BBC in deepening disarray over Proms fiascomain
A YouGov poll today reports sweeping condemnation of the BBC for silencing two anthems in the Proms. Some 58 percent opposed the move; only 9 percent support it. I write today in the Telegraph that this is the first time the BBC has ever censored the Proms.
Among other things:
The season costs the BBC £10-11 million, half of it recouped in ticket sales. The net £5m cost, providing hundreds of hours of free broadcasting, is peanuts compared to the corporation’s football outlay. The BBC gets a very good deal out of the Proms.
This summer, however, it has proved unequal to the task. Months of dither yielded two September weeks of concerts in an empty Royal Albert Hall. Nobody was happy, but Covid got the blame. Then, this month, other concerts began to stir. The Wigmore Hall announced 100 performances ‘with or without audiences’. Cadogan Hall, half a mile away from the RAH, is selling tickets for September. First off the mark was the former Proms chief Roger Wright, now chief executive of Britten-Pears Arts, who revived the Aldeburgh Festival with outstanding musicians and avid audiences.
Last week the cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, with his pianist sister Isata, performed to 150 people at Aldeburgh. Next month, they will appear at an empty Royal Albert Hall. Sitting at their Aldeburgh recital was Alan Davey, the BBC executive who has been unable to organise an audience at the Proms. He told all around him how wonderful it was, without explaining why the BBC, with all its clout cannot organise a Proms concert with an audience. This looks like a shocking dereliction – a failure of nerve, imagination, ingenuity, sensitivity and initiative. While concert givers up and down the country are welcoming audiences, the BBC sits back and blames Covid – both for the empty Albert Hall and for the Rule Britannia fiasco….
Read on here.