Growing up but remaining true to Auntie: the next 75 years of the BBC

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The Independent Online
You must be fully aware by now that the BBC is celebrating its first 75 years - indeed, you must be sick to death of hearing how Lord Reith invented the dinner jacket, how ITMA won the war and how the BBC made almost all the best TV programmes in the world and then proceeded to wipe them - so here is something quite different. A history of the next 75 years of the BBC.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present "The History of the BBC From Now to AD 2072". So here we go bravely into the future...


Sir Christopher Bland announces that the digital revolution is almost upon us.

John Birt announces that his knighthood is nearly upon him.

Broadcasting House fills up with managers, while programme makers are relegated to outer London.


The digital revolution is here!

Sir John Birt inaugurates a 24-hour rolling news service. The first news item is a report that Sir John Birt has inaugurated the 24-hour rolling news service.

"We are entering a new era," says Sir John Birt.

Millions switch off. Outer London overflows with junior managers, while programme-makers are henceforth restricted to provincial towns, or "centres of excellence".


Sir Christopher Bland announces that the digital era is coming to an end. In the next period of excellence, all politicians and trouble spots will be fitted with secret touch pad sound/vision sources which can be switched on from London.

This means that camera and sound people will no longer be needed to broadcast news, which will henceforth broadcast itself, as all newsworthy people and places are now wired for sound and vision.


Sir John Birt reveals that this will mean the creation of a second, parallel, non-stop rolling news channel.


An order goes out from the Director-General that all managers must wear dinner jackets when writing motivational memos to staff, and all corporation accountants must wear dinner jackets at all times.


Programme-makers are relegated to offshore rocks and mountainous regions, known as "islands of excellence".


There are now five BBC parallel rolling news services, 24-hours-a-day. "In this post-digital age it is imperative to have a choice of non-stop news services," says Lord Birt. "Only with multiple news services can you get balance."


To mark the tenth anniversary of Diana Princess of Wales's death, all BBC channels go over to rerunning broadcasts of the week in 1997 when the BBC went collectively mad, got raging Dianamania and turned into Hello! magazine.


A top secret report reveals to Lord Birt that no new programmes have been made since AD2003 and stresses that something must be done.


Lord Birt announces a series of major new comedy programmes, including The 24 Hours News Quiz, Have I Got Rolling News For You etc, etc.


Lord Birt announces plans for the new Auto-Access revolution. Wearing an Armani white dinner jacket, Lord Birt explains that the new Auto-Access technology enables viewers and listeners to tune in to a programme at a time other than when it is actually being broadcast. "Until now," he says, "we have been fatally limited to tuning into only those programmes which are actually going out at the time. But what if we can tune into any programme going out at any time? Especially in the past? I am proud to say that new technology now allows us to tap into the past as the past happens!"

His critics say that this is just another name for churning out repeats, but Lord Birt deals with this criticism in the way he always has; he ignores it.


A recurrent rumour has it that Lord Birt not only has no intention of retiring but that new technology will allow him to stop ageing when he reaches the age of 70 in AD2014. Substance is lent to this story when he says:

"The most important thing in any organisation is continuity, and continuity can only be achieved by maintaining the excellence of leadership."

His critics say this means that he will never resign.

His critics mysteriously die.

The rest of this 75 year future history of the BBC can be found on Website BBC75.doomsday/Birt/ obit/dotcodot.