BBC insists on 20% minorities in new programmes

BBC insists on 20% minorities in new programmes


norman lebrecht

December 01, 2020

The BBC has clarified a new policy that 20 percent of all on-screen talent and production staff must be Black, Asian or minority ethnic, have experience of disability; or be of low-income background.

The policy is effective immediately and applies to every new commission from scripted and unscripted teams across drama, comedy, factual (including the Natural History Unit), factual entertainment and entertainment.

If it were applied to Radio 3, the classical station would be taken immediately off air. Likewise BBC orchestras.





  • Guest says:

    more pathetic than the US, which is saying alot

  • Peter says:

    Let BBC die. We were done with judging by skin colour and disabilities in 1945.

    • Hilary says:

      I’m not in agreement with the policy as reported here but your assumption about a 1945 turning point in attitudes is gravely mistaken. Unconscious bias and discrepancies in access to opportunities still exists. The best approach is always going to be a bottom up one so principally via education.

      The photo of Maida Vale studios (bitterly missed) is apposite as a high percentage of the staff were black.

    • Alexander Hall says:

      And the really worrying aspect of this mistaken policy is that talent, skills and qualifications matter not one jot or tittle. Try that approach when you are looking for brain surgeons or airline pilots.

  • Dragonetti says:

    No problem with the low income bit for musicians. They’ll all qualify easily.

    • V. Lind says:

      Same with most actors. That’s the criterion I would cite if I were applying.

      I am already ticked off when I see racially mixed couples peopling the streets of Grantchester and wherever Father Brown is supposed to be set, all without comment or attitude. The BBC seems to be promoting a false history of the sceptred isles. The British countryside in the 50s was not very racially mixed. (Still isn’t, as far as I know). And a spouse of colour would not have gone unremarked. The remarks themselves would find no place on today’s screens, and a good thing too, though I still hear them from supposedly enlightened people in contemporary Britain.

      And, having grown up in a small village in Scotland, and revisited the area throughout the years, there are still relatively few minorities of colour — mostly South Asian, and rarely intermarried. They are the shopkeepers and bus drivers and generally live in the city.

      I applaud the determination to make sure people are not excluded because of race, disability or income level. But shouldn’t on-screen criteria include considerations for historical accuracy, let alone current accuracy? IS 20% of Britain BAME/disabled? I can believe low income, especially after Covid, but are actors and musicians and ballet dancers (not that the latter two categories get much airtime) to be means-tested. or to have to show their tax returns? Or to go through grovelling and demeaning interviews?

      Will these criteria apply to foreign imports? Will Denmark and Sweden and France have to pass some magic BBC quota test in order fro British people to be able to watch some of their excellent productions?

      And what happened to the criterion I grew up in the theatre knowing? Talent? That was supposed to be the great leveller. Whether you were applying to be an actor or a secretary. Any other criterion was considered to be discrimination, and that was considered to be a bad thing.

      This sort of policy is careening toward false standards at breakneck pace.

      • William Safford says:

        One of the dilemmas about all of this, is the fact that talent is rarely the true single criterion.

        The primary exception is screened auditions–but even there, biases can creep in; for example, in choosing who can audition.

        Biases exist, and they are determinative in many situations, whether consciously or unconsciously.

        A phrase that is often tossed around in America is being “color-blind,” as if that is the answer to the issue of discrimination. In reality, it has been used countless times to create outcomes that are often extraordinarily discriminatory, because putative color blindness overlooks (or worse, reinforces) the roots of the discrimination that lead to a discriminatory outcome.

      • Anthony Sayer says:

        Talent was consigned to the dustbin when political considerations were imposed on the creative process. BBC ‘comedy’ has been reflecting this for a number of years. One can only weep, thinking of the quality of earlier work which practically guaranteed us international gongs on an annual basis. The BBC is now a hollow joke, an unmasked Wizard of Oz, still deaf to its critics while investing in stronger curtains to shield ‘that man’ from the public view.

        • V. Lind says:

          I just listened to a thing on Radio 4 called Bameshow. (Dec. 1, 11:00 p.m., available for a year should you want to waste half an hour). It is supposed to be addressing this with humour. It is the unfunniest half hour I have spent on the BBC in a very long time, and I am a devotee of panel shows on both radio and television.

