LETTER: Is quality alien to satellite TV?

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From Mr David Elstein

Sir: Would you allow a little factual light to penetrate Roy Hattersley's uncharacteristic gloom ("Not up Rupert's Street", 25 September) [about the consequences of Sky seeking to buy Coronation Street]? "Poach", "predators", "pirates", "plunder": all very alliterative, but since when are rights holders (who decide these matters) forbidden to decide where to display their programmes?

"High-quality television should be available to all for the price of the licence fee alone" - well, that's the BBC's responsibility. Or is it suggested that high-quality television is not allowed to appear on non-terrestrial channels?

"Sky would fill up most of its time on most of its channels with American trash." Do the words "American" and "trash" go together automatically? Are all the American series on Channel 4 and the BBC "trash"? If a channel such as Sky One can achieve a rating close to BBC 2's in satellite/cable homes, is it to be assumed that the audience is unable to detect "trash"?

"It would be monstrous to give Rupert Murdoch sole rights over great national institutions - Wimbledon, the Cup Final, the service at the Cenotaph ... Coronation Street." I rather doubt Rupert Murdoch will be "given" anything; but if rights holders wish to sell, who will stop them? And who will then compensate them for their losses?

Yours faithfully,

David Elstein

Head of Programming, BSkyB

British Sky Broadcasting

Isleworth, Middlesex

26 September