Doctor Who looks set to be cited as a rare example of BBC quality over the next few months as the public service broadcaster comes under fire yet again and the Director General Mark Thompson announces a possible reduction in channels and web services.
With BBC 6 Music already declared an unpopular choice for the axe – the BBC Asian Network less so, but I imagine there are as many people upset by this – and cutbacks announced on their web services, the BBC is a target for commercial media groups. With a General Election due this year and a strong chance of a Conservative government being formed, the broadcaster that we all pay for through a flat annual fee is being accused of impeding on the markets of its commercial rivals.
In particular is our old friend Rupert Murdoch, a man who hopes to charge for online news in the near future (a possibility that will only lead to great competition for his bloated empire of robots).
“The general sense is that the BBC is too big … that has been a commonplace view for quite a while,” media consultant Steve Hewlett
However Thompson’s suggested cuts don’t go too far into the realm of appeasing the corporate machines – instead they’re seemingly intended to realign the network with some of its core values and to get the most value for money out of the licence fee.
The threat as far as Doctor Who fans are concerned is two-fold – web services are set to be cut by 25%, while there could be a reduction in magazines, which might impact Doctor Who Adventures, and it’s true to say that the BBC have already made noises about selling off BBC Magazines.
With regards to the BBC website – already the official online home of Doctor Who has been stuck in a time warp for the best part of 2 years, is unwieldy to navigate and is full of useless and out of date news items that are bizarrely incestuous and ignore anything in the wider Whoniverse.
Thanks to a successful 15 years since reforms to make the BBC more competitive, the irony that the same political party that put the broadcaster on the road to what it is today now wishes to castrate it is lost on few.
If you wish to support the BBC against these cutbacks – that could be avoided by trimming US imports and slimming down event broadcasts, as well as potentially merging BBC 3 and 4, there is an online petition to the BBC Trust that you can sign today in advance of presentation in a few days time.
Go to 38degrees.org.uk right now!
(Many thanks to Cameron)