back to article BBC Trust candidate defends licence fee, says evaders are CRIMINALS

The Government's choice for BBC chairman defended the licence fee, criminal penalties for non-payers, and digital "education" initiatives before MPs today. BBC executives will have been delighted by what former Pearson director Rona Fairhead told the DCMS Select Committee (if you have Silverlight installed, you can have a look …

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  1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

    I'd only agree with that if they dropped the adverts...

    1. Ben Liddicott

      Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

      Why? The BBC is full of adverts. Mostly for itself, but still.

      1. Ted Treen
        Holmes

        Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

        "...The BBC is full of adverts. Mostly for itself, but still..."

        Too many words.

        "The BBC is full of itself."

        There. Fixed it for you

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

        If you can't tell the difference between adverts and trailers then you prove yourself unqualified to comment.

    2. captain veg

      Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

      Here in France there is a licence fee (which is added automatically to local taxes unless you can prove that you don't have a telly) *and* the channels it supports carry advertising.

      You don't know how good you've got it.

      -A.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

        And 95% of the locally produced shows suck cul.

    3. NoneSuch

      Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

      I'd like to see an "Ignorant Opinion" license fee. The nations debt would be paid off in two years just by members of the House of Commons.

    4. Daniel Hall

      Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

      I doubt it will be long before someone finds an excuse to have ads on all BBC channels.

      I barely watch live TV because of them, usually record a show and watch later,

  2. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
    FAIL

    BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

    Science and Natural History?

    Someone better let Discovery know.

    1. Spasticus Autisticus

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      I've not seen a decent documentary on The Discovery Channel for years, it's full of odd Americans doing odd things to each other or themselves. While BBC 4 does some marvellous documentaries on all kinds of subjects.

      I really don't like the sound of this new girl though, if she deals with the liberal wussies that seem to run the BBC (and get rid of that idiot Katz who's wrecking News Night) then I'll think better of her.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      You mean the stuff that the BBC doesn't co-produce with Discovery, those Discovery-only productions with titles like "What if a Giant Asteroid the Size of the Moon Came from Outer Space and Hit the San Andreas Fault?"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      Somebody better let me know. Horizon used to be excellent, but has long since degenerated into repetitive mush.

    4. Rikkeh

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      Have you *watched* Discovery recently? It's all reality shows disguised as documentaries.

      Even Shark Week (originally designed to get people to respect and understand sharks rather than fear them) has descended into a "docufiction" about a prehistoric shark eating a pleasure boat (no, really!).

    5. Tiny Iota
      Flame

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      Surely you mean the If-they’re-doing-it-in-Alaska-that’s-good-enough-for-us Channel.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...??????? Who says?

      And National Geographic, TLC, WNET (PBS) and any number of other providers of "quality" TV.

      (Although "quality" TV IS rather an OXYMORON). Let's not forget the documentaries that are privately produced either.

      The BBC certainly does not have a lock on the production of quality TV. Don't they produce Eastenders?

      Before the downvotes begin, I don't care for most television regardless who produces it.

    7. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Down

      @Omgwtfbbqtime - Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      No, someone should tell the people making documentaries for the BBC that they shouldn't copy Discovery et al and make an hour-long broadcast that could have been done in 20 minutes if it wasn't for all the padding, repetition and trailing of what is coming up...

    8. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      It also doesn't explain a lot of the sub-ITV stuff they do like Home Under the Hammer, Scrappers and Mrs Brown's Boys.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

        "It also doesn't explain a lot of the sub-ITV stuff they do like Home Under the Hammer, Scrappers and Mrs Brown's Boys."

        Are you seriously implying that programs like Flog It cannot match the "sheer greatness" of Dickinson's real deal? Pull the other one, it's less painful.

    9. bex

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      I suggest you look at the discovery channels listings then get back to me

      http://www.discoveryuk.com/tv-guide/?type=day&style=day&channel_code=DCUK-ENG&filter=1800

      1. CmdrX3

        Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

        Discovery hasn't discovered anything in quite some time other than Jim Bob Jr from Alibami And Tim Tom McGoober from Georgi have TVs and want to know what life is like in Alaski. History has found out that the only history we need to know about is buried somewhere in a storage locker and that the Ice Age involves trucks driving up and down on it. As for National Geographic... I honestly just have not the words. Oh yeah and the BBC can shove their licence fee up their Khyber pass.

    10. Sirius Lee

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      It's desperately disappointing these people are so disingenuous. A quick look at the list of 'Science & Nature' channel programs listed this morning (2014/09/10) on iPlayer shows that of the 22 programmes 18 are nature series and one of them from the 1950s and two are old David Attenborough series. Of the four non-nature 'science' programmes one is about the scary 'dark web', one about the 'romance of the Indian railways' (science, really?), one is by the long deceased Fred Dibnah (RIP) who climbed tall chimneys for a living and one about modern gadgets.

