The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #125052 Message #2767420
Posted By: Dave Roberts
16-Nov-09 - 07:55 PM
Thread Name: Regional British TV folk programmes
Subject: RE: Regional British TV folk programmes
I may be accused of slight thread drift here, but don't the British have a genius for throwing away (or allowing to be thrown away)some unique and cherishable institutions?
The original ITV network was a sort of federation of independent commercial companies (hence the 'I' for 'Independent' in the network's generic name), each broadcasting to distinct regions of the country, all responsible for their own programming to a certain extent and all, in theory at least, able to contribute programmes to the network. There were production centres in every region, down to the very smallest in the Channel Islands.
Of course, the system wasn't perfect and the large companies in London, the North and the Midlands, which had most of the advertising revenue and hence most of the clout, called the tune and made it difficult for the 'minnows' of ITV to get programmes onto the network. But it could be done. And all those independent companies were proud to make programmes for their own regions, such as the folk music shows mentioned above.
Deregulation, and the infamous 'franchise auction' put an end to all that (wild horses could not drag from me the name of Margaret Thatcher in this connection),and we are now left with the appalling ITV PLC which has, effectively, brought an end to regional commercial broadcasting in the UK and churns out lowest common denominator drivel for much of the day.
And I do realise that competition from new digital satellite, cable and terrestrial channels has been a factor, but so has the whittling away by toothless 'regulators' of the Public Service Requirements for ITV stations (currently requiring something like half an hour per week of non-news regional programming, and likely to be droppped altogether soon).
Sorry to have climbed on the old soapbox - something I don't do a lot, but the loss of these regional stations has been incredibly detrimental to the cultural life of this country.