The Future of the BBC

Michael Grade

in Television Policy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748617173
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671113 | DOI:
The Future of the BBC

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In this lecture, the author, chairman of the BBC Board of Governors after 2004, analyses the finances, management and programming of the BBC following a period of robust clashes with the Thatcher government and in the run-up to the Charter renewal in 1994. He argues for the significance of programme quality and standards at the BBC for the wider broadcasting industry, claiming that ‘it is the BBC which keeps us all honest’. The author identifies a number of key problems confronting the BBC. In-house management at the BBC has adopted a ‘sort of pseudo Leninist style’ which relies on ‘central control’ and promises the spectre of ‘editorial dictatorship’. The author concludes that the BBC Governors cannot be both managers and regulators, and consequently advocates a single new regulatory body — the British Television Commission — for all television services. Moreover, the BBC has become preoccupied with cuts, savings and making money rather than programmes. Finally, there is a the problem of the licence fee which empowers governments against Governors and can encourage the latter towards political compliance.

Keywords: BBC; finances; management; broadcasting; Board of Governors; British Television Commission; licence fee; quality; standards

Chapter.  3587 words. 

Subjects: Television

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