The BBC is part of our na­tional fab­ric

Computer Active (UK) - - Letters -

I’m old enough to re­mem­ber how the launch of ITV in the fifties was meant to spell the end of the BBC, so I read Is­sue 526’s ‘Ques­tion of the Fort­night’ (‘Will Net­flix kill the BBC?’) with a sense of his­tory re­peat­ing it­self. On the sur­face, the threat posed by Net­flix now, with mil­lions of sub­scribers world­wide, may seem much graver. But the type of threat is the same – com­mer­cial TV chal­leng­ing pub­lic ser­vice broad­cast­ing.

As it hap­pens, I do think the threat of Net­flix is more se­ri­ous, but not be­cause of how big and rich it is. What wor­ries me more is how young peo­ple are aban­don­ing the BBC, and chang­ing their view­ing be­hav­iour.

When ITV and, later, Sky launched, view­ers still knew the BBC was just one but­ton tap away on their re­mote con­trol. But now it seems mil­lions of young­sters don’t even con­sider the BBC to be part of their view­ing op­tions.

I don’t want to sound like a cheer­leader for the BBC. It’s far from per­fect, and of­ten de­serves harsh crit­i­cism. But it’s part of our na­tional fab­ric in a way that I fear younger peo­ple don’t ap­pre­ci­ate. We lam­bast it now, but we’ll miss it should it dis­ap­pear.

Sadly, the BBC can be its own worst en­emy. In your ar­ti­cle you quote the BBC say­ing it wants to help bring a di­vided coun­try to­gether. That’s a ridicu­lous claim, sin­is­ter even. BBC bash­ers will ac­cuse it of be­ing smug and self-im­por­tant. But with­out it the UK would be cul­tur­ally di­min­ished. Stephen Howe

CA says Over the years few sub­jects have pro­voked more de­bate in Com­put­er­ac­tive than the fu­ture of the BBC. Do you agree with Stephen that the BBC is a vi­tal part of British cul­ture? Or is it becoming in­creas­ingly ir­rel­e­vant in the age of the in­ter­net?

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