Wednesday, 20 May 2009

BBC programming on DSTV: over, and over, and over again. With repeats.

Here's a fiendish challenge for you. Put yourself in the shiny brown shoes of a BBC programming director. Your job is to decide which BBC documentaries, sitcoms and dramas you will offer those eager TV viewers of South Africa who pay a handsome monthly sum to local satellite-TV company DSTV to view the very best that the British Broadcasting Corporation has to offer.

You may choose from a vast library of excellent television material, stretching back for, say, 50 years.

Please bear in mind that the average South African TV viewer is a hopeless retard has a short attention span, and is too thick to notice repeats appreciates frequent repeats of programmes.

You have three options. Circle the one that seems most appropriate:

1. I'll choose the best eight programmes ever made by the BBC, ever, and I'll repeat them two to three hundred times a year. Those South Africans just crack up when they watch Mr Bean, Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, My Family, Father Ted and all the other programmes we made about 500 years ago. Believe me, those tossers just can't get enough of them. For the Lifestyle and Knowledge channels, let's just chuck in old Masterchef and Top Gear re-runs. Oh, and throw those old Jamies, Nigellas and Great British Menus at them too. You never know, they might actually learn something if we repeat these often enough.

2. I think South African audiences have an under-developed sense of humour. How about we help them hone their funny bones by giving four and five hundred repeats per month of Mr Bean, Fawlty Towers, My Family and Father Ted? A light dose, three times a day, of Blackadder will be a real tonic for those boors! On the documentary front, have any of them seen Top Gear? I know this is daring, but could we consider chucking in the 1916 series of Masterchef Goes Large? Also, any thoughts about The Weakest Link? I think we might be able to sell this to viewers, with subtitles. Also, are South Africans ready for Nigella? Or for Ray Mears?

3. Have South African audiences heard of John Cleese? Or Rowan Atkinson? If they haven't, why not? Let's not be judgmental here: it's not their fault they're so geographically isolated! I know I'm pushing the envelope here, but I think you might consider going out on a limb and offering them a little taste - say, three or four hundred re-runs per month, as a starter - of those brilliant BBC classics Blackadder, Mr Bean and Father Ted. To cater for the more cerebral viewer - and please, let's avoid the suggestion that that every South African TV viewer is a knuckle-dragger - how about a couple of hundred re-runs of Masterchef and Great British Menu? PS, I almost forgot Supernanny and jolly old Ray Mears. Goodness knows those Saffers are ready for a good dose of the stiff upper lip!


1. The job is yours.

2. Hey! Welcome to the BBC, dude!

3. Would you like a new Mercedes Benz and a couple of heads of cattle?

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Muriel said...

My kids have been nagging me for years to get DSTV (we still 'only' have MNet) but every time I've been exposed to it - usually when staying overnight with friends or family who are subscribers - I've been appalled by how little is actually watchable and how much is continually repeated. And I don't know a single DSTV subscriber who doesn't moan heartily about it (okay, maybe except the sports fans). So, thanks, Juno, for this little gem. I'll hold off on the DSTV for another few years.

Lynne said...

absolutely. sadly its not just bbc though... how about the many reruns of top gear and american chopper (my husband likes things with wheels). And law and order. Luckily for me, I haven't seen House before (is he new, or did I just not notice?) But there's just so much of a grumpy doctor that I can handle...

Juno said...

Thanks for the feedback, Mur and Lynne. I know it's a silly thing to get cross about, but really. REALLY.

Dave in Birmingham said...

Hi Juno! Wrong target, I think.
To the best of my knowledge (I don't work for the BBC) the BBC is willing to sell any/all of its material worldwide, at a given price.
It seems much more likely that DSTV isn't willing to pay for the quality drama and comedy you crave, so having a go at the BBC really doesn't seem fair to me.

Our main satellite TV provider here (UK) is Sky TV, courtesy of the Murdoch Empire, and as far as I'm concerned it's dozens of channels of Shite and (apparently good) sport channels I'm not interested in.
DSTV from its schedules and website seems like Sky.
The UK is switching to digital broadcasting here, with the result that we too can see endless reruns of Friends, QI, Have I Got News for You, ancient lifestyle and makeover programs, blah blah blah. The main result of this is that advertising revenue is spread so thin that the big commercial TV programme maker with public service commitments is dying on its feet.
A glaring example of choice is not quality.

Juno said...

Hello Dave

Thanks for this comment. Very interesting.

I am under the impression (and I could be wrong)that the BBC is responsible for what it chooses to dish up to DSTV. I will look into this and deliver a sound lashing to whoever is responsible.

As for Sky: we get Sky News here, a channel which I really enjoyed in its early days. Now, I can't bear to watch it, except if there's a breaking news story (in which case it far outshines CNN, Beeb world news and Al-Jazeera, which are our other choices). What has driven me away from Sky is its interminable talking heads (can there by anything more boring on this earth than Adam Boulton droning on for ten minutes at a time?) and the preposterous amount of time it devotes to weather and sport. Look, I know I'm not Sky News's target audience, but, really, there's only so much a girl can take.

Lynne said...

Hi Muriel
We often pop over to Kasteel... were there on Saturday having coffee at Het Vlock Kasteel and then breakfast at the Royal, buying veggies at Crisp etc.
Keep wearing that gorgeous hat and I'm sure to recognise you if you're out and about next time we are there!