When is a TV tribute night not a tribute night?

davidleanSo last night was David Lean tribute night on BBC4 – except it wasn’t really, was it?

Tribute nights have become popular currency on TV in recent years. Whether it’s a way to bulk out the schedules or a genuine homage to a feted TV show/celebrity/music act, they crop up with increasing regularity on the terrestrial channels, at least.

The David Lean night was a classic case of much puff and not enough substance. There was a very interesting documentary from Jonathan Ross is his film critic mode, followed by the classic Lean movie In Which We Serve – and that was it. That was the sum total of the David Lean night.

You’d have thought the BBC might have been able to stretch to showing two of Lean’s movies, but no. Just the one.

To make matters worse, the night was sandwiched between a repeated Mark Lawson interview with Richard Wilson. Oh, the shame!

How much advertising can the BBC get away with?

Match of the Day - BBC advertisingI was catching up with the weekend’s football last night and revelling in the enjoyment of the Manchester derby.

As Mike Phelan was being interviewed after the match, I took a proper look at the hoarding behind his head and was astounded.

I think we all know that the BBC’s policy on advertising has slipped a little in the past few years, but just how blatant is it on MoTD.

I looked closely at the screen (pic as you can see on the left) and realised there were none other than 7 different brands/companies being plugged. And that’s not forgetting the BBC Sport logo.

OK, so football is a different animal anyway because of the hoardings on the side of the pitch and on-shirt sponsorship, but the post-match interview is completely separate from that part of the game, isn’t it?

I get annoyed with the constant plugging of their own programmes in between other shows, but this is a step too far, surely.

Andy Burnham sticks up for the BBC again

The ongoing saga of topslicing the TV licence fee to help prop up the likes of Channel 4, but at the expense of the BBC, has been a thorn in the side of Ofcom and the government this year.

No-one in power wants to rule out topslicing, but no-one wants to come down heavily on the side of the BBC either. Even David Cameron is only ‘sceptical’ about it now, having previously endorsed the concept.

In spite of all the problems the BBC has been through recently, most recently the Daily Mail-led witch-hunt of Messrs Brand and Ross, many people in the corridors of Westminster don’t believe that it should have its own power diluted.

In this month’s The Word magazine Andy Burnham once again throws his support behind the BBC, saying:

People like to kick lumps out of [the BBC] but I do think we do that at our peril. It’s the backbone of our broadcasting system and, going forward, it should be more important, not less.

Not exactly the most impartial of comments, I’m sure you’d agree. And although he’d hate to confirm, Mr Burnham is clearly not going to be pressing very hard for topslicing, but as Steve Hewlett pointed out in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago, ‘after the next election… it may be a very different situation’.