          God help us if this is the shape of things to come.

          There has to be space for the stories of people from minority communities. In some cases this comes naturally — shows like Death in Paradise or Small Axe. In others it is just making sure not to overlook people of colour — Call the Midwife has easily integrated characters into the stories. In some cases race is an issue; in others, minority actors can simply be included in situations such as jobs — there are now BAME people employed in most fields that would be fodder for a contemporary drama (police, hospitals, schools, offices) where their situation need not be a central factor but where it could be reflected if/when the issue arose in a storyline.

          But I agree with the point that historical figures can hardly be portrayed colour-blind, and, as I have argued already, to suggest that 1950s rural Britain was a harmoniously integrated place is just a historical nonsense, and one that utterly ignores the reality of the changes occurring — not without problems — as the Windrush generation arrived. Old films like Sapphire and newer ones like Small Island addressed these issues with some semblance of honesty.

          The rush to alter the product of the BBC is in many ways laudable — like so many other institutions, it dragged its heels for a long time (though rather less than some other institutions). There are countless injustices to be overturned, and they must be addressed. But there is a great danger of all sorts of social injustice coming from initiatives that are box-ticking rather than thoughtful.

      • Alexander Hall says:

        What makes this mistaken policy even worse is that it will antagonise wide sections of the electorate who already believe that the BBC is full of commie bastards and committed exclusively to woke agendas. The BBC is helping to dig its own grave.

      • William Safford says:

        “I am already ticked off when I see racially mixed couples peopling the streets of Grantchester and wherever Father Brown is supposed to be set, all without comment or attitude. The BBC seems to be promoting a false history of the sceptred isles.”

        I don’t watch those shows, so I can’t comment on them.

        That said, there are, in general, two ways to look at this:

        a) This is an inaccurate portrayal of the history in those locations;


        b) They are hiring highly-qualified actors to fill those roles.

        Or, I suppose, a little bit of both.

        Based on the sorts of British shows that I do watch (e.g. Doctor Who), I’m inclined to (b), absent strong evidence to the contrary.

    • Roman says:

      My guess is that “low income” means something like receive food stamps. I wouldn’t expect that many classical musicians would qualify.

    • Angela says:

      Except it’s “low income background”, which is not the same as low income now. It’s more often the case that a classical musician, despite not earning much, did in fact enjoy a comfortable and relatively privileged lifestyle growing up, which is how they could benefit from music lessons, good instruments, access to teachers, ample free time to practise, ability to buy recordings, sheet music, concert tickets, etc.

      • V. Lind says:

        Yes: this one may also be aimed at actors/presenters. Quite a lot of actors have recently been lobbying for ways to get more people from low-income backgrounds into the acting profession: a concerning percentage appear to be the products of private schools and Oxbridge. There are a lot more Damon Lewises than David Morrisseys these days, and somewhere called The Dragon School seems to have a disproportionate number of people making a good career in acting.

        Something to do with fewer regional theatres where local people can gain experience and perhaps a measure of training that helps them into the great drama schools. Probably fewer scholarships. Almost certainly less available in schools, as with music teaching.

  • AngloGerman says:

    Absolutely insane and I hope somebody who is excluded as a result of this brings an action in employment discrimination. One wonders what the great thinkers of bygone ages would have made of these decisions…
    Perhaps the identity political left is finally assuming its Orwellian form – thought crime a la Canadian Tribunals is not far away…

  • Charles Clark-Maxwell says:

    What about televised classical music on BBC ? Ohh..that’s right, it died out 20+ years ago (apart from the Proms). It’s like it’s just a summertime pursuit

  • mvarc says:

    Is there a policy stating the applicable percentage of on-screen talent and production staff from gender, sexual orientation and religious minorities? Who decided which minorities to select for this new policy?

  • Anonymous says:

    If you look at the BBC Orchestras, all the members can tick the boxes of low income, varied socio-economic backgrounds, BAME and disabilities. (The last being loss of hearing.)
    Seriously, the BBC as a whole, has lost any credibility whatsoever in stipulating these “woke” criteria.
    Whatever happened to the Best Person for the Job?

