There has been no shortage of advice recently on the future of the BBC. What services it should cut, whether or not paying the TV licence should be a criminal offence and how the Corporation should be funded.
Much of the advice has come from people who took the BBC shilling for yonks, then five minutes after cashing their redundancy cheque, publicly demanded the demolition of Broadcasting House. Tempting though it is to follow in their illustrious footsteps, I’m going to be even bolder, and hold forth now with my blueprint for the future of the BBC. I believe it’s a vision that the BBC’s critics and supporters can rally around.
You’re welcome, Britain.
1. The plan to close BBC3 as a TV network doesn’t go far enough. If the BBC is to show its commitment to radical change, I believe it will have to give up an entire letter of its name and become simply the BC: British Corporation.
2. Removing one B from the letterhead of BBC stationery will bring ink-cost savings of £100 million a year: enough to re-carpet the walls of Broadcasting House in dynamic colours that will inspire everyone to be even more creative.
3. Removing the word “Broadcasting” from the BBC’s name means the Corporation will reach the goal it’s been working towards for many years. Currently, 89 per cent of jobs in the BBC have nothing to do with broadcasting. When the BC is established, the remaining 11 per cent can safely be moved from frontline services.
4. The BBC has already shown its commitment to reflecting the whole of Britain with its Salford initiative. I propose that the BC should go further, literally, by relocating everything to Unst, in the far north of the Shetland Islands.
5. Locating to the northernmost point in Britain will allow the BC to commit to its favourite thing: pandering to people in the south.
6. While the initial relocation costs will be high, and the building of a 15-storey gold-standard digital hub broadcasting centre in Muckle Flugga will startle local ponies, the long-term cost savings will be enough to re-carpet the walls of the broadcasting centre in new dynamic colours that will inspire everyone in television to be even more creative.
7. By relocating so close to Scandinavia, the BC will be able to broadcast shows like The Bridge and The Killing by hijacking the signal from across the North Sea. The long-term cost savings will be enough to re-carpet the walls etc.
8. In the event of Scottish independence, points 4–7 will be in jeopardy and I haven’t really thought of a plan B.
9. I believe that non-payment of the TV licence should remain a criminal offence, but only if the BC is also held accountable for its programmes in a court of law. I’d do away with Feedback and Points of View, and allow licence payers to bring criminal charges against programme-makers who make criminally bad programmes. Of course this would clog up the judicial system but by allowing the cameras in to record sentencing, the BC News at Six would have terrific footage every night. Executives found guilty on more than three occasions will be put to death and the footage shown after the watershed in the BC News at Ten. They will not have their walls re-carpeted.
10. Ticket sales from the public executions will replace the licence fee.
Eddie Mair presents PM, Mon—Fri 5pm,
and iPM, Sat 5.45am, 5.30pm, both Radio 4