Wall-to-wall pets and vets

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The Independent Online
LAST WEEK the Independent on Sunday offered readers an opportunity to fight the "dumbing down" of British television. We asked for your views and you responded with gusto.

H Philp, of Bristol, said: "Dumbing down is becoming a national scandal. Almost everyone I talk to agrees that standards are in freefall, particularly BBC1 which must be aimed at viewers with an IQ of 50 or below - ie on a par with, or even below, ITV standards."

Jean Crowcroft of Exeter hates the "assumption that all viewers have the concentration span of a May-fly and need to be visually entertained all the time".

David Rosen and Nadine Bazar of London have been horrified by the "deliberate attempt at creating a more mass-market format for BBC2's Newsnight".

"With so little in-depth, intellectual coverage of day-to-day news and the continuing focus on attracting a more mass-market audience, news broadcasting has reached a new low ebb," they wrote.

Chris Meyer, also of London, wrote of the BBC news coverage. "They must have been told to be friendly, but appear to have sniffed laughing gas and read an ITV training manual," he said. "If the BBC ignore their reputation for quality, they will compete on the lowest terms and actually they won't be very good at it."

Richard Tomalin of Pipedown, the campaign against television and radio "muzak", cited the new rock jingles on the BBC World Service News and Classic FM's "brainless pick 'n' mix treatment of the great masters".

Ida Williams of Welwyn Garden City wrote: "In the past few months, every evening has been cookery, hospitals, gardening, animals, decorating and ancient repeats." Sue Harpley of Hawes, North Yorkshire, asked, "Do I detect a sneering attitude to the articulate?"

D N Rees of Swansea condemned the "pop drivel" of Roy Noble's Morning Show on Radio Wales. "The audience in the morning is not teenagers, but middle aged, so why? Trendy 'dumbing down' is my explanation." R Buckland of Swansea was unhappy with the "insufferable interviews, silly surveys, repeated 'news' items and zoo concept" of the Steve Wright in the afternoon show on Radio 2. "My hope is that perhaps it is a summer experiment and that soon Radio 2 will return to a more sensible and popular level in the afternoon."

Phil Thornton of Runcorn wrote: "The BBC will be forever associated with the establishment and even with a populist like Dyke in control of output will retain its paternalist, condescending and self-congratulatory ethos no matter how many token docu-soaps, period dramas and crappy brain-dead quizzes they churn out."

Programmes he finds offensive include "anything featuring antiques and Jilly Goolden ... cats and dogs, dogs and vets, vets, dogs, budgies and rabbits, Rolf Harris, pets in pain, kids in agony ... kung fu nights, chop suey nights, Asian nights, disabled nights, ghetto TV nights".

Gareth Owen of Crewe added, "The vast majority of television is dumb, especially that concerning science, but we must not allow nostalgia to convince us that it was ever any other way."

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