I find myself most Sundays rolling out of bed, making a cup of tea and falling in front of the TV and often find myself angrily shaking my head at the Big Questions on BBC One.
Hosted by the ever diplomatic, and non committal Nicky Campbell, this license payer funded, debate chairman earns himself another splinter or two in his backside by sitting, as ever and as expected by his BBC bosses, on the fence as he fails to control single minded guests who seem to only be there to bang their own drum and not budge on their opinion and therefore childishly argue with other guests of an opposite, immovable point of view.
Morality and religion is all they ever try to discuss with every debate becoming nothing more than a shouting match. The guests drone each other out with shrieks and whales of ill thought out ideas, when they aren’t talking over each other that is, showing that what they claim to know about morality outweighs what they know about good manners and social etiquette. I mean if your point cannot stand on its own two legs and you have to ram it down someone’s throat as they try and reply to your original point, maybe, just maybe, that point you are making is utter bollocks, just saying!
It is not a debate show at all, it’s just the BBC filling its remit as a public broadcaster and it ticks a box on a form somewhere to say ‘The BBC is offering a forum for discussion’ that it simply fails to deliver, every single week. It’s a vacuous, pointless show that trots out the same debates every week (reworded to make people think they are new) and the same dozen guests, to share their same opinions and ultimately the entire circus ensues again and again and always ends with a smart arse remark from Campbell before he cuts them all dead, the titles roll and we’re all an hour closer to the end of our lives with nothing to show for it.
The BBC, as a force for Sunday morning debate, a forum for enlightenment and education is slowly becoming what every thing else is slowly becoming – artless, clueless and just another publicly funded body that is struggling to cope with justifying its government funding, the instant nature of the internet and the freedoms that that platform allows. It’s strict, rigid remit, it seems to me, will be it’s undoing and its debate programming will become more and more pointless and unwatchable as it attempts to represent everyone whilst not offending anyone. The show in question here does nothing and achieves nothing. It’s a damned shame because we need a broadcaster that has the general public’s interest at its core and is designed to tick all of the boxes – sport, education, drama, news, healthy debate and documentary. It used to do it so well but somewhere in the not too distant past it has started to fail on some fronts (but not all of them yet, thankfully).
Above: A classic debate from the old Sunday Morning Live
At least the Beeb can still do radio, I might start lying in on a Sunday with that instead.