The phrase “I Love the BBC” may not be too apparent on social media or in much of the tabloid press in recent weeks, given the horrific revelations with which we are now familiar.
The sexual torture of children passed around as a “show business perk” to those we trusted is seared into our minds and hearts burst to think of their suffering.
They are not and will not be forgotten. For those who suffer still the Childline website is here and their number is 0800 1111
But my reason for writing this piece stems from the fear that, as the clamouring grows for resignations, the history and achievements of the BBC may be lost. Already mutterings are surfacing from those with a political agenda that things must change. We know this, the BBC know this, so what do the politicians actually mean by this?
Anyone familiar with the course of the Welfare Reform Bill and the NHS deconstruction will know that our coalition seems to be treating our beloved public bodies as used cars. They are stripping them for parts and scrapping that which is deemed lacking in value.
Yet BBC is so loved that many people in the UK call her "auntie", because the BBC is a member of the family.
I’ve criticized the BBC when I’ve thought them to be wrong, and we all should do that.
Undiluted praise serves no useful purpose. But it seems to me that in the recent turbulent times, no one has been harsher on the BBC than it has been on itself. From Panorama, to Eddie Mair, John Humphrys to Jeremy Paxman, the scrutiny has left no stone unturned and no department exempt.
I’ve worked there too and remember how pleased my Mum was when I told her. We both grew up during the glory days of the BBC (in her case radio then television) and it was an integral part of all of our lives. I worked in two lowly admin jobs, far removed for the glamorous side of TV, yet would often go for lunch in The Rehearsal Rooms and queue up with people so familiar to me I sometimes couldn't look directly at them. I went to TV Centre and watched them filming Top of the Pops and sat in the BBC bar.
Yet now all I’m hearing are the screeches of those who have made their contempt and loathing of the BBC clear for years.
Those voices have found, from within the BBC, a way to justify and vocalize their contempt for it.
Perhaps I’m blinkered, or perhaps I’m just reminded of legacy which bears repeating now more than ever. I don’t need to list the achievements of the BBC but I’m going to list some because I feel that at this moment we should stand shoulder to shoulder with an organization which is bigger than its flaws and taller than its mistakes. I don’t believe that in doing so I diminish the pain or exacerbate the hurt of children who suffered and suffer still at the hands of scum.
News and current affairs are where the problems surfaced, but they have also demonstrated integrity and life-changing reporting.
In terms of Newsnight, Sue Lloyd Robert’s films on attitudes to genital mutilation, Paul Mason’s continuing coverage of the situation in Greece, the investigation into the student loans company and - in full knowledge that this may throw light on the arrangements of BBC presenters - Paxman’s interview with Mark Thompson on the decision to cut 6Music.
In terms of Panorama, the list is equally long but the investigation into Winterbourne View, Fifa's Dirty Secrets, Undercover: Elderly Care and Jimmy Savile - What the BBC Knew deserve special mention.
News coverage is equally exceptional. And from high quality children’s television through to radio, film, comedy, and current affairs the BBC is so much more than the a few bad decisions.
It's ours the BBC , yours and mine. I love it. And I’m afraid that as the broadcaster struggles to regain our trust it will lose sight of what makes it great. The last few days have concerned me that there is more at stake than reputations and salaries.
It’s hard to win the love of the public, but it’s harder to imagine a world without the BBC - and I’m dammed if I’m letting her go without a fight.Reuse content