This country has its pros and cons. Its highs and lows. Its strengths and its weaknesses. The last few years, it has seen more of the latter of those three than the former. I suspect that that will remain the same for a while to come. But we do have one constant in British life. One corporation to be genuinely proud of. The good old BBC. A couple of weeks ago the BBC celebrated the 90th anniversary of its first ever broadcast. Its a very unique corporation, in the way its funded and run. Along with the NHS and monarchy, its an institution that is, to a certain degree, ‘untouchable’ by government,
The BBC also has its highs and lows, particularly recently. Firstly, the Jimmy Savile scandal, where the corporation failed to ‘out’ criminals within its ranks. Shortly after, it ‘outed’ an innocent man instead. Not terribly brilliant. But it’ll survive. By and large, the BBC is an admirable broadcaster, setting standards that other commercial television and radio broadcasters need to live up to in order to remain credible.
It is, for good or bad, a tradition of British life to crack open a beer in the evening and watch the news and/or a sitcom or two. The BBC has produced some of the greatest comedies ever made – Fawlty Towers, One Foot in the Grave, Blackadder and Alan Partridge to name but a few. There’s some clips of Partridge in this collection of Fosters funny videos. The BBC has played a major role in developing the famous (or infamous – depending upon your perspective) British sense of humour and our very language, which we have shared with the world. Even though the Beeb doesn’t run adverts, the sense of humour it created has greatly influenced brand marketing for decades. Not everyone around the world gets it. The Aussies do though, as any Fosters advert demonstrates!
I wish the BBC a very happy, if a little belated, birthday. Congratulations on 90 fantastic years. And another 90 years of the same, please. They congratulated themselves of course, with a special broadcast that attempted to provide a summary of 90 years of radio in 90 seconds, courtesy of one of my favourite musicians, Damon Albarn. The video below is that broadcast in full.