The BBC and the licence fee
Back in August 2014, the BBC had a review of one of its own shows thus: Mixed reviews for BBC gymnastics show .
I read it and shook my head in disbelief. Firstly, that the programme was even made in the first place, and secondly, because more people tuned in to watch a repeat of a sitcom (and that's a post in its own right, that...).
Here in the UK, for my international readers, the BBC , colloquially 'the Beeb', is our national broadcaster, non-commercial and funded by an annual licence fee of around £150, paid by anyone who has at least one TV in their house. Formerly, it had a reputation for making amazing natural history programmes, wonderful costume drama and ground-breaking comedy.
These days, I grudgingly pay our household #licence fee, because recently, there has been very little worth watching. In the last year I can remember seeing the Commonwealth and Olympic Games coverage, the Tour de France (which is on a commercial channel anyway), the Remembrance (Veterans') Day commemorations and the New Year celebrations. Other than that, our #television has rarely been on.
The reason? Too many 'cookie cutter' reality TV and vote'em off shows. Far too many. Soap operas and naff comedy by the bucketload. Even the documentaries I used to watch aren't worth it any more.
The commercial stations aren't much better, come to think of it. Celebrity Big Brother, as described by the Guardian, is ' a grim, unwatchable carnival of misery '. One housemate was kicked out for harrassing another housemate, and another, who had been ticked off for suspect use of derogatory language, subsequently left. The answer to this car crash TV, as revealed in the comments to ' Get Your Act Together: the most humiliating celebrity talent show ever? ' by patches1999, is apparently Katie Price.
melon1234 reminded me just now that BBC3 is making its way online and being axed from terrestrial TV. I also read yesterday that it is a distinct possibility that the World Snooker Championships , held in Sheffield since 1977, could move to China once the current deal is up. If that happens, the BBC will probably lose rights to broadcast it, and it'll go to pay-per-view TV on Sky or similar.
It's time for the licence fee to be abolished.
TV companies are vanishing before they can even make a single show: Birmingham local TV firm City TV in administration - BBC News . People don't necessarily want to sit down at a set time each week and watch the next show in the series. Binge watching shows on DVD is A Thing . This makes them more the length of a film and allows viewers to follow plotlines seamlessly.
The only gymnastics I want to see is coverage of top level competition. I'd pay for that if it meant that my money was used to meet running costs of bringing that coverage to me, and allowed me to watch said coverage at a time and place convenient to me.
I do not wish to see football (no matter that the Beeb was going on a few months back about 'more football than ever'), nor misbehaving - or just plain naff - celebrities doing anything at all.
If the licence fee was abolished, I wouldn't have that sinking feeling that my money is funding something of no benefit whatsoever to me, featuring people I've never heard of doing things I'd never do for money, never mind on TV.
And I can think of far better things to do with the £150 I would thus save from not having to pay for a service from which I do not benefit.
From the comments on the original post, it seems like many of the Brits agree with me, and the US contributors say that their public stations are struggling for money too.
A version of this post originally appeared on bubblews.com on 8 August 2014. This has now been taken down and links to it show 404.
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/television-screen-retro-comic-306842/ television by nemo on pixabay, CC0 public domain