I grew up with the BBC. I love the BBC. I have family members and good friends who work there, or who have worked there. I feel about the BBC as I do a kindly Uncle or a well-loved, well-read book. It’s comforting and brings back all kinds of good memories.
That sounds rather saccharine, doesn’t it? It’s not meant to be. I honestly have a genuine and deep admiration for the BBC’s high ground and high standards, albeit with lapses.
When I moved to the United States way too many years ago to kindly count, I missed the following things most fervently: real tea and the BBC. I could mail order my tea, but not my BBC.
Thank heavens the BBC embraced the podcast revolution from the get-go. Search for BBC on iTunes. You’ll find many of my favorites. In particular, “In Our Time” led by the wonderfully clever and boffin-ish Melvyn Bragg (definitely on my “people I’d like to have to dinner” list). My iPod is full of BBC radio programs that I love. More on them later.
But what about TV? The BBC has the most enormous repository of wonderful content. I grew up with Sir David Attenborough (“oh no, not another episode about the sex life of a blow fly” my Mother used to groan when we all tuned in excitedly to his weekly show). Today my whole family rocks with laughter to Top Gear and the delightfully wicked Graham Norton.
But where’s the rest of it?
BBC America is pathetic. Endless, endless re-runs of “How Clean Is Your House?” I don’t want to look at other people’s dirty corners and filthy kitchens. Yuck. And nor do I want to see people dusting off their Victoriana around the clock in “Cash in the Attic.” Stop it! Give me something intelligent.
Come on, BBC, give us some of the good stuff. Work a deal with whoever is stopping you. You can do it! You’re the BBC for heaven’s sake!
And if I can’t get it through my cable provider, allow me to pay you for the BBC iPlayer! Or do both! These days, my computer is hooked up to my TV regularly. My credit card is waiting right here. I’d pay for a subscription today.
I realize this is simplistic. I am sure there are all kinds of rights issues. But there must be something you can give me out here on the Left Coast that is half way intelligent.