I don’t know if anyone ever addresses Lord Hall of Birkenhead, Director General of the BBC, as ‘butt’. I suppose I’m unlikely to find out as he probably has more pressing questions to answer in these days of Charter Renewal debate. Nonetheless the question came to me as I reflected on a blog I wrote yesterday attempting to unpack what Tony Hall meant when he used the word ‘culture’ in a speech in Cardiff in 2014.
there are some aspects of national life in Wales that are not sufficiently captured by the BBC’s own television services in Wales, and I would include comedy, entertainment and culture in those categories
I don’t want to treat that speech as some gospel to be mined for esoteric meanings and yet light did dawn, and the clue was an in example of one of the genres whose erosion he lamented in that text. He named comedy, entertainment and culture as genres whose production has been eroded, in the last decade, on English language television in Wales. I found myself thinking about a comedy series which, in my view, is one of the best BBC Wales has ever made. Continue reading Scampi and the Meaning of Life – TV and Culture in Wales→
If a thing is repeated often enough it begins to be as persuasive as though it were true.
We’ve never had it so good, apparently. We live in a televisual Age of Plenty with digital wares piled high in the marketplace and so it’s time for the BBC to withdraw from universality and to stop disadvantaging the commercial sector by its scale and success; the level of public funding gives the BBC an unfair advantage over its competitors and the BBC should become more ‘distinctive’, confining itself to things the market can’t or won’t provide.
From the many strands in the Government Green Paper on BBC Charter Renewal I’d like to tease out two. A failure to convince the UK that these strands are vital parts of the broadcasting web, and not mere loose ends, will cost us dear in Wales.
We all remember Leveson. And we still hear late rumblings from that consideration of corruption in the UK press as well as continuing debate as to how best to deal with it. A need for regulation was generally acknowledged but what system should be used? The compromise reached was the creation of self-regulators overseen by a Recognition Panel established by Royal Charter and the Panel came to Cardiff on 14th July.
It’s not just S4C that is threatened by potential changes. It is television for Wales as a whole, if the latest BBC Wales Annual Review 2014-15 by Audience Council Wales is anything to go by.
This Review, for 2014 – 15, makes alarming reading, particularly as it comes hot on the heels of Ofcom’s recent special additional report on PSB in the internet age: The Nations of the UK and their regions and the bombshell about funding burdens for the BBC lobbed by the Chancellor while no one was looking. It appears the day before the Green Paper on BBC Charter Renewal is expected but it shouldn’t get lost in the sturm und drang that that is likely to produce because it has significant things to say about television in Wales. Continue reading TV for Wales – in both languages→
This blog appeared on 10th July 2015 on the IWA’s clickonwales blog site.
For the second time in five years Government Ministers have backed the BBC into a corner, issued a ‘money or your life’ threat, walked away with a big chunk of the licence fee and left a Director General making as good a public fist of defending ‘the deal’ as he can. Has this been a fair trade between a willing buyer and a willing seller? Continue reading BBC licence fee raid ̶̶ The consequences for Wales→
BBC Radio Wales 5th July & 9th July; iplayer till 3rd August
With the tenth anniversary of the London bombings being marked this week, the man who ran the Metropolitan police at the time made a stark admission. Lord Blair said he did not believe the west would be able to defeat such extremism in his lifetime.
Meanwhile the defence secretary seeks parliamentary authority to extend to bombing of ISIS targets to Syria, the prime minister speaks of ‘the struggle of our generation’ and the families of 30 British tourists mourn after the massacre on a beach in Tunisia.
On New Year’s Day this year the Western Mail published an article by the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales, Saleem Kidwai. He claimed that a precious achievement in Welsh cultural life is in jeopardy and that a generation have felt ‘rejected by their fellow Welshmen’.
Welsh-Muslim youth who thought themselves like any other Welsh person got a rude awakening post-9/11— a sort of cultural shock that they were not like any other Welsh person. Overnight, they were the other, the enemy…
As Mr Kidwai set out the traumatic ramifications of this tragic dissociation I felt the force of his appeal that, “As a society… We have to reject any attempts to marginalize Muslims as second-class citizens” but I was perplexed as to how to go about that.
Until I perceived a potential response from the world of journalism itself – from journalism in Wales.
On Friday 29th May Documentary Wales/ Dogfen Cymru is holding a symposium in Cardiff:
to discuss the future of documentary film in Wales. Drawing together a range of talent from Wales and beyond, the day will be an opportunity to meet a diverse collection of individuals who share your passion for documentary. The focus of the day will be on:
Strengthening the community of documentary film makers currently working in Wales
Exploring ways of building the audience for documentary film in Wales
Discussing future plans for supporting documentary film within the Welsh production sector
Without good policy no social endeavour flourishes as it might. Structures start from policy. Policies are not made by machines but by people and people have beliefs and values and prejudices, all of which can be discussed, debated and shaped into principles on which actions are based. Those actions influence both what is possible in the social sphere and what becomes impossible.