Wednesday, 21 December 2016

What happened to the news, then?

One of the best news programmes on the BBC is the 30 minutes of "News from a global perspective" that begins the BBC4 schedule each evening. Except this week. This is not a week that's been short of "news from a global perspective", it seems to me. And it is, let us not forget, a working week. All week, Monday to Friday. Christmas is next Sunday, as I'm sure Auntie is aware.

But the remorseless spread of Christmas continues. There will be no BBC4 News next week, not just on the two designated bank holidays, but all week. I can just about accept that, after all, most people will be off work all week; but why no news this week, which is supposedly at least a normal working week? Are the sort of people who watch BBC4 so wedded to being entertained by the likes of Ray Mears, Alice Roberts and Jago Cooper that they've no time for news this week?  Do they really need an hour-long repeat of "Indian Hill Railways" in place of their update on a world in which this week seems depressingly normal in terms of terrorism, war, tragedy and political ineptitude? Or is it perhaps that the news staff are so busy this week attending pre-Christmas sherry parties that they have no time to gather and dispense the news?

I am surprised and a little depressed that the BBC, with its mission to "inform, educate and entertain" (words carefully placed in that order by Lord Reith), should be so quick to drop the news from what is supposed to be its most informative channel, for the spurious reason that "it's nearly Christmas".

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