February 16, 2006

Why the '70s and '80s were clearly the best decades for the BBC

You can tell by drum roll – Theme Tunes. The best and most successful TV shows also have the best and most memorable intro themes. Some of these programs are still the best the BBC has to offer and some have, unfortunately failed or lost appeal mostly to modern Beeb mismanagement. Let's have a look:

1) Newsnight (little-known factoid – Newsnight's format and first presenter actually based the show on the Arabic BBC World Service programme).

2) Question Time.

3) Have I got News For You? (yes, technically has a nice, but 1990 is still part of the same decade as the eighties :P)

4) Match of the Day.

5) Eastenders (which used to be a British staple as opposed to a British embarrassment).

6) Panorama (yes 50s but let's say it was better with David than with Richard :P)

Now tell me what lasting programme the BBC has genuinely produced over the past decade which has been memorable? There have been off-moments of genius in documentaries and the like but in terms of politics and sitcom, the BBC has had its day. It's wonderful that Newsnight has more-or-less kept its high level of quality. This is mostly down to Jeremy Paxman's wonderfully-watchable confrontational style (which he picked up from his predecessor who in turn picked it up from the BBC World Service). Indeed the BBCs political programmes these days hold their hopes as much in individual personality as it does in its theme tunes.

Hums


- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Peers at DVD collection

    The only things I have on DVD from the 1990s and 2000s made by the BBC are more cult efforts along the lines of People Like Us, The Day Today and Later... With Jools. There's been too much emphasis on ratings to justify the stations' costs even though people don't always want a clone of what ITV is showing. I'm not a huge fan but The Office is widely regarded, though something of a one off in terms of high profile sitcoms.

    Still, those documentaries like Horizon, Walking With Dinosaurs or the utterly magnificent Blue Planet deserve credit for pushing at the boundaries of what TV can do, and not worrying about pandering to the perceived lowest common denominator.

    To be honest I want the BBC t be adventurous with my money, if only because I know ITV won't be.

    16 Feb 2006, 17:44

  2. Horizon, Walking With Dinosaurs or the utterly magnificent Blue Planet deserve credit for pushing at the boundaries of what TV can do, and not worrying about pandering to the perceived lowest common denominator.
    To be honest I want the BBC t be adventurous with my money, if only because I know ITV won't be

    Absolutely… and it would be nice if the BBC could stick to what it does best… And Blue Planet… When that came out, it was perhaps the best Marine documentary ever produced or even conceived. That exemplifies the old BBC - the BBC Culture. It wasn't typical "Oh look at the shark's big teeth" American claptrap, but an astounding documentary with real material.

    And the BBC has produced some other great documentaries – and you're absolutely right about Horizen which ranks up close to Panorama. The only problem is that in terms of what is regularly shown there isn't much there that's special about the Beeb. And it's precisely because it tries to mimic the success of ITV. It shouldn't. I would prefer my license fee going to paying for more of these wonderful exposes/docus than another really, really poor attempt at a British sitcom.

    16 Feb 2006, 18:12


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