Aged BBC Correspondant fears change, bites hand that feeds him

You’ve got to love The Independant.

Grumpy-face.  Sour-puss.

Grumpy-face. Sour-puss.

Any other newspaper would have reported this in an hysterical, “end of the world” stylee.  The Guardian would have gloated, used zeitgeisty buzzwords and talked a lot about “new media” and “empowerment.”  The Times would have actually said “zeitgeist” and possibly “apropos”, but inappropriately so as to leave you feeling slightly confused and uneducated.  The Telegraph would have banged-on about how it wasn’t like this in their day, how we should respect “elder statesmen” this and “end of an era” that, blamed it on immigration and then launched into a stream of monosyllabic adjectival hyperbole that leaves you wondering which idiot would give a monkey a Thesaurus for Xmas.

But not the Indi.

They take a story that’s begging for The Daily Mash to jump up and down on it and they give you “just the facts, ma’am.”  You don’t really get much of “we’ll let you make your own minds up” journalism these days.  It’s quite refreshing.  They just let the subjects hang themselves out to dry – and this one’s an easy hit: Grand Old Man of BBC News loses the plot and thinks he’s on an episode of “Grumpy Old Men.”

As for me:  I’ve got a bellyfull of “Grr!” and a two-by-four wrapped in “Meh!” with which I shall now proceed to beat the news to the ground, then kick it while it’s down.

From today’s Independent online.

BBC’s future bleak, says John Simpson

The BBC “is in its last stages”, says veteran broadcaster John Simpson – and now he expects the sack soon “in horrible circumstances”.

Or, as they used to call it: he’ll retire on full final-salary pension, drop some acid (judging by his Wikipedia entry) then make a mint writing endless memoirs.  Yeah – that sounds truly horrible.

The corporation’s World Affairs Editor told an audience at Cheltenham Literature Festival the future was bleak for the BBC because the licence fee was being “chopped away”.

Mostly chopped away by the tens of thousands of your British pounds that the Beeb wastes on parties every year, by the military-grade interweb they have below TVC (which, in case you missed it, is getting knocked down in a few years – talk about future-proofing) and by continuing to fight a ratings war that they should have no part of and will never win.  Oh yes – and Radio 4 is utterly pointless.

Fearless for his own career, the 64-year-old predicted he would eventually be fired by the “so and so’s” at the top revealing: “I hate them pretty much anyway.”

My – how very fearless!  Marvel at the bravery of the Mr. Grumpy.  He’s just pissed that Brian Hanrahan got the Falklands gig.

The foreign correspondent who has visited 120 countries later softened and admitted he was “sort of” fond of the ‘magnificent outfit’.

Toady and hypocrite.  Either stand up and be counted or lie down and take your beating, Simpson.

“The future? Well, I don’t think that it’s going to look very good for the BBC.

“I think the BBC we have known, for good or worse, is now in its last stages. It pains me after 42 years of working for it to think that, but I alas do.

“I think the standards will be there, just as they are with other organisations which have been built on the BBC model, but it takes money.

It takes money gifted to them by government and taxes which is what the Licence Fee is a stealthy form of, BTW.  I point these things out by way of a public service, you know.

“Now that the commercial principle is failing the broadcasters, it means the way in which our entire broadcasting system has functioned for decades since 1955 is now under very serious threat. It will be very different indeed. It may be better but I somehow doubt it.”

Commercial principle?  What commercial principle?  They’re government sponsored. They wouldn’t know a commercial if it shouted at them in it’s loudest “THIS IS CILLIT BANG” voice.

“What the hell do I care? I’ll be 75 or something like that. I’ll be just that age when people start turning round and saying nasty things about the BBC.”

So not 65, as you are right now, when you’re saying nasty things about the BBC?  Hypocrite and, quite possibly, suffering from Old-Timers – have you forgotten the mean things you’ve just said about dear old Aunty Beeb?  Do you want me to read it back to you, John?  Can I get you another blanket, dearie?

Simpson then turned on Terry Wogan…

SMACKDOWN – live on Sky

…calling his recent criticism of the BBC “strange”.

Urgh – that’s a let-down.   I was hoping for at least a People’s Elbow.

He joked: “He said something particularly savage. I can’t remember what it was. I thought somebody surely should have a word with him about that.”

Another bout of Old-Timers.  Is it past your bedtime?

“That’s what you do. You wait until you’ve finished and then say something nasty about it.

Like what you just done?

“I just hope – and I hope you’ll keep me to it – if I were to get the boot from the BBC, perhaps after what I’ve said this evening, and I pop up and start denigrating it, I do hope you’ll remind me how I despise that tendency among people.”

Hello Pot – Kettle calling.

Simpson had only agreed to speak at the event in Gloucestershire as a last-minute substitute for former hostage Terry Waite.

Leaving the audience wishing they’d been handcuffed to a radiator in the Middle East, rather than sit and watch a once great reporter self-destruct as he descends into absent-minded ranting against the company that has paid his mortgage for the last 40 years.

This really is the end of an era for the BBC – I’ll give him that.  The last dinosaurs are being shuffled out the door.  The Beeb will certainly lose a great deal of experience, knowledge and wisdom as these esteemed media relics get pensioned-off, one by one.  They’ll also lose the “it wasn’t like this in my day” crowd, the “we do it this way for a reason” pedants and the “don’t you know who we are?  We’re the BBC*” petty Hitlers who make TVC a bloody awful place to work.

Farewell, you moldy old bastards.  You’ll be missed.  Meybe.

Nah – not really.

( * I swear to you, I’ve heard BBC staff say this to members of the public.  That’s what you’re licence fee is paying for.)

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~ by mchawk on 14 October, 2008.

2 Responses to “Aged BBC Correspondant fears change, bites hand that feeds him”

  1. I thought due to the unique way the BBC was funded that they make shitloads of money millions by re-selling programmes overseas. You know, the very same programmes our taxes pay for. Bastards. It’s not even like you could accuse the BBC of having integrity nowadays is it? Phoney call ins, puppet news, self-generating, self-serving, self-promoting, old boys club. Good luck to ’em, but stop taxing me for shit I can’t be arsed to watch (okay, new Doctor Who had it’s moments but then roly poly queer as folk RTD started moaning about long hours and burn out – probably bluffing to get a payrise, no doubt). Nice work if you can lick your way to it but lets not delude ourselves. 21st Century BBC sucks much like the rest of TV, but costs more and is not optional.

  2. Hi Rabid,

    As far as “self promoting” goes, I bet you’ve loved the Brand/Ross debacle that’s been clogging-up the BBC news in recent weeks. Talk about navel-gazing!

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