      This listing is not unusual and has been the way of the BBC for a long time now. The BBC no longer does Science. It does some nature. To be fair while the recent track record is poor there have been some notable exceptions: Bang Goes the Theory (vs Big Bang Theory); the two three part series by Jim Alkalili (Periodic table of the elements/Electricity); the three part series by Michael Mosely on Pain, Puss and Poison; the two series by Brian Cox and the couple of Horizon programmes hosted by Jem Stafford were all good. But that I can list them easily and were talking about, maybe 40 hours of programming it's not a great showing.

      Where is the real science? What happened to Horizon (mainly repeats or programmes 'diving into the archives'), Connections, Tomorrows World? Other channels seem to do it OK. Even Quest shows more new science stuff than the BBC (no not just endless re-runs of How's It Made).

      So if I want more science in my viewing diet I *have* to look elsewhere.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

        "So if I want more science in my viewing diet I *have* to look elsewhere."

        Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but don't try looking in the direction od Discovery Science Channel. It seems the term 'science' only applies to weapons, gadgets and 'did you ever wonder how they make baseball bats?'

        Of course when science content is determined by admen and arts graduates we're stuffed before we start.

    11. chrspy

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      All the reasonable quality programmes that Discovery show were originally produced by the BBC!!!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

    Seriously considering cancelling it. Last week I watched 1 programmed, and it wasn't even one they made 1 new episode of Family Guy on BBC3.

    99% of their programming is no interest to me. I have no interest in soaps or reality TV, or the One Show, it's all total toss.

    I notice you don't need a TV licence to use iPlayer, so I might just cancel, and on the offchance there is something worth watching, catch it there. Right now, I feel dirty paying BBC £144 a year for them to piss it away on celebrity crap like Strictly Come Dancing.

    It seems like the Idiocray future is getting nearer and nearer...

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Quality tat

      What kind of quality is a matter of opinion. I still get threatening letters despite not having wasted my time watching shit in years.

      So someone is getting a result.

    2. Ken Darling

      Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

      Couldn't agree more. Gave up my license / television viewing when the BBC decided the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony was new and simultaneously broadcast it on BBC1 (sorry BBC One) and BBC News.

      And quite honestly I haven't really missed it at all. Nor has the rest of the family.

      It turns out we were watching out of habit rather than because there were outstanding programmes worth watching. Yes, we've watched iPlayer a couple of times - Dr Who and Great British Bake Off - but, just like normal television, we wouldn't miss it if we couldn't watch it... Indeed, the DVD player's implementation of iPlayer will be decommissioned at the end of the month, so I suspect the television's version will die shortly afterwards. No great loss.

      Amazon Prime Video will give us more choice and better choice at half the cost.

      This is the digital age; time the BBC introduced digital viewing cards. No pay, no view. I'd support that for iPlayer, too.

    3. BongoJoe

      Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

      We've got rid of ours years ago. And we don't miss it.

      For TV dramas there's always Netflix or even the iPlayer applications of the various channels.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

        I havnt watched anything on the BBC for ages. It has nothing of interest. I used to have sky and there were a few shows I watched on various channels but zip on the many BBC channels. I would like to see the tv tax disappear and I can guarantee a few of the BBC channels would go too because they offer nothing.

        Occasionally I have this discussion with someone and they tell me that it produces wonderful content because they are one of the few who watches something on it or is old enough to still think in only 3 channels. But if it was so good it would survive on its own without needing this tax. The last time I watched something on there was The Worricker Trilogy and I have no idea what I watched before that on the BBC.

      2. wowfood

        Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

        Haven't touched a license in a long time. I never watched much live TV before, and I don't really watch any live TV now. If there's anything I want to watch it's usually on crunchyroll or netflix. I made sure to contact them when I first moved in to tell them I didn't watch TV, but since I live in a flat I'm wondering how long it will be before I get the threatening "We know you have a TV and we know you're watching it" letters. I imagine they'll start in november time.

    4. SundogUK

      Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

      Stopped paying the license fee fifteen years ago for exactly this reason. Haven't missed it at all.

    5. CJatCTi

      Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

      We only watch things via the iPlayer after it has been broadcast - but that is only 1 or 2 program max a week. So we don't have a license or an aerial connected to our TV, and for many younger people broadcast TV is an irrelevance.

      I do think it's stupid you can watch the iPlayer with out paying.

      When I lived in a mobile home - they wouldn't provide a licence as I didn't a postal address for it, just my work one & it wasn't there.

      The licence system is a mess.