    • Garry Humphreys says:

      Absolutely. And as for 20%, ‘minorities’ make up only 13% of the total U.K. population anyway!

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Same in Australia. The large corporations are imposing quotas on themselves for 10% indigenous, and they stand around seriously discussing how this can be achieved. Since indigenous people represent about 3% of the population, finding 10% of that those who are suitably qualified in proving a challenge for the PC brigade and this has become a risible fiasco.

        You’re forced into the conclusion that a lot of people just aren’t very bright.

      • William Safford says:

        In the U.S., minorities made up 0% of the occupants of the Presidency and Vice-Presidency until 2008. Every President and Vice-President was a white anglo-saxon protestant until 1960. It was a big deal when a white Catholic of Irish descent was elected President (Kennedy in 1960). Since then there has been one Black man elected President (Obama in 2008 and -16), one more white Catholic of Irish descent (Biden, last month for President, and in 2008 and -16 for VP), and one woman of Black and Indian ancestry (Harris for VP, last month). There still has not been a Jew elected to President or Vice-President. To the best of my memory, only one has won the nomination of a major-party ticket: Lieberman for VP in 2000. Sanders has come the closest, being the runner-up for the Democratic nomination in 2016 and 2020.

        “For its first 180 years, justices were almost always white male Protestants of Anglo or Northwestern European descent.” (Wikipedia) There were a few Catholics in the 19th century, but the first Jewish Justice was not until the early 20th century, the first Black Justice not until the 1960s, the first woman not until the 1980s, and the first hispanic until this century. Every Chief Justice has been a white Christian of Anglo or northern European origin, the vast majority Protestant.

        The recently-deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said: “When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough (women on the Supreme Court)?’ and my answer is: ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” (multiple sources, including myself)

        The mere fact that RBG’s statement still shocks people, tells us much about how much farther attitudes still have to go to evolve towards equality and equity.

        I could go on and on with such examples in our society.

        • Anthony Sayer says:

          Can one really say that Harris was elected? Biden, yes; his running mate, no. Sorry. People voted for Joe. Harris was such a strong contender within her own party that she came 14th our of seventeen in the nomination race. Some ‘election’.

          • V. Lind says:

            People tend to vote for the top of the ticket, true. But the bottom can drag it down — don’t tell me Sarah Palin did not affect John McCain’s electoral chances. The rightwing media in the US was appalled by her (how times have changed — they embraced Trump, who is only marginally brighter).

            And when looking at two candidates in their 70s, of whom Biden was the older, the succession may have crossed some voters’ minds this time.

          • William Safford says:

            “Can one really say that Harris was elected?”


  • Dennis says:

    What if you’re doing a film that takes place in, say, England or France in the Middle Ages? Are we supposed to pretend it makes sens to have blacks or Asians portray European historical characters who were white? In fact this kind of inanity has been done – a black Joan of Arc, for instance, or a black Anne Boleyn. Noxious racist nonsense that has no aim other than to cancel white people and their history and heritage. (And of course none of the people responsible for such travesties would consider using a white man to portray Mandela or MLK or something. Why not, if a black can be used to portray a white historical figures? We’re all just interchangeable, atomized individuals right?)

    • Woke says:

      What’s wrong with a black Jeanne d’Arc?
      Western art depicts white Jesus, Sheba, Andromeda, etc… Guess El Greco and Piero di Cosmio were, by your definition, nonsensical inane artists.

      • Dennis says:

        Because Joan was white. Would you be ok with using a white actor, say Tom Hanks, to “play” Nelson Mandela in a biopic?

        • Woke says:

          Whether I would personally be ‘OK with it’ is irrelevant– the point is that your criteria are inconsistent and would rule out much of the white western canon, which precisely did portray characters of color as white. No one seems to have a problem with that. Or do you?

    • V. Lind says:

      One of these days there will be a movie about the Atlantic slave trade and…

    • Elizabeth Owen says:

      There have been black people from Africa here since Roman times so don’t make daft, racist comments. If you worked in theatre you would know of colour blind casting, in other words it does not matter what colour a peson is as long as they can act. The worst phrase in the English language is “White supremacist”.

      • Allen says:

        I suggest you log into Amazon and a buy a calculator with a percentage button. The numbers you are talking about are miniscule and only people with no sense or proportion whatsoever try to use them in arguments like this.

