Wednesday, March 05, 2014


There`s an unforgettable line in Neil Finn`s song for Crowded House.  "In the paper today, tales of war and of waste.   But you turn right over to the TV page."   And I wonder how many of us would admit to doing just that - ignoring the problems of the world and reaching out to see what entertainment awaits us on the box.   

I confess to being one of them.  But I guess the seriousness of that habit depends on what TV page you turn to.   For me, it`s BBC4 which seems to be the closest thing to Lord Reith`s ideal that the BBC`s first priority should be to inform, educate and entertain.  So you can imagine my surprise and relief that the BBC, facing the choice to cut either BBC3, BBC4 or even both, as they seek to find £100million of savings, have put forward the proposal to scrap BBC3 - `the youth channel` but make it available on-line only.   So it looks as though BBC4 may be reprieved after all.

Or does it?   For this plan needs first to be approved by the BBC Trust - supposedly the guardians of the licence-payers` interests - and then, if approval is given, to put the proposal out to public consultation.  This might take forever and this is where it might get tricky, as the country`s youth kick and scream about losing their channel, whilst BBC4 - the last refuge for those who like to be informed, educated as well as entertained - survives.   What might be needed is a concerted effort on the part of BBC4 viewers to counteract the on-line petitions and all the rest of it that devotees of BBC3 will doubtless encourage.   So, taking Neil Finn`s advice, don`t dream  it`s over just yet.  It ain`t necessarily so.

Although, if BBC3 goes, there`ll be a gap between BBC2 and BBC4, so BBC4 might become BBC3 after all?   Whatever happens, may the Four be with you.

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