Take Me To Your Leader Writer

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...has written more leaders (newspaper editorials) than anyone alive or dead, an honour still to be recognised by the Guiness Book of Records or the Nobel judges. I have produced them for the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Today, the Sunday People, the Evening Post (Hemel Hempstead), the Caithness Courier and the Student (Edinburgh). My creed is: Have opinions, Will travel.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Mad Men of the BBC

Today I am in double mourning. Not only does the fourth series of Mad Men end on Wednesday but I have just discovered that the fifth series will only be shown on Sky.
There is still a lot of trumpeting that British television is the best in the world and the BBC is the best of the best. Really?
Of course it has a fair number of good programmes - it ought to for the money it receives. Yet what are the greatest series that have been made in the past decade?
The Sopranos. The Wire. The West Wing. Deadwood. And, naturally, Mad Men. All American, all totally brilliant - the writing, the direction, the stories, the acting, the drama.
What else do they have in common? That they have mainly been ignored not just by the BBC but by terrestrial television.
As far as I can remember, The Sopranos were on terrestrial, though late at night. West Wing might have been too. The Wire wasn't until it was hailed as the greatest television series ever, when BBC 2 belatedly decided to run it around midnight. Deadwood, possibly my all-time favourite, has never been on terrestrial.
Mad Men, hailed by every critic as magnificent, has been on BBC - though buried in a graveyard slot - but has now been dumped and gratefully picked up by Sky.
This was bound to happen. When complaints about the obscene sums of money paid to BBCexecutives flooded in last year, one of the fatuous responses was that they would no longer buy "American imports like Mad Men." But it is because the BBC showed Mad Men that I didn't mind paying my licence fee.
Now I must subscribe to Sky to see series five or wait for the box set.
It should be the BBC, the public service broadcaster, funded by taxpayers, which runs the great programmes no commercial station will. Instead, once again Sky shows an artistic appreciation and understanding the Corporation lacks.
Rupert Murdoch for Director General?

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