Posts Tagged 'BBC'

Ian Wright: You wot?

I’ve read some pretty baffling comment pieces, but Martin Jacques claim that Ian Wright’s departure from the BBC was due to racism and cultural apartheid at the Beeb is possibly one of the strangest columns I’ve read in a long time.

Wright had a good on-screen persona that works well with entertainment shows. I’ve no doubt he’ll be a decent presenter of Gladiators. But the court-jester aspect of his persona was one he seemed to play up to, no matter what show he was on. Wright always comes across as a reasonably forceful personality, so if he had a problem with his role, why didn’t he raise it before now?

This is without even touching on the fact Wright was simply not a good pundit. He rarely had anything insightful to say and much of his comments were at best naively jingoistic and at worse downright xenophobic. If he’d managed to produce some good punditry when he was starting out, he could have happily balanced the jester/pundit role. As it is, although he often articulated the tabloidised opinions of plenty of England and Premiership fans, when you contrast his opinions with those of Hansen, Lawro, Marcel Desailly, and Gavin Peacock, to name a few, they were ill-thought through, added nothing to the programme and dragged the general tone of the broadcast down.

The assumption often goes that good players make good pundits, when often the opposite is true. Wright’s certainly no worse than Alan Shearer, Jamie Redknapp, or, on the occasions he’s asked to comment on a game, John Terry. But he pails in comparison to those players who can see beyond the idea that the game is all about passion and don’t describe what everybody else can see.

The Beeb’s dropped some pretty awful pundits before now. Graeme Le Saux, Peter Schmeical, and Tony Adams spring to mind. But, and Jacques notes this, they also employ Marcel Desailly, whose input in the African Cup of Nations was excellent, and Ruud Gullit. Both have outside interests, and it may have escaped Jacques notice that Gullit’s actually now employed by LA Galaxy and probably doesn’t have time to pass comment on Middlesborough v Reading. More’s the pity.

Pundits should be judged on their performance, regardless of the colour of their skin, and Ian Wright was simply not good enough. Jacques comment on his skin colour reads as somebody who had a belief and tries to shorn-horn in an example that doesn’t fit.

Where he’s probably more on the money is that lack of black football managers in the British game [1], and he highlights Paul Ince as an example. It’s certainly worth asking why the likes of Roy Keane, Bryan Robson, and Gareth Southgate, all of whom have had equal playing careers, have reached top level jobs before Ince, who’s had to ply his trade in League 2[2]. Jacques might also want to ask why there are so few Asian players in the league.

But neither of these are the fault of the BBC. And once they find a pundit who is as good as Alan Hansen (nigh-on-impossible) or better than Mark Lawrenson (ok, that should be achievable) then he should be there on merit, and colour should have nothing to do with it, just as the same is true for players on the pitch.

In fact, if the BBC want to be really brave, they should stop signing big names to act as pundits and push forward those who have something to say, and say it intelligently. Gavin Peacock for one, and poach Don Goodman from Sky as another.

UPDATE: An analysis of Wright’s performance as a pundit:

“BBC have two choices, they can either hire Bradley Wright-Philips to provide such groundbreaking analysis in between serving time, or BBC may see this as a time to shift focus and give disproportional coverage to another England fringe player. Perhaps Jermaine Defoe’s father would be interested.”

Also, Martin Jacques really has pulled a Max Gogarty judging by the hammering he’s getting in the comments. 316 last time I looked, and about two of them were complementary.

[1] I lost respect for Ince when he went to manage Franchise FC.

[2] Although this may not necessarily be a bad thing. There’s a lot you can learn from the lower leagues.

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ISPs surprised to find people use internet to download stuff

Internet Service Providers have suddenly woken up to the fact that it’s not just BitTorrent users etc who want to download stuff from the internet. Now that established brands, most noticeably the BBC and their iPlayer, are offering free, legal downloads, the ISPs have suddenly realised they haven’t quite got the infrastructure and, well, that clearly has to be somebody else’s fault – namely media companies for supplying all these downloads and, as such, the BBC should pay for it.

Come again? This is a bit like a small venue putting on a one-off gig from, say, The Smiths, then getting surprised when thousands of extra fans come along, then trying to charge the band and their management for the cost of roping in extra staff to do the security and work the bar.

David North has an excellent analysis:

“I can’t see the ISP’s case here at all essentially they have fallen behind the new technology appearing – some of which has been around sometime. Certainly the move to video isn’t much of surprise so why haven’t they tried to keep up?

By trying to trying to pass the buck onto content providers means these companies aren’t going to be so willing to innovate new technologies because of the costs that might be passed on which could effectively clip the UK’s ability to keep on the cutting edge.”

And, as he points out, it’s not just the BBC who provide this service, and many more companies will join the field.

If you’re not willing to invest in the extra technology, then somebody else will and your ISP will get left behind because it’s slow, inefficient and doesn’t give the customer what he or she wants, and no amount of whining to the government and stomping your feet like a Big Baby will change this.

The BBC does give a fuck

Lots of it, apparently.

I’m especially intrigued by the person who wrote to Ofcom that it was the most offensive programme ever broadcast by the BBC on Christmas Day. Did they keep watching just to get offended?

If they’d said it should have been taken off air on the grounds that the Catherine Tate show isn’t very funny, I’d have had a lot more time for them.

(As a side note, I actually think she’ll make a good Doctor’s assistant, and was much better than Kylie this year. I think I’m somewhat alone in that opinion.)


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Yes, this is my name. And my email. Use it wisely or you're not getting a biscuit with your tea: garyllewellynandrews [at] gmail [dot] com