Ed West Ed West

A solution to the BBC problem – break it in two

Monday’s episode of The Unbelievable Truth, in case you missed it, featured comedians Marcus Brigstocke and Rufus Hound. I did miss it, partly because I read about how Hound thinks David Cameron wants to kill your children, and I just couldn’t face the jokes about the Daily Mail and ‘hoards of Romanians!’

Even Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe has become unbearable. I gave up half-way through the last two episodes I attempted, one of which was entirely about how stupid and neanderthal Ukip are and the other which contained a slot just as big explaining how anyone hostile to further migration from eastern European was simply an idiot and that’s it.

Political comedians are paid to make an amusing point about the absurdity of politics, but almost by definition their arguments have to be one-dimensional, since the wider, more nuanced picture is less funny; admittedly interviewing David Goodhart or Paul Collier about immigration would be less amusing than some half-wit outside a shopping centre, although a comedian could easily poke up fun at the Home Office’s 2004 prediction that between 5-13,000 eastern Europeans would arrive every year; but strangely no one at the BBC ever has. Funny, that.

Maybe I’m just getting old, but when political comedy becomes too partisan it gets boring. I’m not against the BBC using Brooker, who is after all one of the funniest men in Britain, and I’m sure after I emerge from a nervous breakdown in my forties as a liberal I’ll find him funny again. But I do wonder if it occurs to anyone involved with commissioning the show to think that it was quite clearly politically partial, and it should perhaps be balanced by something from the opposing side?

That’s my major problem with the BBC – there is just so little diversity there.

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