Anyone expecting the BBC to embark on some more agreeable journey with the new director-general George Entwistle at the helm, brace yourself now! The Times of London today report that Mr Entwistle attacked Sky Arts channels as ‘not giving BBC 4 a run for its money … If you’re going to do arts, aspire to half a million people, not 5,000’.
Ehm, yes. Why not to aspire to millions in working class audiences and abolish Radio 3 and 4 and that strange BBC 4 TV channel which is never on air and if it is it thinks than mainstream crime series like Wallander and Inspector Montalbano are art just because they are foreign and subtitled. I am just waiting when they start broadcasting German erotic films from 1970s …. That would be a treat! But there you go, that’s arts for ‘half a million people’.
Actually, art and artistic experience is something very personal and intimate – a feeling of a strange, uplifting connection, sometimes excitement, happiness and aesthetic pleasure between the individual and the object created by the artist. Anything produced as arts for the mass market use is quite often nothing else but a vulgar kitsch appealing to rich snobs. So, yes, Mr Entwistle, you guessed rightly, I would prefer the audience of 5 thousand to millions. And that’s what I very naively, I admit, expected from the BBC years ago. But BBC these day appeals to other minorities only, ethnic and sexual. Cultural deviants are not welcomed!
Also note the use of Mr Entwistle phrase ‘do arts’ in that interview. I have a certain feeling of foreboding.
And finally, it’s baffling, why would Mr Entwistle pick Sky Arts to vivisect? Why on earth a commercial channel with 5,000 followers? Is it because it is ‘Sky,’ thus owned by The Evil Murdoch family? Your guess is as good as mine.