        I would argue that the worst phrase in the English language is “White, middle class, virtue signalling hyprocrite”.

      • Marfisa says:

        “There have been black people from Africa here since Roman times”: totally misleading. There were probably auxiliaries from North Africa in the Roman legions, but they were not Black, and they may not have remained in the UK anyway. From early modern times there have been some numbers of Black and Asian people in the great sea ports, but hardly any inland, and it was not until the 1950s and later that significant populations of black and Asian people arrived in the UK. Hardly any (if any at all) well-known European historical characters were Black in the current meaning of the word. What goes on today in theatre, movies and opera is another matter!

        • Marfisa says:

          Edit line 4, replace ‘the UK’ with ‘the British Isles’ (just to be pedantic).

        • Adrienne says:

          An example being Septimius Severus, who died in York. I’ve been told on several occasions that he was Black. He was born in Leptis Magna, in what is now Libya.

          • Marfisa says:

            Adrienne, Septimius Severus was indeed born in Leptis Magna, in present-day Libya, which was then in the Roman province of Africa. But he wasn’t Black, and was not an ordinary Roman soldier. He “came from a wealthy and distinguished family of equestrian rank. He had Italian Roman ancestry on his mother’s side, and was descended from Punic forebears on his father’s side” (Wiki). Punic = Phoenician: they were originally from Lebanon in the Eastern Mediterranean and had settled in Libya, with Carthage as their great city state. Dido was a Phoenician. (The indigenous people of Libya were the Imazighen, called Berbers by Greeks and Romans.) Septimius Severus became the Roman Emperor and was campaigning in Britain when he died in York.
            My point (if there is one) is that the populations of North Africa (including Egypt) on the southern coast of the Mediterranean, were very different from those of sub-Saharan Africa, which was largely terra incognita in the Greek and Roman world. Both regions have long and fascinating histories, which do sometimes intersect, and Black people have no need to colonize European history, any more than Europeans have a right to colonize Black history!

          • Marfisa says:

            Adrienne, I wasn’t sure whether your comment meant that Septimius Severus was an example of a Black man in Britain in Roman times, or an example of somebody said to be Black who actually wasn’t. If it is the second, than you probably already know all that I said in my longer earlier reply – my apologies.

      • Dennis says:

        “Color-blind casting” makes no sense when casting historically identifiable characters or situations. There is necessarily a visual aspect to acting, whether theater or film, that cannot be properly be wholly “blind” in the way that musical auditions can be. Would you also advocate “size/weight blind” auditions such that an obese actress might end up getting a part to play an anorexic character? Would that make sense? After all, her looks don’t matter to the character right, so long as she can “act”?

    • kamal says:

      No one objected to a Greek Anne Boleyn when she was Maria Callas, or a Russian Joan of Arc when she was Irina Arkhipova…

      • Dennis says:

        News flash: Greeks and Russian are white! Hardly a stretch to portray St. Joan.

        • William Safford says:

          You just touched on a very real issue when it comes to assimilation: how well can certain immigrant groups blend into the population.

          In the U.S., many immigrant groups were not initially considered or treated as “white.” At various times in our history, this included the Irish, Jews, Italians, and many others. This is in addition to the Native American population, Asian immigrants, and Blacks (whether slaves, former slaves, or free Blacks).

          Over the decades, many of those groups have successfully assimilated into the U.S.

          Part of this has been an incomplete but ongoing (the last four years notwithstanding) process of the U.S. becoming more welcoming to people, and being less discriminatory.

          But, to be frank, part of this is merely that certain groups *can* assimilate more easily than others.

          If you’re, say, Irish or Italian, it’s much easier to blend into a “white” –that is to say, white Anglo-Saxon/western-European protestant–population, than it is if you or your ancestors are from Africa or Asia.

    • Ned Keane says:

      There’s something a bit sinister about saying “a black”. More than a bit actually. Feels wrong to me.

      You can all now shout and scream if you like, of course.

      • Adrienne says:

        Walking on eggshells? I’m happy to be black, Black, coloured, a person of colour, and probably several other things that would upset the moderator.

        This is not a dig at you but, to me, being patronised is worse than all but the most extreme racist abuse. That, in my experience, is very rare.

