasing cost of the licence?
    To be honest, you would hardly expect Fry to criticise an institution which has made him very, very rich would you – even though he is down on record somewhere (I can’t find where but I definitely remember reading it) describing Radio 4 as ‘rapidly declining’? In any case, why are you so concerned? I thought you didn’t have a TV any more? You’re not surrendering your hard-earned to witness the joys of Big Brother (which begins again soon) and Britain’s Got Talent are you? 🙂

  2. I think the timing is simply to do with the Ofcom review. The Beeb is wheeling out some star names to say what they think about PSB. And, to be fair, what made Fry rich was writing the new book for the revival of Me and My Girl rather than his BBC roles. I dare say that Jeeves and that series where he’s a country doctor – both commercial telly – are more lucrative.
    Why am I concerned – well, I want the BBC to continue to produce the radio programmes I listen to all the time, and, if I really want to, I can see very tiny versions of TV programmes on the i-Player. And the BBC’s website is an absolutely brilliant use of the medium. And the licence fee is one of the all-time bargains. Four commercial-free TV channels, five analogue radio stations covering all conceivable tastes, two digital stations – I am a big fan of BBC7 – not to mention the World Service and the News channel, and the parliament channel, and all the local radio stations. All that for the cost of a couple of months’ subscription to the Dirty Digger’s satellite offerings.

  3. On a totally unrelated matter, Bad Bad Leroy Brown would like to tag you, in your capacity as cat-person, to respond to the questions you will find on Petal’s blog. Petal is not a very tag-oriented person, but it turns out Leroy is…

  4. Rob – I’m a newcomer to your blog, thanks for pointing me to the Stephen Fry, it was brilliant. But do you think the license fee is going to last? When one can get hold of American and British TV series on demand, for free at, or to download (getting a lot easier with widespread broadband) from torrent sites? Do you think that the current rack of young’uns who will pay the fee in 5 or 10 years time are going to find the same value in Radio 4, BBC 3, CBeebies etc?

  5. Hi Tom, and welcome to Manchester. I’ve got 53 years’ start on you…
    I think you are probably right about the licence fee, which has always seemed an odd way of financing public service broadcasting to me.
    I would advocate simply financing it out of general taxation, and also not bothering to pay Jonathan Ross et al millions for frankly not very much.
    It would add a tiny amount to the tax bill – probably a day’s expenditure on Iraq.
    I do think it’s vital as Mr Fry says to keep PSB going though- otherwise we are heading for a cultural wasteland.

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