Letter: Running the BBC

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Sir: What are the criteria for selecting the next Director-General of the BBC? What should be the role of the BBC as we move into the new millennium?

Recent surveys show that 71 per cent of news information is now derived from television yet, after recent scandals, public confidence in the medium is at an all-time low. Reflecting this society back to itself with honesty and integrity is still a valid objective for public service broadcasting without sacrificing popularity. But is it enough? Reflecting the whole planet and its citizens is needed today most urgently, although this is a role that has been almost abandoned in the obsession with ratings.

Many major issues (and whole areas of the world) are either ignored completely by television, or hardly mentioned outside news programmes and occasional investigative documentaries. Alternative approaches to the issues of the day - such as dramatic treatment, satire and comedy by creative or in- depth documentary - are virtually non-existent.

The commercial channels may choose to deliver programming which is little more than unchallenging entertainment for a mass audience, but perhaps the BBC should aspire to rather more.


Documentary film-maker

London N8