The BBC Licence model is so last century

On Sunday, Nadine Dorries announced the funding model for the BBC was to change.

Essentially, the TV licence was to be abolished, ergo it would no longer be a criminal offence NOT to have one.

What has been announced so far is that the licence fee itself will be frozen for 2 years and then the current model ends when the Royal Charter expires in 2027.

Cue lots of frothing at the mouth from celebrities, most of whom work for the BBC - Well, colour me surprised!

The loathsome Adil Ray tweeted the "But what have the BBC ever done for us?", a 36 year old advert for the BBC Licence featuring John Cleese.

But this IS the point isn't it, 36 years ago we only had 4 channels, it was all a bit different then.  The BBC featured very heavily in our lives and made up half of the channels we had available.

Over the years I've changed my opinion on the BBC licence.  Way back when The Toast started, I was dead against it, primarily because I was in my mid 20s and didn't really want to pay for something extra.

A few years ago I wrote on here that the BBC was good value for money and people should just "pay their damn licence fee".

Part of the suggestion was down to people trying to find the craziest of loopholes to avoid paying the fee; "If I only watch one channel and my granny wears red socks on a Sunday then I don't need to pay it".


But, I'm afraid after the last couple of years I have moved away from this opinion and will NEVER swing back.

You see, the model of everybody funding the BBC if you watch ANY live at all is madness.  There are people who never watch the BBC, probably never listen to the BBC radio stations OR use iPlayer.  Yet because they watch "Britain's Maddest Railway Tunnels" on Channel 5 then they have to fund a service they don't even use.  And if they don't they're threatened with fines and prison.

In a world of subscription based TV this seems utterly archaic - forced to pay for something you may not use.

At least if you choose to pay for Netflix and don't use it you can cancel until you start using it again.  You are literally subscribing.

What will the new model be though? I don't think it can go the subscription route as that presents a problem in itself; see, what about those who don't have the internet? How do they pay?

Take my mother (please do!), she's 80. She has a basic Freeview based TV. No internet, no fancy boxes, nothing.  Most of the time she doesn't even use the HD channels.

If the BBC went subscription then how would she pay it? There's no means of entering and validating any user credentials without an online presence.

So does that mean adverts is the way for the BBC? Maybe so, but as I alluded to in the article I linked previously, advert revenue isn't what it used to be, it's been diluted by hundreds of shitty channels that nobody watches.  This is why ITV's output is so fucking appalling, so many shows that need you to call in and therefore drive further revenue.

Now, the BBC is a huge organisation, it's known and respected (to a certain extent) around the world.  Could it gain "premium" advertisers rather than the shit you see on some of the more "out there" channels? Who knows.

There has been suggestion of a Broadband Tax which would be used to fund the BBC.  Again, that means ANYONE with broadband pays a cut to the BBC whether they use the BBC or not.  Is that fair?

This has raised people to push back with, "Well I don't have a car but I pay for the roads". It's a good(ish) point, but are you REALLY saying you don't walk anywhere? You don't get ANY public transport at all? You don't use taxis? And surely it matters how much your broadband goes up by? If the price increased to that of the licence fee then surely that's wrong? Does that mean businesses who don't even have a TV but have broadband are actually funding the Beeb as well? That is not right.

So, it's tricky isn't it? Scrapping the licence is definitely the right thing to do.  Literally threatening people with massive fines and prison is such an awful stance to take, and those mongs Crapita employ to threaten and intimidate people for not having a licence - fuck off mate, you have no power.

The Government has a few years yet to determine the new model but whatever it decides it has to be fair.

Now, moving on to the BBC output and why I changed my stance on the licence.

I'll be brutally honest, I'm not AGAINST the BBC, this isn't some kind of hatchet job.  I actually quite like the BBC, in parts.  But let's be frank, it's not what it used to be.

The BBC used to make some great dramas, it had all the major sports and along with Channel 4 was key to driving new comedy - but that's no longer the case.  Back in the late 90's and early 00's there was a digital platform called OnDigital (it's now what you know as Freeview).  At the time the BBC had a sort of channel for documentaries, that kind of thing.  The name escapes me, but it is what we now know as BBC4.  The channel had loads of great programming including the excellent History of Britain with Simon Schama.  BBC3 came later and had some brilliant comedy shows including Monkey Dust which would never get made these days.

But over the last few years this output has waned.  The BBC has less major sports now and seems to be completely obsessed with women's sports.  It's the only platform that seems arsed about women's football; something that is only just worse than Scottish football.  Imagine Scottish Women's football!  

Quality sports pundits have been replaced by people who aren't qualified to do the job simply because they engage in tickboxing exercises to ensure a self-imposed quota is met.  Have you heard some of the female pundits on Match of the Day?  It's woeful.  And of course, these pundits have to be black.  That's a two-for-one right there.

They should be picking the best person for the job, not meeting quotas.

The BBC has ruined comedy.  Have you seen the likes of Have I got news for you or Mock the Week in the last few years?  Same jokes over and over, and in particular MTW is particularly woke with its constant presence of funny coloured hair lesbians who are about as funny as AIDS.

(Not Bad AIDS, that's hilar)

All the BBC dramas over the last few years seem to suggest (as I've written about before) that every couple these days are inter-racial.  Every drama has to have a lesbian couple in it, for no real reason.

It's all become so woke.

Even the radio output!  I used to love BBC4 for its comedy, and indeed BBC7 on DAB which is now BBC4 Extra.  But even that's dropped off massively.

Radio 5 Live was a staple diet for my ears - not anymore, I can't stand it.

I can just about cope with Radio 2 (Ken Bruce and Steve Wright only), that's literally the limit now.

And what of iPlayer?  Well, it's useful of course.  I might catch up with shows I've missed for example.  Should I pay for a licence to catch up with Top of the Pops from 1992?

What adds to the argument is that people's viewing habits have changed.  My kids don't watch live TV at all in their rooms, it's all Netflix or Prime.

I rarely watch live TV, it's outdated.  I want to watch what I want, when I want.  I'm not always available to watch something at a particular time.

Simon Day tweeted the other day, in defence of the BBC:

simon day bbc

A list of excellent BBC shows, no doubt, but look at it: How many of these have been in the last 10 YEARS?  1 - Fleabag and that wasn't a BBC creation as such.

The irony here is that it lists Little Britain, a show it self cancelled from iPlayer in 2020 when a bunch of people got offended at a nigh-on 20 year old show that was only available on iPlayer.   Yes, a show you'd have to actually search for yourself, press play and start tutting like the joyless shitehawk you are.

So it's all well and good Mr Day trying to defend the BBC with outstanding comedy but where's the shows from the last decade?  I rest my case, your honour.