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back to article Tories ask: Why BBC3, BBC4?

Conservative culture front bencher Jeremy Hunt is asking what’s the point of BBC3 and BBC4? It’s a good time to ask the question. In an interview with the Independent, Hunt queried why £100m was being spent, merely to attract "very, very small" audiences. This is some way short of calling for the channels to be scrapped, as …

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BBC4...

...is the serious documentary ghetto (and not just arts). It's arguably home to the finest programmes BBC television produces.

Leave it well alone, please.

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Anonymous Coward

Keep BBC4

Perhaps they should scrap BBC2 as BBC4 is what BBC2 should be.

BBC1 and the red button channels can take up the slack if 3 goes too.

BBC needs to be democratised - Let each licence fee be a vote for the DG.

That plus transparency and we'd soon have a great and efficient service for all, hopefully with less blatant government bias.

... and they should pay for wireless broadband to less populated areas too.

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BBC4

Completely agree.

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Hahahahahahahahahahaha

hahahahahahahahagenral population voting for more arts programinghahahahahahahahahahahaha you owe me a new keyboardhahahahahahahaha

BBC 4 exists BECAUSE the BBC can do non commercial programing, not dispite it.

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Stop

4 is the magic number, except when it's 6

BBC Four is the BBC television channel I watch the most, or rather Sky+ and iPlayer the most programmes (who watches anything live these days, except sports fans). Although if there's an HD version available I take BBC HD version. =D

Radio 4 is the BBC radio channel I listen to the most, or rather podcast and iPlayer (listen to it in the car too).

6Music is the music radio station I listen to the most, but I cannot have it in my car. :(

Goodness, Rupert Murdoch and his minions must hate me! But surely these stations are the one that fits the BBC's remit the most and likes of BBC One and Radio 1 and Radio 2 the very least?

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Flame

Salford Quays

"It isn’t really near anywhere, but the plan is for it to become a "destination""

Do your homework, El Reg - the site is next to The Lowry theatre & arts centre, situated in the middle of an area where there are already a lot of media places, is opposite the Imperial War Museum North and MUFC, and is a couple of miles outside Manchester. Salford Quays is a very popular area particularly in the summer, where numerous triathlons have been held during the summer months, including the Commonwealth Games, and there are countless apartments springing up around there all the time. The Quays are already something of a destination, but the presence of the BBC and whatever they bring will doubtless see more people coming to the area.

No, I don't work for the BBC, Salford Council, or the Quays - I just come from Salford myself and it infuriates me when people appear to take the blinkered "Salford? That's up north, where the cobbles, whippets and rain are," viewpoint without actually doing their research first. Hmph.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Salford Quays

I know Salford very well, Peter, and I stand by that. It's 2.6 miles from Piccadilly, further if you drive, and more than 20 minutes on Metrolink.

It isn't even on the main Metrolink line. MediaCity will have its own very expensive little spur - another example of the poor subsidising the rich, and the North forking out to make the South comfortable.

- Andrew

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Re: Salford Quays

The intention of the Salford Quays regenation project is to make the South comfortable.

What sort of doublethink is that?

Let's just sling as much mud at it and hope that some of it sticks. I'm pretty sure White City is around 20 minutes by tube to (the other) Piccadilly too, middle of nowhere right?

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Anonymous Coward

@the North forking out to make the South comfortable

What, you mean the North forking out to make the Man Utd supporters comfortable?

Back when I used to get The Observer - though by this stage only for the TV Guide - Janet Street Porter became Editor and the guide got reformatted as one guy's recommendations for the week. So, on the night both Man Utd, and Chelsea had games in the Champions League the reviewer recommended the Utd game, and failed to acknowledge Chelsea even existed. This was a game at Stamford Bridge back when Chelsea had never lost a European game there. It was against Lazio as I recall - so, for footie fans, a really exciting prospect. And in one fell swoop the Observer TV Guide became a waste of space. So I wrote in to complain (as I am wont to do). I got a reply from Janet Street Porter saying the format had been chosen by a 'focus group' and (reading between the lines) 'tough shit'.

Same culture as the Beeb I reckon.

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Re: Salford Quays

Yes Salford Quays is only 20 mins from the centre of Manchester by tram - on the main Eccles Line - accessed from Broadway station. Compare that with London where you spend 10 minutes of each Tube journey going up and down escalators.

Plus its very close to the M602 and M60.

Southerners subsidising the North? I'm sure there was a Panorama programme a few years back which proved the opposite - all those South East government jobs and defense contractors sucking on the tax payer's mams.

