The Soul of British Television

David Liddiment

in Television Policy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748617173
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671113 | DOI:
The Soul of British Television

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In this lecture, the author, former director of channels at ITV, argues that the soul of British television is in danger as a result of a battle for ratings. He contends that broadcasters must seek to make television interesting, ambitious and diverse as well as popular. The BBC is the most powerful and dominant force in British broadcasting, but the author is concerned that it is losing sight of its cultural responsibilities in its ‘rush to beat the commercial competition at its own game’. This failure in turn reflects a failure in corporate governance. The ‘committee of part-timers’ known as the Board of Governors must decide whether they are regulators or management: ‘they cannot be both’. There is a need for ‘a new way of governing the BBC that puts creative leadership back at the centre of its public purposes’. As the flagship of public service broadcasting, the BBC ‘is looking leaky’, deluding itself, and doing a grave disservice to its viewers, its programme makers, and its public-service competitors, by taking ‘its core values from the market place’.

Keywords: BBC; broadcasting; competition; corporate governance; Board of Governors; management

Chapter.  3335 words. 

Subjects: Television

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