I’ll fight tooth and nail

Posted on June 30, 2010


Sir Michael Lyons – Mr BBC Trust – has given a speech today.

I’ll be completely upfront and say that I didn’t attend the event, I was at a different one in Bush House. What’s worse is that I’ve tried to read the transcript of the Mr Lyons’ speech and found it almost impossible to get to the end.

It is very long. In fact, it’s so long it makes my usual long and rambling missives read like a curt email in comparison.

So, because I’m pushed for time and because in all honesty I feel brow beaten whenever the BBC comes under attack, I’ve pumped all of Mr Lyons words into Wordle. The results were initially reassuring.

The biggest word is – obviously – “BBC”. That’s a good start. Me and Mr Lyons are at least agreed on one thing.

It’s gratifying too to see the words “public”, “licence”, “fee” and “pay” featuring prominently. These are key words for all of us, staff and consumers alike.

But the lack of prominence of one other provides fuel for a borderline rant.

Put very simply, we all pay a licence fee. I do. I don’t question it. I just do it. And I’m OK with that.

Someone collects all of that money and then the Government sort of hands over a lump sum to the BBC to go away and make stuff.

Implicit in that agreement is trust. The public trusts the BBC to produce stuff – or do stuff – which is pretty much within their expectations. The public pays up and front and expects the BBC to deliver.

Trust is important. Trust is a motivator. Trust promotes love. Love is something which can easily be illustrated in everything the BBC does. I know. Because love is my own – personal and professional – bottom line.

In case you’re a sceptic about the value of the licence fee and the importance of the unique contract it establishes between the organisation and its audiences, let me nail my particular flag to the flagpole.

There are many people who love working for the organisation. There are mahy people who pour their energies into doing the very best they possibly can, not necessarily solely for their own benefit but because they buy into the unique contract between the BBC and its audience. They want to do their best. And they hurt when people slag the idea off.

I hurt when people slag the BBC off. Because I love working there. And if I feel that way, there must be quite a few others out of a workforce of 23,000 who feel the same way. And that’s important.

Because that shared vision or shared passion is something to hang on to. That’s the kind of delicate thing which could easily get trampled on by people who may not understand the finer points of the BBC’s appeal.

The BBC is a creative melting pot. Or, if you don’t agree with that view, the brand sells the idea that it could be a creative melting pot. The idea it could be a melting pot is what sells the brand to people who want to work there. And the more people who want to work there, the greater the chances good stuff will come out of it.

It is a special place to work. And I’ll fight tooth and nail to protect it.

Posted in: UK