Huffpost UK uk
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

David Skelton Headshot

The BBC Should Think Again Before Meddling With BBC4

Posted: Updated:

In the past few weeks the BBC has produced some really high quality programming. It has produced some programming that falls very much within their remit of public service broadcasting.

Examples of this high quality broadcasting include the shamelessly high-brow 'Great Thinkers In Their Own Words', some tremendous documentaries about Italy, Scotland and Liverpool, first class programming about popular, roots and classical music, and some fascinating documentaries about sculpture and art. On top of this, they have reshown the seminal 'All Our Working Lives' - about unemployment in the North East.

All of these pieces of programmes are thoroughly within the public service ethos that should be running through the BBC's bloodstream. It is hard to imagine any other broadcaster making them. All of these programmes were shown on the excellent BBC4.

It comes as something of a shock, then, to discover that the BBC is, according to the Guardian, considering scaling back BBC4, as part of a cost cutting drive. This scaling back will, apparently involve the channel that is focused on high quality documentaries and innovative programming, becoming solely focused on "arts and repeats."

The report suggests that the BBC is keen to preserve BBC3 instead. BBC3 is home of such anti public service programmes as the repellent "Geordie Finishing School For Girls" , as well as "Fast Food Baby" and "Underage and Pregnant". It's hard to see how BBC3 fulfils the public service remit in a better way than BBC4.

Such a scaling back would surely be as mistaken as the BBC's attempt to axe Radio 6 (another excellent station that does things that could not be done in the commercial sector). BBC4 regularly represents public service broadcasting at its best. At times, it alone justifies the licence fee. The BBC should think twice before meddling with a winning formula.