Make The BBC Pay

Well, I’ve kept quiet for a few days while everyone else is knocking the BBC. Now it’s my turn. I spent 12 years at the BBC and I know where the bodies are buried, which cupboards the skeletons are hidden in – and all the other suitable cliches you can think of.

What do I think? That the Bashir interview did not lead directly to Diana’s death, as has been claimed, any more than Charles’ adultery or any of the other men in her life who didn’t bother to help a vulnerable young beautiful woman and took advantage of her and who she was (Paul Burrell, Mohammed Al Fayed etc, it’s a long list)

I think she wanted to tell her story but didn’t expect the kind of backlash she must have got from Palace courtiers and the protectors of the royal institution. If only the story had ended with a lucky break for an ambitious upstart inconsequential young reporter who gained her trust and got the interview of a lifetime.

However, now we know said interview was achieved through hideous devious means of fraudulent documents, lying about those closest to Diana, creating mistrust and generally encouraging a raging paranoia that would have exacerbated her already serious mental health issues. She was duped, he received numerous awards, a shedload of money and a stand out career for over 25 years.

But this isn’t just about one rogue reporter, no matter how detestable his behaviour and (continuing) justification may be. He has got away with it, unless the police can charge him with fraud. Fingers crossed.

This isn’t so much about Diana and Bashir, but what the BBC did to cover it all up. Those responsible will never pay for it – Steve Hewlett sadly died three years ago, Tony Hall is no longer a BBC employee (but I bet he has a massive pension) and anyone else who is connected to the Great BBC Cover Up will have moved on or covered their tracks. If there is any compensation to pay to Diana’s family, remember, it’s your money  . Not the BBC’s.

You pay for numerous people in BBC middle management with spurious job titles whose modus operandi is to protect themselves and those above them, while doing absolutely nothing to make good TV programmes that the people who are paying for it (you) want to watch.

I was there for 12 years and had rubbish back stabbing incompetent line managers who were genius at schmoozing and sucking up to their own managers but pointing a quick finger at you if anything tricky came their way. This practice is deeply embedded in the BBC and will never change unless the corporation has to earn its keep.

I agree we need a national unbiased broadcaster (so not the BBC then) but the licence fee is out of date and irrelevant in the digital world of subscription, choosing what you want to watch and when, offering a range and variety of often superlative programmes, creating a truly golden age of television. iPlayer doesn’t cut it and neither does Britbox. The cheek of asking licence fee payers to pay again to watch the programmes they paid for!

Bland platitudes, compensation and an everso sorry Director General will not change anything. Only a subscription model that will do a proper root and branch pruning of an overblown public institution will make any difference.

Make the BBC earn it’s income like everyone else.