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Headmaster

Whichever way you look at it...

...Salford is still a shithole. Even if it does have a royal charter from King Alfred. And here's me with a bright pink "In Salford" bath towel. ;-) That said the move of the BBC to GMC is likely to be a "game changer" over time, although I use this term reluctantly.

The point I think that Andrew is trying to make is that Media City is a typical "buildings first, infrastructure later" development. The overspend is at least in part down to pandering to the pampered few who are being force to relocate, bless their soft southern hearts.

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Headmaster

Missed the point

"Media City is a typical "buildings first, infrastructure later" development. The overspend is at least in part down to pandering to the pampered few who are being force to relocate"

Salford is actually under budget.

Is the London projects that are over budget, albeit by around 10% which isn't actually that much on projects of that scale.

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Who?

Because BBC3 has repeats of Doctor Who (which then conveniently show up on the iPlayer and can be..... obtained).

No other reason necessary.

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Tories ask: Why BBC3, BBC4?

Tories ask: Why BBC3, BBC4? In return for NewsCorp election support....

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No win situation

There is no way the BBC can escape criticism in this argument, and this is not because of what they do, but because of their wide audience of people with different viewing needs and opinions.

The fact that there is such a spirited set of arguments just proves that the BBC is being inclusive, and is probably doing it well. There is no way that everybody can agree on a single set of programming, and even if they did, it would then be criticized for being non-imaginative middle-of-the-road crap. It is the ONLY broad-spectrum media organization in the UK, and is probably the best in the world.

I do not particularly like period costume drama, but I accept that there are people who do. I do not like sport either, but I am not calling for either of these to be taken off. Same with Soaps. I do like much of the BBC 3 output, it allows programs that would not be carried anywhere else to be made, but it does get a bit repetitive (that's why it is actually so cheap). BBC 4 is useful for its arts and historical documentaries, and especially for its Proms coverage.

If there is anything on air that needs reviewing, it is the output from the biggest critic of the BBC, that being BSkyB. Just try to spot what they actually commission, rather than buying in.

Brainiacs, sport coverage, a handful of popularist book dramatizations, some elimination entertainment shows (following the herd) and a whole raft of police or customs reality shows and out-take shows. Are they really a good yardstick to compare the BBC to?

Everything else is American big-budget shows (some of which I quite like) and Matt Groening cartoons, but nothing they have actually MADE. Even though Sky carry a huge number of channels, they actually produce almost nothing of value themselves (Hogfather and The Colour of Magic excepted - but these were very rare).

If you need to free bandwidth up on Freeview, dump Sky 3 (just a placeholder really) and half of the shopping channels (Bid, Pricedrop, Ideal, Create and Craft, QVC - do we need them all), and some of the +1 channels. (I would also vote to return YeSTERDAY back to the UKTV History format). And definitly get rid of the Bingo and Roulette pap and Babestation exploitative junk. These last two catagories do not need replacing, just removing (really, there is much better free real-porn online if you want it).

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Being Human?

Best thing on the telly this year so far.

Oh; and MonkeyDust amongst a few other gems. BBC3 does sometimes get it right.

BBC4 does also occasionally get it right - Newswipe being a good example.

The problem is, as Andrew points out, that really few programme commissioners have any idea what people want. I really don't feel catered for.

I'd like to know what's being argued for? Fewer channels with better programming? That really doesn't seem to chime with what token Tory is actually saying.

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MonkeyDust

They put that on the BBC? I thought it would be more Channel 4's bag (JAM, Brass Eye etc).

I'd watch MonkeyDust + [adult swim] all day long.

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Stop

but why not scrap BBC3 and BBC4

get rid of the tripe that has taken over BBC2, and put the decent programming (such as NewsWipe) back there. The problem is more that the stuff worth watching that might once have half-filled two channels is now spread thinly over four, with filler in between. I mean, the entertainment news on BBC3, FFS, who do they think they are, Channel 5?

I watch being human occasionally, just because it is set in Bristol, where I happen to live. it is reasonably entertaining, however some of the acting is appalling, especially from the werewolf bloke with the funny ears.

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Anonymous Coward

BBC4 Rules

About the only intelligent life on the airwaves other than it's namesake Radio 4.

Might as well cancel Radio 4 as well if you are removing it's only TV based equivalent.

I will emigrate to Asia if we lose the last bastion of culture paid for by the license fee...there'd nothing else keeping me here...

