Killing British TV… again

I guess ‘It’s the economics, stupid!’, is my ongoing theme in this almost series that started by welcoming the sacking of a man who did much to change the economics of British Television, blasted-ish at the lame excuses for TV’s decline we’re always offered and whinged about other stuff.

Today I’m prompted by my Union’s campaign. Father of the Granada TV chapel, David Nolan writes; ‘half the non-news programme makers… may not be here by January… they make award-winning, innovative programmes… they make programmes that viewers love and respect… fewer programmes doesn’t just mean less programme makers… the end of a training pool of talent and the end of “Granadaland”’. Despite pledges of loyalty, Granada’s iconic headquarters building is to close as its reduced staff move over to the ‘bonded’ warehouse that was once part of the failed Granada Studios Tour.

This is not a Manchester issue, but the result of the regulator, Ofcom’s, proposed decision to give ITV permission to halve its regional programming (here London’s a region too), following the consolidation of the channel from a network of regional TV companies, to a single national business. The gaps will not be filled with innovative national programmes. ITV believes the way to ratings is a six day war that will see seven hours of I’m A Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here! in peak time (more off-peak and on ITV2), six episodes of Emmerdale and eight instalments of Coronation Street.

It might work, for six days. But it cannot be sustainable and the channel will be left less innovative, less creative and less watchable. The old Granada was famous for programmes like So It Goes, which celebrated the region’s new musical talent.

In some ways, it’s not so bad for Manchester, as the BBC’s ‘Out of London’ review is expected to see a major expansion in the city. Their largely empty building, which includes one the country’s biggest theatre-style studios (disused), is to be repopulated. It lost a lot of people when the BBC merged its north west operations with Granada’s into 3sixtymedia. But other regional broadcasting centres will be devastated and the country’s diversity will not be so well represented by ITV.

Anyway. You know what to do: visit the NUJ’s campaign page for ideas and e-mail khalid.hayat@ofcom.org.uk to make your views known.
Selling out British TV……Who killed (Saturday Night) TV?……Rubbish message from rubbish TV

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