...a blog by Richard Flowers

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Day 2685: Ant 'n' Dec's Award Night Takeaway


It's not EVERY week where the bosses of ITV find themselves in the same dock with GENERAL FRANCO, both accused of fixing the popular vote in a talent contest.

In some ways it's actually MORE shocking to deceive the public about the votes in the awarding of an award than it is to cheat people who are entering a fixed phone-in competition.

It's like HUSTLE, isn't it? There, you know that ACTUALLY it's criminal but the code of the con means that there is always an "OUT". You don't HAVE to choose to play – it's only because you think you can get something for nothing that you end up getting nothing for something.

That's not the case for all those people voting for Ms Catherine Tate (and let's be fair, those voting for Ant'n'Dec or any of the other losers either): they didn't CHOOSE to do it because they thought there was a REWARD, they were doing it to register how much they ADMIRED their chosen artists. For ITV to decide it would ignore those results and pick the winner that suited their agenda… well it means ITV counted the votes of ALL of their viewers as worthless.

I imagine that the BBC thought that this was a good week to bury the latest news of its own phone in/Eurovision financial misdoings.

We have, however, watched a rather marvellous speech by Mr Stephen Fry about all of the GOOD things that the BBC does too. Obviously my daddies were THRILLED that he should mention his earliest and most exciting TV memory as being the first episode of Doctor Who. But it was much more than that, a whole essay on why "Public Service Broadcasting" is only possible when it is in an environment like the BBC where trailers after EastEnders can prompt people to watch a programme about the Guttenberg printing press on BBC4, where there is a public service in nurturing talent, allowing it to grow (and sometimes fail – where else than the BBC would "Blackadder" have got a second series?) along the way to mega-success.

Mr Stephen's conclusion was that where some countries spend money just to put flowers on the roundabouts because it makes things just a little bit nicer, in this country we spend money on the BBC and it's flowers on the roundabouts times a million.

I agree… but in fact I would go further. The whole WORLD is better because it has the BBC in it – our news, our dramas, our nature shows, our kids' telly: they all play well above their league. The BBC is one of the few things that still make Great Britain GREAT.

Someone should give them an AWARD! Oh, they did – only ITV took it by 'mistake'.

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