LETTER: Late-night TV is no indicator of quality

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The Independent Online
Sir: Jeremy Walker's statistics about the American content of British television (Letters, 6 January) need a context. The habitual dismissal of British television without reference to comparative standards around the world is all too common.

Even if you accept that the presence of large numbers of American programmes is something to be decried (one of the highlights for me of the broadcasting this Christmas was the American Civil War documentary series), the statistics Mr Walker has compiledhave an obvious flaw. By extending the time covered by the survey to 2am, he includes a late-night period, during which few people will be watching, when it makes sense to use cheap, often American, programming to fill the air-time. Try 7pm until 11 pm;then give us the figures for France, Italy, Germany, etc, rather than rushing to condemn without even bothering to provide a benchmark with which to make a comparison.

Yours faithfully PHILIP CORNWALL London, SE13

8 January