You would have thought I’d suggested rogering his grandmother; there was an immediate bristling and a refusal to engage with the issue. Just a blanket denial that the corporation chases ratings, is stretching itself too thinly, etc etc. And a weird defensiveness; the suspicion that the interlocutor might be saying this sort of stuff because he’s in the pay of Murdoch and therefore wants the BBC destroyed. It’s the same, pretty much, with every BBC exec you talk to, a hostile absolutism based upon the philosophy that because the Daily Mail hates them, they must, de facto, be doing the right thing. And yet this week we see the BBC executive pay bill rose again to almost five million quid and a study showing that people think there’s not enough new stuff on the channels. You can see them sleepwalking to oblivion, jaws set squarely against the slings and arrows from the hated outsiders.
I believe pretty passionately in the BBC; but it still does not get it, does not understand that the antagonism it arouses is rooted in the fact that it no longer appears to know why it is there.