Saturday, 11 May 2013

A Cheer For The BBC

The BBC has come under criticism for doing too many repeats of programmes with the implication that a substantial majority of its screenings should be original material.  This time round the inclination is to say the BBC is doing the right thing by providing a regular pattern of repeats at widely varying times.

For us and for very many people now TV watching is about flexibility, being able to watch a programme appropriate to either mood or personal time obligations and with choices about when to “box” either “one off” programmes with repeats or a series.

It is especially useful if the diary is becoming complicated and you are watching a series where you want to see all or most of the programmes.  That the BBC now routinely is giving extra screenings across its channels for many programmes is consistent with the way many viewers now operate and the way that other channels manage their outputs.

Additionally, there are screenings where sometimes you want to see it more than once if there is something to think about or on a particular topic that catches the interest.  This is especially so where a drama, live performance or demanding programme occurs.

One programme recently is a case in point for us.  It was the one hour short biography of Marie Curie.  It covered a lot of ground in a short time and there were one to two things that might need a revisit to check up on impressions.

To all this might be added the many programme clashes now across the channels and also the functioning of the saving system and reruns from the box.  There are times when the extras screenings at alternative times is a great help whatever channels are involved.

These include the BBC.  For those with a TV and box now there are still many who do not have a computer or who do not really want to do their TV viewing on one.  There have been times when the internet screenings have come in useful for us but as we are paying we prefer to watch TV programmes on the TV.

We would go further and only wish that the BBC could reclaim from its archives many of the programmes of the past, whether popular, serious, Arts or sport that are still gathering dust but which many would like to see.

Some of these might turn up later on the commercial channels but these in turn are limited for a number of reasons and where they go are also repeated many times where the viewing figures hold up.

It is not just the BBC that is affected by the “loss” or “gone missing” of a good deal of decent watching.  The former ITV channels now have a large body of material that is not just entertaining but also actually historic which is very rarely tapped or used.  This is a considerable loss to our understanding of the media of the past.

Carry On Repeating is often a show to watch.


  1. For me your blog is a must read and generally I agree with or I am at least impressed with what you have to say. This one however makes me believe that technology appears to have past you bye. With i players and the like repeats must surely be a thing of the past and is now the last refuge of an incompetent, inefficient and wasteful statist left wing biased organisation.

  2. As someone who worked in the industry, yours is an excellent summary.
    One point worth noting is that in the ‘60’s and 70’s many of the studio based series were recorded on 2” videotape which was an extremely expensive format, and each tape had to be wiped in a large ‘de-magnetiser’ and the tape re-used. The only saving grace was that some programmes were also recorded on 16mm or 35mm film as well, mainly for sale abroad, and many of these have survived the passage of time.
    As to the iplayer – I find it useful in an emergency to download via my smartphone and watch it on the proper box; but otherwise too irksome to fiddle around with. And there are countless numbers of my generation and older who lack the skills/patience so to do. Eventually the iplayer et al will be properly integrated into a reliable TV/box – the first offerings are here, but too temperamental and expensive at present for widespread use. So the BBC’s present technique is spot on.