    • Patricia says:

      Ben Kingsley was Ghandi. Olivier was Othello.

      • Alexander T says:

        Ben Kingsley is of Indian extraction (born Krishna Pandit Bhanji).

      • Ashu says:

        But Ben Kingsley is actually of Hindu background. Look him up, you’ll never guess where his English name came from. I find that the fact is little known even here in India. I don’t know whether to find it sad or inspiring that this supposed triumph of interracial casting is in fact precisely not that.

    • William Safford says:

      “Are we supposed to pretend it makes sens to have blacks or Asians portray European historical characters who were white?”

      There are multiple ways to answer this question.

      We already know your opinion: “In fact this kind of inanity has been done – a black Joan of Arc, for instance….”

      I disagree with your characterization. Why not employ a Black actress for Joan of Arc, if she is a good actress?

      (Note that I typed “actress,” instead of “actor.” That was by force of habit. I gather that the word “actress” is falling out of usage. I point this out to show that times do change. I chose not to just replace “actress” with “actor,” so as to bring attention to this parenthetical comment.)

      The answer that makes the most sense to me: it does not matter what the skin color, ethnicity, etc. of the actor is, unless it is directly relevant to the part being portrayed.

      On Broadway, “Hamilton” demonstrates just how well this works: a completely mixed-race cast portrays all white anglo-saxon protestant characters. It works.

      In a similar vein, why not a Black Joan of Arc? Using my standard, it works, because the character’s whiteness is irrelevant. Is your suspension of disbelief–so necessary to the success of any kind of performance–incapable of extension to a Black Joan of Arc?

      On the other hand, it is hard to say how a play or opera based on, for instance, Martin Luther King Jr., could cast the lead role with someone who is not Black. After all, his Blackness is central to his life story, the systemic racism and bigotry he experienced and fought against, and to the historical arc. Perhaps it could be made to work. I don’t know how.

  • Patricia says:

    In America, the left calls minorities ‘under-represented groups.’ That they are ‘over-represented ‘ in college and professional basketball and football, pop culture and some segments of the biased lefty press doesn’t bother them. Any area in which white, or now Asian Americans pre-dominate, is
    fair game for the lefties. It also doesn’t worry them that black Americans are a minority of the population. One would expect there to be fewer of them pretty much everywhere.

    • Elizabeth Owen says:

      One third is hardly a minority and if they had the same educational opportunities they would be equal and oh gosh maybe even better than some white idiots.

      • Adrienne says:

        “maybe even better than some white idiots”

        A classic example of the sort of patronising nonsense that really gets up my nose.

      • V. Lind says:

        What is one third, then — a majority? Back to primary school arithmetic for you.

        Is this an “alternative fact”? You are en route to making a reasonable point, but utterly undermine your own credibility by stating an ABSOLUTE untruth right up front. That was how Trumpistan worked, but we are on the verge of returning to reality. Try joining us.

    • William Safford says:

      Your message demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of or insight into the social, legal, and political dynamics at play, that led to the underrepresentation of minorities in general and the overrepresentation of them in specific areas such as sports.

    • Dennis says:

      In re. Asian Americans: Some schools universities in America now deem Asians not to be “people of color” when it comes to minority scholarships, financial aid, etc.

      And don’t mention other areas of American life where black Americans are also greatly over-represented, despite being only 13% of total population!

  • Jon says:

    The BBC already exceeds thes targets, and BAME performers are actually over represented on TV. According to the Creative Diversity Network’s most recent survey, ‘those who identify as female, transgender, BAME and lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) are all represented at levels comparable with (or above) national population estimates’. The BAME population is more prevalent on screen than in the country as a whole – making up nearly 23 per cent of screen contributions but just 14 per cent of the population.

    It’s a similar story behind the scenes in TV production. According to Ofcom, 13 per cent of TV workers are BAME, compared to 12 per cent of the broader labour market, and overall 13 per cent of the BBC’s staff are BAME.

    Applying across the board targets like this also fails to reflect any sort of reality. In the UK’s larger cities, The percentage of BAME residents is likely to be 40%+, but in rural areas, it will be vanishingly small.

  • pastore says:

    Being Jewish would certainly qualify as a member of an ethnic minority group.