      1. chrspy

        Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

        But you're still paying even more annually towards the commercial channels - which presumably you can't get - every time you go shopping .......

    6. RegGuy1

      Re: Seriously considering cancelling it...

      You, can't. They won't let you do that!

    7. chrspy

      Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

      BUt don't forget you'll still be paying towards all the commercial channels every time you go shopping .......

  4. flearider

    why must will still pay ?? I don't watch much telly but still have to pay £150 in this day and age ??

    yes I could go the I don't watch live telly and get away with it route ..but being forced to pay so the bbc can spend money on dribble ..oh and lets not forget about how much wages some of them get at our expense.. let em put adverts on to pay .. and within 6 months there would be a 40% reduction in staff they don't need ..

    rant over ..

  5. PaulWizard
    Thumb Down

    Of course!

    While working at Pearson she thought the BBC doing educational material was bad, now working for the BBC she thinks it's great. What is the going rate for an articulate puppet nowdays? I think we should have a reforendum on ditching the BBC tax, but we won't be given that chance cos they have no chance of winning that vote.

    1. ideapete

      Re: Of course!

      Stop slandering articulate puppets who work for a living, the lady doesn't qualify totally mediocre Beebette

  6. John Savard Silver badge

    Evil

    The telly tax in Britain is a flat tax, and means that poor people can't afford to have a TV set, which, in countries without such a tax, is often their only means of entertainment. Plus, lately, the tax has been applied to computer equipment because it can be used to watch streaming video, which cripples the adoption of technology, and forces companies to intrusively monitor employees.

    There should never have been a telly tax, just as the government should never have gotten in the business of collecting tithes for the Church of England.

    1. Technological Viking
      Flame

      Re: Evil

      Worse yet than the fact that it's a flat tax, the argument for continuing the flat fee in the first place is that it can further people and propel them out of their squalorous lives! Tail-eating logic being fed by disingenuous leeches to pants-on-head regulators that will eat it up.

      Then again, I'm American and am pretty offended by the way our federal government leverages our local law enforcement against us using our money to force the locals to do something they didn't want to originally... Glass houses and all that.

      1. Russell Hancock

        Re: Evil @Technological Viking

        I read that as feral government - i think that may be more appropriate on both sides of the Atlantic!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Evil

      Most poor people have a Sky subscription, in addition to a TV license. Affordability is not usually the problem as such. It's priorities. The fee is affordable, but it may not be the most important thing for the money to go towards.

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Evil

        True, most of them would drop Sky before Benson & Hedges.

    3. Craigness

      Re: Evil

      The license is for the tv signals, not the equipment. It won't affect technology adoption except by idiots who don't read the details, and we're better off with them not using technology.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. rhydian

        Re: Evil

        "A better idea would indeed be to fund the BBC with a tax on cable, satellite, and other subscription TV services."

        That's as sensible as the guardian columnist that argued that all broadband connections should be taxed to support newspapers.

        Why should the BBC be paid for by people who have decided that they'd rather watch something else?

  7. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Fairhead also defended criminal penalties for non-payers - and over 70 sent to jail.

    My late Mother lost much of her sight and aged 90 she was long without a TV set when a Thug from the TV licence gang banged on her door.

    He stated she was stealing TV signals and she should pay or go to court. Extremely upset and overwrought, being alone, she shut the door in this guys face.

    Sure enough, it proceeds to court. The only evidence in her defence was a video showing every corner of her house. No TV!

    Case dismissed.

    1. Chris Parsons

      Re: Fairhead also defended criminal penalties for non-payers - and over 70 sent to jail.

      I wonder who the curmudgeonly, low-life dipshit was that down voted you?

      1. rhydian

        Re: Fairhead also defended criminal penalties for non-payers - and over 70 sent to jail.

        The same bloke that used to drive the "TV Detector Van" around my local town.

        Said "TV Detector Van" was a long wheelbase Transit Minibus (you could see the seats through the tinted windows FFS)

        1. Number6

          Re: Fairhead also defended criminal penalties for non-payers - and over 70 sent to jail.

          The tale goes that in certain cities with a line of houses down a street, back gardens/yards that backed onto an alley, more back gardens, houses, street etc, the trick was to position someone at the end of the alley where he could observe all the yards, then drive a van clearly marked as a TV detector van slowly down the road. Then the guy at the back would observe all the men running out of their houses to hide the TV in the shed and note which houses they were. Then the team could go knock on the door, go out to the shed and find the still-warm TV (remember they had valves in back then), demonstrating that the TV detector van was so good it could detect the location of a TV even when switched off and hidden.

      2. Oninoshiko

        Re: I wonder who the curmudgeonly, low-life dipshit was that down voted you?

        probably the guy who got the door shut in his face!

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