Dear Sir,

AS a regular reader of the Bulletin, I am always interested in the writings of Ray Fleming and often find myself agreeing with his opinions. However, one area in which I do not agree with him is in his continual criticism of the BBC and in particular the era of management under Greg Dyke.

In Saturday's edition of MDB, Mr Fleming refers to the ratings-chasing and dumbing-down policies of Mr Dyke that have lead to a decline in standards, but then appears to contradict himself by saying that BBC3 and BBC4 have proved their worth in their first full competitive years. Is he not aware that the birth of BBC3 and BBC4 (together with Cbeebies, CBBC and Radios 5-8) all took place during Greg Dyke's period of leadership and that it was Mr Dyke who championed their causes against a sometimes-sceptical government?

He also singles out BBC1 for its lack of awards in the recent BAFTA ceremony. The BBC, and BBC1 in particular is in an almost impossible position. Being licence fee funded, it is expected to deliver popular entertainment that appeals to a wide range of people, but when it does so, it is criticised for being too populist and of offering programmes that can also be found on commercial channels. Similarly, when it provides entertainment that is considered highbrow, it is accused of being elitist and not providing entertainment that appeals to the wide audience that funds it.

Mr Fleming goes on to say that most of the coming weeks schedule is rubbish but then lists 12 forthcoming programmes which are of note, 10 of which are on BBC channels.

Jason Moore, writing in the Viewpoint column, also goes in for a bit of BBC bashing. He writes we are very lucky that we can receive all these channels in the Balearics but it has brought it home to me how the BBC has declined over the last five years.

Yes, we are very lucky, however as most of us that live here do not pay a TV licence fee and are in breach of our SKY contracts, do we have the right to criticise?

I am not saying that everything on the BBC is wonderful as indeed there are some pretty bad programmes, but I do believe that overall the quality and range of programming is high. If you want to see an alternative version of a state broadcaster, you have to look no further than our host nation. The standard of programmes on TVE is far inferior to that offered by the BBC, that is if you can find the programmes in between the 15 minute advertisement breaks.

Finally, I have to declare a small interest here. As a former BBC employee who worked there during the Dyke era, you might say that my view is a little biased. However writing about one's former employer through slightly rose–tinted spectacles is not something on which I have a monopoly. Is it Mr Fleming?

Martin Page, Porreres.


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