  • M McAlpine says:

    Typical BBC. The one factor by which on-screen appearances should be decided – talent- is now ignored in favour of this absurd inverse discrimination. Pathetic. They are really hopelessly out of touch with what normal people actually think. I think they are so much in their loony-left PC bubble that they think it is the norm. Mind you, the standard of drama is so awful on the BBC nowadays that it doesn’t really matter who is in it. I will not watch it anyway.

  • christopher storey says:

    The BBC has now acquired a disgraceful reputation, and this is the final straw which will ( I hope ) finish it . A few white applicants to employment tribunals alleging that the policy is the clearest possible example of racial discrimination should start the landslide

    • AngloGerman says:

      Just about the easiest case ever to fall before a tribunal. They may as well say ‘don’t apply if you’re male, white, and educated at a decent University as we only care about quotas not quality, distinction, or any other meritocratic measure’. Oh, and don’t speak the Queen’s or you will fail at interview…

  • Marfisa says:

    Where’s the problem? Aren’t there an infinite number of Kanneh-Masons?

  • Marge O. says:

    did the bbc, and their counterpart cnn (both propaganda networks) take their lead from the us empire? Operation Mockingbird, Operation Paperclip. Manufacturing consent of the populace with virtue signaling. At the end of the day, the “minorities, asians, etc….” all want power, greed, money, status, etc…no different than the WASPs.

    • William Safford says:

      I cannot speak for the BBC, but anyone who believes that CNN is a propaganda network has been successfully brainwashed by the actual American right-wing propaganda institutions in the U.S., led by Australian-owned Fox News.

  • jack says:

    I have about, personally, had it with this business of “discrimination.” The term has come to have a politically defined meaning indicating the exclusion of certain segments of society from consideration or inclusion in given endeavors. But the term used to indicate an ability to render a judgment on some aspect of social endeavor from a perspective based on knowledge and expertise. The earlier application of the term was to be able to single out someone (who had the faculty of discrimination) from someone who didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. Now, the appalation of “discrimination” has become a perjorative (indicating some sort of irrational bias) rather than an accolade acknowledging some sort of learning and expertise. Maybe this gives us a lesson in how words can be manipulated to serve certain political ends and no longer express real ideas but have become weapons to be used to vanquish political opponents.

    • William Safford says:

      “I have about, personally, had it with this business of ‘discrimination.'”

      You lost that etymological battle before you were born. The OED lists Mark Twain using the word in that way.

  • Herbie G says:

    So much for any hope that the new Director General will halt this rot. Quite apart from this latest drivel, the BBC (and principally Radio 3) has been mercilessly dumbed down over the years. For most of the day, R3 is now a mish-mash of banal chatter punctuated by snippets of music. Essential Classics, once the jewel in its crown, is crammed with inessential, inconsequential and highly forgettable works by unheard-of living composers and justifiably forgotten dead ones, with virtually nothing over ten minutes long – ideal for those with very short attention spans. There has to be at least one woman composer a day and one black one too. Never mind the quality, as long as the boxes are ticked. There’s jazz, film music, world music, crooners and meretricious novelties by youngsters barely out of school. They could claim that this diverse collection is designed to ‘educate’ the listeners – in which case I wonder when they last played a symphony or string quartet on Radio 1!
    Turning to TV, they are planning to axe the ‘red button’ text news – the best way of getting a glimpse of the main headlines in a few moments. They had to delay this move after protests from bodies representing those with hearing difficulties, for whom this service is a boon, but the threat is still there. So much for serving this ‘undeserving’ minority. But even this offering is tainted – look under the Entertainment section and its all about rappers and celebs – anyone wanting news about the fine arts is best advised to follow this blog instead.
    Lord Reith stated that the BBC’s purpose is to inform, educate and entertain. BBC TV is now predominantly biased towards ‘entertain’, with chat shows, dreadful comedies, trivial quiz shows and idle chatter, presented by grossly overpaid ‘celebs’. Other purportedly serious programmes are heavily overlaid with pop music, distracting the viewer from the narrative.
    This may be explained as an effort to get more bums on seats, but a recent report from the regulators indicated that the BBC is losing its appeal among those over 50. No surprise there. As for the younger generation, they go for Netflix and the like.
    I wouldn’t care a flying fig except for the fact that I am expected to pay an exorbitant TV licence fee to support the BBC whether I watch or listen to it or not. If the entertainment and ‘celebs’ shows are so popular, they should be hived off to a commercial company who could collect a licence fee, like Sky and Netflix do. Yes, there would be adverts – but no more dreadful than those noisome BBC trailers. Let the BBC confine itself to the news and current affairs.
    With pop music so well catered for by a host of independent radio stations, there is still a demand for classical music, serious drama and educational programmes which, I guess, is what many of the posters here might be interested in. I believe that we should have a commercial station sponsored by the myriad of recording companies (Chandos, Hyperion, Dutton, Naxos, cpo etc) who could use this to showcase their recordings, with live music from fine younger ensembles and artists who are struggling for recognition.
    Finally, there is already an alternative to the BBC for classical music lovers – namely the Internet stations from all over the world. On my Internet radio, I can select by genre (eg. Classical) and then a wealth of such stations across the world. They seem happy to provide wall-to-wall full-length works, sometimes with a few tasteful adverts thrown in now and then. If any posters here have tried this out, maybe they could recommend the best ones for us.

