Magazine article The Spectator

Waste of the Day

Magazine article The Spectator

Waste of the Day

Article excerpt

Reading the BBC Trust's 65-page report justifying the exclusion of atheists and humanist commentary from Radio 4's Thought for the Day, a twominute religious slot whose main purpose is to persuade a recalcitrant nation to get out of bed, drives home the point that BBC bureaucracy is now beyond redemption.

Having been reprimanded by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom for a clutch of on-air errors, this report is just the most recent evidence that the Corporation is now form-filling when it should be programmemaking. At times it is as if the viewers are receiving a service that incorporates all that is undesirable: a costly administration unable to stop the broadcasting of abuse but successfully stifling genuine creativity.

Programme-makers have already protested: Stephen Poliakoff has stated that the BBC is suffering a 'crisis of confidence', presided over by a clutch of 'Kafkaesque committees'. Their dramatists have even been sent to learn about 'goodies' and 'baddies'. …

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