BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
Just imagine if We Brits had a broadcaster across TV, the Web and Radio that was free to access, funded by adverts, therefore reflecting the market, Our Nation. One that backed everything British rather than cocking a snook at it. A service that delivered factual news and illuminating documentaries that boosted British Democracy and, by shining an investigative light, held those in big business and politics to account.
Imagine if this broadcaster became a meritocratic conveyor belt of fresh talent from which other commercial channels and stations could recruit. A cornucopia of ideas and creativity which turned into productions acquired by other channels. A magnet for film capital, assisted by Government tax breaks, forming the basis for Brollywood. A cutting-edge trendsetter for new music and culture. A guardian and promoter of British History and Traditions. Highly marketable sports covered day and night across all media. Comedy rated commercially by audience numbers, by merit and popularity – or rapidly consigned to the scrapheap. Profits pumped back into the broadcaster.
Now imagine that this broadcaster were genuinely impartial, signed and sealed. News presenters would get sacked on the spot for smirking or grimacing over serious political stories, whatever the strength of passion of their personal bents. Employees would be banned from Twitter and be forced to keep their social media accounts private. Sexuality would never be celebrated. Race ignored so as not to create wholly unnecessary division. Gender irrelevant, except on the Website Sports Section with a clear button for women’s sports, so as not to confuse, purposefully or otherwise, an “Arsenal Victory” with an Arsenal Women’s Victory.
Countryside programmes would involve actual countrysiders. The market reflecting popularity of programmes in easily-accessible spreadsheets – dross excised, and marginal niche content left to private creators on YouTube. All staff would be employees and fully responsible for impartiality, with all contractor arrangements outlawed. No talent would ever feel settled – no jobsworths allowed, let alone jobs for life created.
And who would own this independent entity?
Either a government-owned independent Bank of England relationship or via Royal Charter.
Who would run this entity?
Proven leaders from across entertainment, sports, news delivery and other areas, overseen by a non-political, impartial board. Rewarded for success and demoted by failure.
What about Government influence?
The Government would fund centrally, at no great cost – as an extension of certain Government departments – international research departments, keeping on top of global media trends and ensuring the propagation of freedom of speech, especially via Radio and a Website, in otherwise repressed foreign lands still in need of some soft power. A helping hand for the disabled, and education services, would not go amiss, perhaps sponsored by big business. The broadcaster would be obliged to cover all major national events, including Royal Weddings and Funerals, as well as Parliamentary and court business, thus enlightening Our Democracy.
A British Broadcasting Company.
Free access for all Brits, should they want to access it, without threats of jail. Content created and sold internationally with profits pumped back into the entity rather than salted away into the offshore accounts of producers.
Is that such a distant dream? Are business models so fixed? Netflix used to rent out DVDs, after all.
A broadcasting company for the British, reflective of the British, promoting Great Britain around the globe. Without the need to be edgy like GB News and without the need to be woke like ITV.
Reform. Rebuild. Prosper.
Dominic Wightman is Editor of Country Squire Magazine.