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why bbc3?

well to be honest, every now and again it'll throw up a decent show, Being Human is one of those (don't ask me to name any more because thats the only one i watch)

as for BBC spending, i think everyone has pretty much given up on grumbling because nothing happens ... controversy is started but we rarely see anything along the same lines as the recent/ongoing MP expenses stories.

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BBC3 and 4

Most of the programming that is on BBC3 and 4 ends up on BBC 1 and 2 repeated anyway, or simply channel-swapped. Torchwood, Little Britain, Screenwipe, QI, Shooting Stars, Heroes, etc.

If they took BBC3 and 4 off the air, they could fill BBC 1 & 2 with fewer repeats and more programming. And get rid of Snog, Marry or Avoid...

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Save POD!

Sorry, don't agree - SMA should be transferred to BBC's 1/2 - it's a hoot, all these dozy post-teenies who have been putting the slap on with a shovel. It's also a very useful programme for pointing out to one's daughters "do you really want to look like _that_!?"

I could quite happily miss the rest of the content though - repeats of Doctor Who, Torchwood and EastEnders.

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The Beeb are the new Apple

"I suspect that many grumblers don't really dislike the BBC - it's just the Beeb now provides so many reasons for people to dislike its behaviour"

Sounds like Apple could come into the same situation. People don't dislike it, they just don't like it's behaviour of trying to stifle Android by hitting HTC and locking their hardware and software so you can't do what you want with it.

(In fact lots of people would very much like a shinier laptop)

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FAIL

RE: The Beeb are the new Apple

Are Apple locking their hardware and software? I am quite capable of writing, compiling and running my own OSX programs. I'm not the only one either as a quick web search for "osx software" will show (google returned 11million+ entries). So no "locking" there.

...and what the f**k has HTC/Android/Apple have to do with the BBC anyway? Nothing. You're just an Apple-hater, aren't you? (and not even a very clever one)

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Anonymous Coward

iPhone

I think that was aimed at the iPhone... *headdesk*

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Coat

Argh! lose BBC4?

With programmes like horizon now spending 20 minutes of poncy fluffy mood shots, and 6 minutes repeating themselves ad nauseam, leaving 4 minutes for actual content - oh and the credits of course, I find most of the shows worth watching are BBC4 these days, like the excellent Virtual Revolution. Quite a few seem to be OU based / assisted.

If BBC4 goes (and they choose not to move content to BBC2) then I think I just fetch my coat.

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In defence of BBC4

Personally I would have thought BBC4 is more worthy of holding on to than BBC3. Couldn't agree more with the sentiments re the continuing dumbing down of Horizon - how long before it resembles Brainiac on Sky?

On the other hand BBC4 seems - to me at least - more in keeping with public service broadcasting - excellent shows like V.R. mentioned, along with the ones on physics and chemistry from Jim El-Kallili. Just took a quick look at the RT page and there's a pretty wide spread of documentaries on today - and no fwuffy widdle lambykins (a la BBC2!) in sight.

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Public sector

no clue on reality, the boom times still keep on rolling for those guys......

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Happy

Czjd de fouqup

The best thing about the BBC at the moment is that BBC 1 and BBC 2 are so crappy that having a copy of the Radio Times is proof of not needing a TV licence.

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Coat

BBC3...

is what you watch if you think CBBC is too intellectual.

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Go

BBC3 is what I watch when

"Being Human" is on.

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BBC HD is what I record when

"Being Human" is on.

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Nev
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Radio4....

...exists to give politicians a good kicking some mornings on the Today programme.

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Stop

BBC3 >>> BBC2

If BBC2 had BBC3 shows.. then fine. Get rid of it.

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BBC4

BBC4 is exactly the sort of thing the Beeb should be doing. It's effectively what BBC2 was meant to be before it went populist. No channel which has programmes about z list celebrities flogging bric-a-brac to raise small amounts fcor charity can claim to be anything else.

In contrast, BBC4 has had a whole series of decent documentary series which have trouble finding space on the main stream channels.

I can't say the same for BBC3 - more of a repeats channel plus some more dubious stuff aimed at mass audiences.

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Anonymous Coward

BBC 3/4 on BBC 1/2

Quite a bit of 3 and 4's output ends up on BBC 1 & 2... particularly the better stuff. If BBC 4 was an 'arts ghetto' why would any of its shows be shown on terristerial?

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Grenade

psst....do you know why they're moving to salford?

the real reason that some of the bbc departments and resources are going to salford is in case of a terrorist strike on london.....at least they can't wipe out the whole of the government controlled media.

and bbc3/bbc4 should be scrapped and just take the best bits for bbc2.

