Sunday, 25 April 2010


Le culture, c'est moi.

To attack the BBC is to devalue our national culture as a whole

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* The Observer, Sunday 25 April 2010
* Article history
* my italics.

Ahead of the forthcoming election, we wanted to raise our concerns about the BBC's future. Over the past few months, leading opposition politicians have suggested that a new government should prioritise cutting the BBC's licence fee. Others have shown a cavalier attitude towards the BBC's independence, calling, for example, for the BBC to sell off Radio 1, to roll back its online activities and to get rid of the BBC's governing body, the BBC Trust.

The BBC (ie us) is the most important cultural organisation in Britain and an indispensable part of our society, admired and envied throughout the world. It is right that there is a national debate about the future of the BBC. But attacking it to serve the interests of its commercial rivals would be short-sighted and threatens to devalue not just the BBC itself, but our culture as a whole. We urge people to think about the consequences of their vote for this cherished part of our national life.(ie us)

Jo Brand, Peter Capaldi, Harry Enfield, Richard Eyre, Stephen Frears, Eddie Izzard, Catherine Tate, Liane Aukin, John Barrowman, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Hugh Bonneville, Jo Brand, Peter Capaldi, Jo Brand, Peter Capaldi, Phil Collinson, Peter Davison, Harry Enfield, Sir Richard Eyre, Simon Fanshawe, Stephen Frears, Nicci French, Romola Garai, Claire Goose, Michelle Hanson, Charlie Higson, Eddie Izzard, Ashley Jensen, Terry Jones, Kathy Lette, Roger Lloyd Pack, Peter Kay, Stephen Mangan, Tony Marchant, Alastair McGowan, Stephen Merchant, Roger Michell, David Mitchell, David Nicholls, Steve Pemberton, Piers Plowright, Jan Ravens, Tony Robinson, Nicola Shindler, Meera Syal, Catherine Tate, Ken Taylor, David Tennant, Rhys Thomas, Harriet Walter, Robert Webb, Arabella Weir, Sam West, Richard Wilson, Susan Woolridge.

Sir Steven Fry, novelist, journalist, broadcaster, playwright, composer, direetor, screenwriter, motor insurance and tea consultant, Oscar Wilde  impersonator, lexicographer, celebrity  fag and crybaby said that he was far too busy, darlings, to sign the letter, but of course he agreed with it, isn't that what clever people do, try to keep all the public money for themselves and their simply delightful friends?


mongoose said...

"... Others have shown a cavalier attitude towards the BBC's independence..."

"...not dependent: not subject to control by others: self-governing : not affiliated with a larger controlling unit: not requiring or relying on something else: not contingent: not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct: not bound by or committed to a political party..."

So that's alright then.

Psst! Who is that smarmy-looking git?

call me ishmael said...

That is David Smarm-Mitchell, Oxbridge, formerly of Mitchell and Webb, an Odd Couple Noire for nitwits, on all BBC TV channels and on Radio Four, fronting or participating in cheap quiz/talk shows; also in the Observer and the Guardian. Probably lots of other places, too; you are fortunate, indeed, mr mongoose, to have missed him.

P.T. Barnum said...

So many giants of culture in that signatory line-up, I am bedazzled by their stellarness. Except for the ones I've never heard of (Charlie Higson? Ashley Jensen?) and the ones who are important because they keep saying they are (Stephen Frears - ugh, Richard Eyre) and the ones whose talent is so slight it disappears when they stand in profile (Claire Goose, Arabella Weir) and Simon Fanshawe, no, just no, and anyone who makes their living from appearing on Radio 4 panel shows or pontificating on Newsnight Review. Oh, and Tony Robinson.

This isn't a letter arguing to defend the BBC. It's a witness statement to the decay of our culture.

mongoose said...

It's a round-up list, Mr PTB, for when the revolution comes. Up against the...

call me ishmael said...

Yes, that's what it is.

P.T. Barnum said...

Hmm, I hope that it's only the first draft of that list. Otherwise some of us will be very disappointed indeed.

Anonymous said...

Any chance of that famous thespian(is that the correct word) Jo Brand having a backdated abortion for her son? As for Tony Robinson how did he find the time to sign this as he is so busy touting for the dirty digger? Close it down ASAP make them all get proper jobs especially the world service where they employ people who only think they can speak English but can't don't want upset anyone do we? Half of these wankers named above start out by being" alternative" that is till they get enough money to buy a farm then the last thing they want is to rock the boat, if it were down to I would sink the fucking thing with all hands on it.

woman on a raft said...

The naughty folk over at Biased BBC have noticed that the list is full of repeats.

"I bet the first Richard Eyre is really pissed off knowing that the second one has a knighthood."


Scotland on Sunday reports that the SNP are taking the BBC to court this week to try to force the BBC to include them in the leaders debate.

My instincts are clashing. Should I be cross with the SNP for trying to control what politics people see on telly, or should I be cross with the BBC because it is trying to define who can be in the leadership debate?

A measure of how I've come to regard Scotland as a separate country which shouldn't be determining what England does, is that my first thought was: "Why should I have any opinion at all on what happens in another country?"

I'm thoroughly confused, Mr Ishmael. Is this or is this not any of my business?

call me ishmael said...

It is thoroughly confusing, Mrs Woman On A Raft and I sometimes find myself cheering-on the oily bastard, Salmond, just because he has latched-on to a sentiment with which I agree and and which no-one else - the TeeVee being strictly out of bounds to true radicals - is voicing, it doesn't last, though. He is as camera-conscious and phony as the worst of the WEstminster lot, you can see him posing, arranging his dwarf tubbiness to best advantage, refining, as he imagines it, his cheesy soundbites, shamelessly spouting the same phrase all day long, as though it had just come to him, inspirationally, from some Scottish Valhalla, man's an arsehole and Nicola Crankie is, if anything, worse.

Until there is a UK-wide referendum on the governing of Scotland it is everyone's business. Both nations - England-Wales and Scotland - were party to the original Union, why should one nation be able to dissolve it, taking with it the assets - oil - of that union? Why should Salmond be in a debate about a parliament for which he is not standing?

The most confusing thing of all, for me, is how and why we have succumbed, instantaneously, to the imposition of a constitutionally improper presidential election, managed by the component parts of skymadeupnewsandfilth, broadcasters, hacks, bloggers, pollsters and other creepybastards getting far more airtime than candidates, former ministers and former shadow ministers. How'd that happen ?

jgm2 said...

Apart from the strangely absent signature of Steven Fry they do seem to have compiled a pretty exhaustive list of reasons for shutting down the BBC on 7th May.

call me ishmael said...

It is the impertinence of it, the lack of decency, mr jgm2, which irks so, the absence of a sense that Oh, I have a vested interest in this I had better not comment as though I was a disinterested party; the cynical conflation of their own with the national interest; they are as bad, worse, than Lord Stewart Rose and his shopkeeper chums.

In days gone by playactors - louche, fickle, precious, self-obsessed, impecunious and unreliable - were seen as dangerous to the public good, they and their entertainments subject to special constraint by the Lord Chancellor.

A glimpse of Qi, with the obnoxious fagbully Fry, his pederast jokes, his misogyny and his cohort of adoring, worthless, workshy degenerates indicates why a return to those days might not be as bad as we imagine.

Mr Lenny Bruce, of course, a bold, determined enemy of censorship, was just the funniest, the most gracious, the most shocking and the most enlightened and enlightening performer in the shabby annals of showbusiness; Fry and his BBC gang of knob-jokers are just dirty.