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      ☞ Herbie G.:
      BBC TV is now predominantly biased towards ‘entertain’, with chat shows, dreadful comedies, trivial quiz shows and idle chatter, presented by grossly overpaid ‘celebs’.

      So they’re failing there, too.

    • Dragonetti says:

      I would agree, up to a point, about the irritating new content on e.g. Essential Classics on BBC R3. There’s clearly been a missive from upon high about dragging up as many 2nd rate composers on grounds of ethnicity or gender as possible so as to appear more ‘woke’. The presenters though remain first class.
      However I have to say that you clearly haven’t bothered trying Classic fm in its place. I’ll stick with Price, Beach and the like if the alternative is Jenkins (either), Einaudi and Rieu interspersed with brainless ads.
      The Beeb has got a lot wrong lately but be careful what you wish for. Without them we would be a lot worse off.

  • Angela says:

    Note to everyone commenting on “low income background”: it’s low income *background* (i.e. your family’s income when you were growing up), not low personal income now.

    A low income background is usually defined as average family income below a certain percentage (e.g. 185%) of the national poverty threshold. Or it might be defined through criteria such eligibility for school lunch programs or similar support determined by the child’s family income.

    It’s generally the case that, while musicians, actors and dancers might not enjoy high incomes as adults, they do tend to have come from relatively privileged backgrounds, which is what enabled them to pursue those art forms seriously in the first place. So for the most part they would not qualify on the basis of a low income background.

  • Maria says:

    Here we go again. So they can now turn down the best suited person for the job to simply tick a box to fulfil the 1 in 5 rule to employ minorities.

  • Marfisa says:

    As a matter of history, is anyone out there old enough to remember when the Third Programme changed from being a general high-level culture channel covering classical music, theatre, literature, intellectual discussion panels, talks on philosophy, history, science etc. by academics and serious thinkers, to being just Radio 3, a Classical [Music] station?
    I decline to comment on diversity, except to make the obvious point that the demographics of the UK have changed a lot (especially in big cities) since the 1950s.

  • Herbie G says:

    Yes, Marfisa – I remember the Third Programme; it began broadcasting five months before I was born and I owe to it my knowledge and love of classical music. That was in the days before the BBC decided that anything that smacked of education, culture and academic achievment smacked of elitism and had to be expunged from the airwaves.

    Just a further thought – if the BBC were to enact this ‘woke’ nonsense, would that mean that all those BLM hooligans who hitherto smashed our statues will now be listening to the works of William Grant Still, Nathaniel Dett and Florence Price on R3 rather than going on the rampage again? Or maybe Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ symphony as performed recently by the Chinoke! orchestra? Or was this an example of ‘cultural appropriation’ – a predominently black orchestra performing music by a white man?

  • William Evans says:

    I often listen to BBC Radio 3 but sometimes I cringe at the mispronunciations, not only of the names of works but also of some simple English words. Unfortunately, I’ve also experienced similarly poor English in that former bastion of ‘The Queen’s English’, Radio 4.