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WTF?

this must qualify as the most stupid thing said here.

the bbc didn't move out of london during ww2: you know, the time when the nazis carpet bombed the city on a regular basis. they will already have bomb-proof studios and broadcasting facilities for national emergencies. these must have been upgraded during the cold war as part of all that civil defence bollocks. so the idea that the bbc or the could be shut down by a terrorist attack in london is beyond stupid. the same goes for other critical national infrastructure, like the phone system.

the reason the bbc has expanded its bases in manchester and glasgow is simple. they have to be seen to be a national institution. so they can't have everything done in london and have the rest of the country pissed off because everyone who works for the bbc lives in hampstead or notting fucking hill.

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Grenade

sorry you are wrong

my friend works for the architects involved. trust me, it is in case of a terror strike in london. if bbc london was struck, as least national broadcasting could continue from manchester.

ww2 was quite some time ago, the technology has moved on....

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History repeating

They said exactly the same thing about BBC2, before the 405-line service was discontinued.

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WTF?

BBC4

Look, threatening to take away my 6 Music pissed me off, but threatening to shut BBC4? It's the most intellectual, non-dumbed down television, probably anywhere in the English language. Shutting it down would be somewhere up there with torching the British Museum in my books.

(oh, and Being Human was ok, but I felt it didn't really connect the sit-com aspects with the horror storyline that well)

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Anonymous Coward

RE: BBC4

Being Human had "sit-com aspects"? Maybe if I'd noticed those, I wouldn't have decided to throw it in the "tedious crap" bucket.

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Anonymous Coward

Why BBC1, BBC2?

Every night feels like Saturday night on the telly these days.

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BBC1 and BBC2

If anything BBC1 and BBC2 should be scrapped. They're full of utter shite (and we've already got ITV1 filling that role nicely).

BBC1 is stuck in Saturday night pleb hell, and whenever I flip past BBC2 it's either showing later runs of content from 3 and 4, or Ceefax pages.

Give me BBC3 and BBC4 any day (apart from their short broadcasting hours).

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Re: BBC 1, 2, 3, 4

This discussion plays directly into the hands of politicians who believe that 'our' public service broadcaster, bought and paid for with our money, is at their disposal to carve up in order to appease the slavering Murdoch and his marsupial progeny.

The political fix is already in place with the establishment of the BBC Trust and its full complement of nodding donkeys.

Constructive criticism of how our money is spent should be directed at BBC management; politicians should be comprehensively told to fuck off and concentrate on rebuilding the economy that they wrecked with their lunatic free-market and deregulation policies.

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Unhappy

Love it

"The remit is to be ‘populist’ and attract young viewers, but since BBC staff rarely venture further north than Muswell Hill, it’s a strange mix of somebody’s idea of what ordinary people might like who has been away a long time, with the emphasis on the demotic. For example the ‘comedy’ has lots of swearing, to cover up the lack of wit."

Quite astute, that, and quite cutting. But yes, for a corporation that seems to see itself as the arbiter of quality, taste and 'public interest'*, the BBC is really giving people rather a lot of rope with which to hang it.

*- liiiike.... BBC News: "The Sun has effectively ruined Jon Venables' chance to a fair trial over any charges he faces. Jon Venables looks like this, here's Jamie Bulger's mother, an interview with a child psychologist, and 15-minute rotations on BBC News 24". Good work all round.

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Scrapping BBC1 & BBC2 would save more money

Scrap 1 & 2.

Tack local TV onto the front of BBC3 & 4 each evening.

Save lots of money.

Let the masses discover that BBC1's main job has been to brainwash us that the 3 "main parties" represents us, and that the current incumbent represents the majority of us.

Actually, I wouldn't mind if the BBC was internet and radio only. Buy just the TV programmes I want to watch. Which is approximately none. An even bigger saving.

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mwk

I don't know why BBC4 would be expensive

It only operates in the evenings, and STILL manages to show the same programme twice a day.

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You don't know what you've got

Seriously, even the worst of the BBC is still way better than anything people from other places get.

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Amen

I've seen TV in a lot of countries, and the Beeb is the best bar none. BBC4 may not draw the crowds of BBC1 but it's content can't be that expensive to make - surely interviews of or by Griff Rhys-Jones etc. can't cost the earth.

As for BBC3: Monkey Dust. I'd pay my license fee over again just to experience that for the first time around once more.

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