Straight to it with no foreplay, Krishnan Guru Murphy kicks off BAFTA TV Question Time with dour debate on whether we can still trust the BBC post-Savile scandal. 4 to 1 say we can. Auntie is too important an institution to let fall to the gutter because of one incident that was (while inexcusable) a symptom of the times.
Content is next. Why don’t British broadcasters make great drama, like the US? Stuart Murphy alludes to a ‘minimum level’ of programming to secure a subscription – who cares if people actually watch it? (Only 10% of Sky’s revenues come from advertising.) And as to whether the nation’s ADD (multi-screen, multi-channel) is affecting the prevalence of quality, long-form narrative, Peter Kosminsky argues that a strong story will always hold your attention, and the temptation to incorporate transmedia storytelling will only prove effective if the story is, well, effective. Naturally. Concludes with a defence of new commissions like Girls and C4’s Utopia as proof that broadcasters are risk-takers and just as good as the US. Ok then.
On to diversity. Why do all gameshow panels, continuity announcers and comedians have the same tone of voice? Because they all come from the same place, argues Grace Dent (mostly white, confident, middle class backgrounds). What are broadcasters doing to break free of this? Not enough, agrees the panel. Stuart Murphy shifts a little in his seat as he jokes that white, confident, middle class men aren’t all bad – after all, he is one. Titter.
As to the future of TV? Great content that challenges those in power and speaks to all audiences, not just those who produce it. Less lazy thinking. More risk-taking. Sounds good to me.