Why the BBC is wrong to move so many shows for The Biggest Weekend

"BBC, just sit down, have a nice cup of tea and stop trying to be trendy": RT columnist Alison Graham thinks the weekend schedule changes are anything but cool

BBC pics (Clive dunn from Getty) TL

Imagine how annoying it would be if you pitched up at your local bus stop only to read a shocking notice. Your bus stop, the one you’d used every day for years, had moved a few miles up the road into the next borough. Oh, and you’d have to wait until tomorrow or even the next day for a bus because of a revision of the schedule. No apology. That’s it, you have to lump it. Now start walking.


That’s what’s happening to the BBC this week, which shakes everything up to accommodate, across pretty much all its TV and radio channels, something called The Biggest Weekend.

It’s a massive music festival with stages and acts in Belfast, Perth, Swansea and Coventry. Coverage is smeared across BBCs 1, 2 and 4, iPlayer, Radios 1 to 3 and 6 Music, from Saturday to Bank Holiday Monday, which means Dad’s Army and Inspector Montalbano drop from BBC2 and BBC4 on Saturday and (gasp!) Antiques Roadshow shifts from Sunday night to Monday night.

The whole thing will involve 20 hours of live television coverage, so you’re in luck if you want to see Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, inevitably Florence and the Machine and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. And Orbital, let’s not forget them.

This juggernaut is presumably being rolled out to help anyone who finds that the Glastonbury Festival’s fallow year has left a gap in their lives. But why inflict it on me? For a whole weekend. I feel about The Biggest Weekend as I feel about Glastonbury. If you really want to see it, GO.

Be there, what’s the point of watching on telly? Surely a festival experience is about drinking, dancing, sunburn, iffy sanitary arrangements, tents and grass – not eating crisps in a onesie in your second-best armchair as you watch Beck.

At this point I wish to point out that I actually have a couple of albums by Beck, so if I don’t have a degree in street cred, then I at least have an O-level. I haven’t listened to him for years, mind. Who has?

Besides, I’ve always been baffled as to why the BBC throws so much choice primetime space at Glastonbury. Just put it on BBC3 and iPlayer where the young people can find it, and be done with the whole thing.

The same goes for The Biggest Weekend, presumably hatched as part of one of those quaint BBC ideas about getting out of London and unifying the whole country behind Franz Ferdinand or, bless them, Snow Patrol.

And don’t shift shows from their usual slots on the big channels. It’s irritating and insulting to the people who tune in every week, people who are your core audience, BBC, not fly-by-nights who want to see UB40. (Sorry if this sounds rather Lady Bracknell, by the way, but most people still do actually watch television as it goes out.)

Don’t trundle the Roadshow to a new home simply so someone (and presumably there is someone) who wants to can watch Paloma Faith. Or Nigel Kennedy.


I’m sure there’s a sense that as it’s a bank holiday weekend all kinds of misrule is allowed. But really, BBC, just sit down, have a nice cup of tea and stop trying to be trendy.