The Pioneering Spirit of the BBC Is Far from Dead
Kington, Miles, The Independent (London, England)
I had a phone call from someone at the BBC the other day. Someone quite high up. Obviously, I can't reveal his name. It's bad enough to reveal that I have been talking to someone at the BBC. Oh, all right, I'll tell you his name. It's Bad Faith. Obviously, that's not his real name. It's just his code name. But security is so tight at the BBC these days that they all have code names there. Some of them can't remember their real names any more...
"Hello, Hack Writer," he said.
That's the code name he's given me. I don't actually want a code name. I am happy to be called by my real name. But he can't understand that. As I said, everyone is very jumpy at the BBC these days.
"What's new?" I said.
"There is something so very new and so very exciting happening at the BBC that after I tell you what it is, I am going to deny I ever said it to you."
"Not that you have said it, as yet."
"It is so sensational that I am denying that I am about to say it to you."
"Goodness, Bad Faith," I said. "It sounds really good."
"It is," he said. "It isn't often that you have a piece of news so good you can hardly bear to leak it."
"It certainly is."
I could tell that my BBC source was really excited because he had gone straight into the conversation without pouring scorn on his superiors at the BBC, which is one of the two mandatory ways of starting a BBC conversation, the other being to pour scorn on a colleague's programme.
"You know that the BBC has often been described recently as the nearest thing to an opposition that the government has got ?" he said.
I said I did. I may even have been guilty of it myself.
"It has been decided at the very highest level in the BBC that we should turn this from a metaphor into a reality."
"Meaning? Meaning that as from now, the BBC intends to put up candidates at all elections, standing as The Real Opposition."
"That's unthinkable," I said, without thinking.
"Not at all," he said. "We are being treated as an opposition. We are …
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Publication information: Article title: The Pioneering Spirit of the BBC Is Far from Dead. Contributors: Kington, Miles - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: August 26, 2003. Page number: 5. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.