(above : Saturday’s previously scheduled BBC2 programming. It’s kinda like “Oz”, only with fewer Treach cameos).
England face Japan tomorrow in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup, a match that was previously scheduled to be shown on the BBC’s website and digital TV channels rather than either of their terrestrial offering. As the broadcaster has since flip-flopped, the Guardian’s Scott Murray can take some from credit for successfully eviscerating two media monoliths in one Fiver entry.
The official reason given by the BBC for hiding away England’s match against France in the women’s World Cup on the red button is that they do not screen sport on both terrestrial channels at the same time. So with BBC1 showing the Scottish Open golf tomorrow afternoon, the women have been shunted off to the service that takes on average 16 hours to load and isn’t quite as good as Ceefax.
Presumably the Beeb are concerned with offering the terrestrial viewer a choice, which is fair enough, though a bit of consistency wouldn’t go amiss. One example, Wimbledon. Also, while Question Time was on BBC1 last night, Newsnight was being transmitted simultaneously on BBC2, and both programmes were given over to the nation’s new sport of patting itself vigorously on the back in celebration of a pyrrhic victory while The Man takes the opportunity to streamline his affairs, shore up what’s really important to him and hoof a couple of hundred members of The Plain People Of London in the teeth while he does it.
Can the BBC be persuaded to change? Shadow education secretary Andy Burnham certainly hopes so, and has called on BBC beancounter-general Mark Thompson to get his effing act together. “He needs to know that just showing the match on the red button service and the website is not good enough,” said Burnham. “My interest in this from a policy point of view is to get young people interested in sport and inspiring more girls to play sport. The BBC should have a proper strategy. There are still 24 hours before the game kicks off – there is time to reschedule and at least show some of the game live. To prioritise repeats of Porridge and Flog It! is almost unbelievable.”